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How to Support an Adult with a Disability in Getting a Job

How to Support an Adult with a Disability in Getting a Job

Getting a job can be a difficult task, with or without a disability. More than just a cheerleader (although cheerleading can certainly be part of the bigger picture), friends and family members can actually get involved in helping a person with the disability find and keep a job. IF the person with the disability wants the help. A support person’s involvement must be by invitation. When it comes to doing the actual work – providing the details for a resume, making and keeping appointments, going to interviews, etc. – the person with the disability has to be front and center. The supportive person helps behind the scenes to make the whole process easier and go more smoothly. Here are some suggestions on how to find and keep a job with a disability:  

Listen to what their job wants and needs are

This is the first step in the job search process. When a person with a disability first decides to start looking for a job, some groundwork needs laying first. One of the best ways to accumulate info regarding the person’s likes and dislikes is by talking, listening, and recording the conversations – either by writing them down or using a voice or video recorder. This way, it’s easier to see what the individual’s strengths and weaknesses are. A video will also have the added benefits of facial expressions and body language; if the person’s face lights up or they lean forward when talking about a particular aspect of something, that could provide a starting point that otherwise might have been missed.  

Try to identify good job matches through a collaborative process

Once interests and aptitudes have been identified, the next step is to ensure the job seeker’s skills and qualifications match the jobs available. If the person with a disability needs other or additional skills for successful employment, the supportive person can arrange for that to happen. This can take any combination of these forms: volunteer work in the person’s chosen field, continuing education class(es), college class(es), tutoring, online courses, or specialized training.  

Complete interview preparation and provide useful tips

Enlist the help of pros in putting a resume together. Take advantage of the resources available for people with disabilities. Role play and rehearse the interview, once it becomes a reality, coming up with as many what ifs as possible. Look over the clothes the person is planning to wear to their interview and make sure they fit well, they’re neat, clean, and in good repair. Offer to arrange for transportation to and from the interview.  

Get them into a work routine

Once the individual with a disability has a job, the supportive person can help them keep it. Arranging for transportation to and from work, helping see to their work wardrobe, checking that there are appropriate snacks and meals available at work, and/or taking an interest in how the job is going for the person can all go a long way toward helping with job retention. Job performance is the single biggest factor in keeping a job. Although it is the one thing the supportive person has no control over, encouragement and offers of appropriate assistance will always be welcome and may keep the person working.   If you are in a supportive role with an adult who has a disability and you would like some help to “get ‘er done,” please consider RISE. We are a nonprofit organization devoted to helping individuals with all aspects of their disabilities. Contact RISE at one of our 25 locations, or visit our website at for more info.