Archives for posts with tag: Special needs employment

Gabriela McCall Delgado - Special Needs EssentialsMeet Gabriela McCall Delgado:

As a college student with learning disabilities and ADD, Gabriela McCall Delgado saw a need to help more students like herself connect with one another about issues regarding high school, higher education, and employment. It all started when she was looking for information regarding accommodations that colleges and universities may have had available for students with disabilities.

Realizing that there was no comprehensive place to obtain this kind of information, Delgado began brainstorming on how to change that when she was only in high school. She had the idea of a centralized place to direct people to individual websites with particular information for special needs populations.

We Connect Now:

In 2008, Delgado would conceive a solution to the problem and become a social activist right after heading to college at Juniata College of Environmental Science in Huntingdon, Penn. As a freshman, she received enough grant money (from Young People For) to fund a website and launch We Connect Now, a platform that helps students with disabilities engage with one another, empowering them for a life of success. It informs protected students looking into going to colleges and universities as regular degree seeking students on accommodations and the rights under existing law.

After a year, Delgado decided she wanted to attend a larger university, so she enrolled in her father’s former school, Louisiana State University. As a Philosophy major with a concentration in Religious Studies, the busy student still somehow managed to maintain We Connect Now website, that has now reached people in over 171 countries.

One day at a time:

Hailing from Puerto Rico, Delgado devotes much of her time to growing her business, but she doesn’t stop there. When she’s not busy bringing people together through We Connect Now, she’s working with women who have been victims of domestic violence. For Delgado, it’s all about improving the quality of the world we live in in any way she can, one day at a time.

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Although a large spectrum of support exists for children with special needs, the offers tend to slim down for young adults and grown-ups. Unfortunately, many young adults are intimidated by the apparent closing of employment opportunities because of their condition. Some end up staying with their parents, unsure of how to move on after a successful education.

  1. Special businesses

Special Kneads and Treats - Special Needs EssentialFortunately, exceptional initiatives exist. Some businesses out there are truly dedicated to integrating persons with special needs in the workplace and in the society in general, such as Special Kneads and Treats bakery in Lawrenceville, GA, or the car wash Rising Tide in Florida. See our Facebook page for more related posts. Far from doing charity, those companies capitalize on the special skills of their employees, such as the need for repetitive tasks that makes autistic people excel in a car wash. At the bakery, employees with special needs are paired with other employees, so that they complete each other: as the person with special needs benefits from a comprehensive life skills training, the other learns from a unique mindset. More than a paycheck, those businesses offer a complete integration program. Don’t miss these opportunities!

  1. Other businesses

Initiatives are also taken more and more often in the rest of the workplace to integrate persons with special needs, as the law and mentalities change. Small businesses may be more welcoming, allowing workers to integrate in a human-scale team with little pressure for immediate results. They can teach basic professional skills to a young adult with special needs, such as punctuality, customer service and respect of the hierarchy, as well as skills related to the job.

  1. Now in practice!

Disabled young adult - Special Needs Essentials

Now, in practice, how do you proceed to help a young adult with special needs find a job? Stay aware of any exceptional initiatives taken in your area, through your favorite local media and support groups. Go to a job counselor, who may not be specialized in special needs employment, but will have a global view of the job market in your area and will give the right direction to your search. Most importantly, keep your child motivated to work hard for this project and not be discouraged by negative answers. Good luck!!!

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