Taking the Dis out of Disability

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Taking the Dis out of Disability

Tips to Find a Fulfilling Career with a Disability

More and more young people are diagnosed with disabilities. Disabilities aren’t new, but now they have names and, in some cases, treatments to lessen the effects. While stereotypes are being broken and accommodations can be made regarding course work, what happens when a person diagnosed with a disability enters the workforce?

In all honesty, the considerations are not that different whether you have a disability or not.

  • Take a look at your interests and abilities. Focus on these before you set specific goals and think about how challenges you may face may impact your future.
  • Look at your grades and talk to your professors. Both can provide information on your strengths and needs.
  • Different types of assessment are available to provide aptitude for certain career options. If you are interested, the Career Development Center offers such an assessment to all students and alumni.

Once you know your abilities and your area of interest, you can have a more effective job search. Again, these tips can aid all job seekers.

  1. Read over job descriptions to find positions that tap into your strengths.
  2. Participate in an internship or shadowing experience to get a firsthand idea of what a position would really be like.
  3. Network by joining organizations that share your interests or takes classes in subjects that you enjoy. Both may lead you to more opportunities.
  4. Talk to someone in the Career Development Center that can help you locate your marketable skills and help you narrow your job search. Be sure to provide a list of job descriptions that appeal to you.
  5. Apply to positions for which you qualify based on knowledge, skill and interest.
  6. In an interview, present yourself as the capable individual you are with the ability to perform the job well.

When to disclose?

In some cases, a disability may be evident: a person needing the assistance of a wheelchair. In others, however, the disability may not be so evident: a person with dyslexia. When should you disclose that information?

If you decide to disclose a disability, do so after the job has been offered. For your protection, you may want to have someone from human resources present when and if you choose to do so. There are some things you will want to consider:

  • Be straightforward and honesty but remain positive. For example: I have difficulty following multi-step instructions when given verbally. You can help me by allowing me writing them down.
  • Be prepared to answer questions once a disability is disclosed. Your employer may want to know the features of your specific disability, how it affects your performance, and examples of past accommodations and their success.
  • Be sure to describe the necessary accommodations needed as well as personal strategies you have developed to perform the job well.
  • Be able to provide documentation for your disability.
  • Ask your supervisor to provide written list of job performance expectations as well as written documentation your discussion, detailing any specific accommodations that have been arranged to record the mutual understanding of what you need to be productive on the job.

There are also state-funded organizations such as Vocational Rehab that will assist people with disabilities in seeking employment, offering training and accommodations as needed.

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We know getting the perfect job can be one tough nut to crack. Luckily, the secret to your success is right here in Troup County, where you’ll find a wide range of career opportunities. And we’re here to serve you with a large helping of job openings, tips and resources. Stay positive - there are plenty of employers out there looking for one smart cookie just like you!

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