The importance of planning for the future and #inclusion in the workplace



At the very same time that life has me so overwhelmed that planning for the future isn’t on my radar, thinking about the future and what will happen to my kids with Special Needs if something happened to me, is all-consuming. It’s sort of an oxymoron I guess because it’s like I’m terrified of the thing I’m too overwhelmed to think about.

It’s never too late to start planning for the future. This is very important but doing so can be extremely intimidating. I’m working with Voya Finacial, my brand partner, to help raise awareness for the importance of Special Needs families to plan for the future. Voya has some amazing resources to help you make sure your loved ones are cared for. It’s not something any of us want to think about but not thinking about it won’t make you any more prepared in the event that something should happen.

I’m now 18 years into this journey and things are beginning to pop up on my radar that simply didn’t until now. Maybe I was just so overwhelmed that I missed them before but now they’re staring me right in the face.

My wife and I are learning to navigate our oldest son Gavin’s transition into adulthood. I’d be lying if said it’s been a graceful process because it hasn’t.

We’re facing things now that we hadn’t thought about before.

Gavin’s an adult now and we’re trying to ensure that he gets as much independence as he can safely have. Part of that is continuing to build skills that can help him to care for himself, better navigate the world around him, and maybe even find some kind of job.

Gavin is challenged and while he struggles in many areas of his life, he’s not without his strengths or things that he’s good at. He has things he can offer the world, as well as employable skills. Until recently, we were so focused on survival, we failed to really prepare for this.

You probably don’t know this but October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and yes, it’s a mouthful. It’s also something that’s really important to become aware of. NDEAM is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

The theme for 2018 is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All” and the trending hashtag is #GettingToEqual.

This is a time when we are reminded that people with Special Needs or disabilities have some amazing things to offer the workplace and have a right to gainful employment, as well as a fair wage.

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BeckyW

Okay, this is a good start to a conversation. My oldest son, the one with high-functioning autism, went to the Ohio Bureau of Rehabilitation and they took time, over months, to prepare him for adult things. I’ve been told the name has changed but this is what I’ve found online. (Links at bottom.) It’s possible that there is some kind of employment Gavin could do and a local employer who would be willing to try.

The second thing that goes along with Gavin’s development is where he lives. Hopefully things will continue to work out for you all. I read awhile back that it can be better to place special needs adults in group homes sooner than rather than later. SN adults do better if they are living outside their parental home when their parents die. (I can’t find that specific study but these links talk about staying at home vs living in a group home. AND ALSO: I seem to remember Gavin’s prognosis for his condition was not too good. So of course those things are also a factor in making choices.)

Ohio rehab services:
http://ood.ohio.gov/
https://oodworks.com/
http://ood.ohio.gov/BVR-BSVI/BVR

Special needs adults housing:
https://specialneedsanswers.com/housing-options-for-adults-with-special-needs-14975
https://www.smilefil.org/blog/housing-options-for-adults-with-special-needs

Caitlin Britten

I have autism and I work three jobs at the moment but probably going to two. And I’ve had great success using Voc Rehab and my local job coach as well as Department of Labor they let me see them every month about how things are going.

Caitlin Britten

Yes Rob, my advice for people like you or for other people transiting into employment is to contact department of labor because they can do internships and also contact voc rehab and they’ll be able too help you out and be there for you. And if they give you a counselor that you don’t like or a provider you can switch to another person. I used to not have a counselor and provider that I didn’t get along with and I get along w way better with my current people. Both voc rehab and department of labor have helped me be where I’m at today I would defiantly recommend getting in touch with them they’ll be there for you, listen to you and help you out. My team does a great job of helping me out and usually you’re with the same people but if not they’ll find you very nice people to help you out.

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