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Questions + Answers

Transition: School to Work

Frequent questions

  • Question 1: What help is available for learning disabled adults seeking jobs?
  • Question 2: My adult daughter has a disability and is seeking employment. What should her first step be?
  • Question 3: What services will be available to my child with LD once he graduates from college?
  • Question 4: My brother has a disability and is searching for a job, but I am worried that his limited abilities and low self-confidence will negatively affect his search. Can I help him in any way?

Expert answers

1) What help is available for learning disabled adults seeking jobs?

It is often recommended that an adult with a specific learning disability and/or ADHD contact his or her local vocational rehabilitation office. Every state has such an office with counselors to help determine eligibility for services in the work setting. In addition to helping people with disabilities find appropriate jobs, they can also provide some financial support and training, if needed. A counselor will talk with a client about career plans, work history, education and diagnosed disabilities.

Some of the services that can be provided include: continuing education or specialized job training; work adjustment training; assistive technology; on-the-job training; and job placement and follow-up. A friend or family member is welcome to accompany the client to any of the meetings, if desired. Counseling can also be provided during the time clients are beginning a new job.

Also, explore the Job Accommodation Network website which specializes in accommodations in the workplace for individuals with disabilities. On this site, you will find excellent resources, including books and videos, which address this issue. Also, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research provides leadership and support for a comprehensive program of research related to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities. All of their programmatic efforts are aimed at improving the lives of individuals with disabilities from birth through adulthood.

Finally, LD OnLine has in depth sections called Adults with LD and Transitions: School to Work which have a wealth of information about employment. For example, you will find the following articles there:

2) My adult daughter has a disability and is seeking employment. What should her first step be?

It is often recommended for an adult with a disability to contact her local vocational rehabilitation office. This state agency helps people with disabilities find appropriate jobs and further education. They can also provide some financial support and training, if needed. A counselor will talk with your daughter about career plans, work history, education and diagnosed disability. Some of the services that can be provided include: continuing education or specialized job training, including supplies and books; work adjustment training; tools and equipment, including assistive technology or adaptive devices/low vision aids which enable an individual to work; on-the-job training; and job placement and follow-up. A friend or family member is often welcome to accompany her to any of the meetings, if necessary. On the following site, you can find a listing of many local agencies organized by state. Click on your state and look for a Vocational Rehabilitation Agency nearby.

3) What services will be available to my child with LD once he graduates from college?

This transitional time can be particularly difficult for people with LD, because they are no longer receiving the support of special education or accommodations. At this time in your child’s life, it is very important that he understands his own strengths and weaknesses, and is able to explain his needs to others when necessary. Here is an article from the National Center for Learning Disabilities that talks about getting your learning needs met across the lifespan:

People with learning disabilities are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In work situations where your disability would put you at a disadvantage, like a certification exam or written test, you can request "modifications of policies." According to Title II of ADA, you can ask your employer for modifications like extra time or a reader. Just like in school, you will need current documentation of your disability so that people do not use this law to gain an unfair advantage.

If you have a question on a specific situation, you can call the ADA information line: 1-800-514-0301.

There are also agencies like the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) which helps people with disabilities find work, secure accommodations, or become self-employed. JAN is a free service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor.

On LD OnLine, we also have a whole section on adult issues. Since these are often quite different than the issues facing children with learning disabilities, you may want to investigate this information with your adult child.

It is important that your son knows that you are there, rooting for him and supporting him, but it is equally important that he takes steps to insure his own success.

4) My brother has a disability and is searching for a job, but I am worried that his limited abilities and low self-confidence will negatively affect his search. Can I help him in any way?

Your state's vocational rehabilitation office can be a great resource. They will be able to help your brother find the job skills and job he needs. You can search for your state office through the following link.

Social skills and self-esteem, as you know, play large roles in adult success. The following articles may interest you and your brother.

Also, check our Recommended Books section for memoirs of successful people with LD and tips on how to tap into your talent as an adult.

Support your brother as he transitions into his job, but allow him to take his own steps and experience success to increase his confidence.

Proceeds from the sale of books purchased from our recommended books section can help support LD OnLine.

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