Finding an Inclusive Work Environment as an Employee with a Disability

As an employment specialist it is my duty to assist individuals with finding an inclusive environment, where mutual respect and understanding will enable them to be successful. Locating such an environment is the first step we take on the road to employment.

People at Work

However, this environment often times does not just exist on its own. I have to help employers and potential employees to develop, create and maintain it.

Inventory Assessment

One of my most successful strategies in developing a work environment with mutual respect and understanding among my clients, their coworkers, and supervisors is to have each person create an “inventory assessment”. This inventory assessment includes each person’s interests, past work experience, and hard skills, which are discussed in more detail here.

After reviewing this assessment, I identify potential places of employment and encourage the individuals to visit with either a family member or a member of our staff. This visit gives everyone the opportunity to observe the culture of the specific setting, and the nature of tasks they will be required to perform on any given day at any given time.

Making an Appointment with the Manager

Once an employment specialist and the individual have identified an environment that is suitable, an employment specialist will make an appointment with the manager to discuss the application process. This is an invaluable opportunity that should never, under any circumstances be missed.

The meeting with the manager does multiple things:

  • Allows a face to be put with a resume
  • Gives the individual the opportunity to highlight their personal strengths and accomplishments
  • Allows the individual to present how they will be an asset to the company

This visit also gives the employment specialist the chance to peek “behind the veil” to see each manager interact with other employees, and to see the inner-workings of the company. Then this intelligence is given back to the client and I try to help them utilize the information to their advantage. The most successful partnerships with clients and employers are those with open communication and trust. This is best built by learning the environment, setting the individual up for success, and allowing the natural supports of the work setting to take effect.

by Maggie Cromeens

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Gabriela Lemos was born in Porto Alegre, Brasil, and was raised in San Antonio, Texas. She is currently a student at UTSA, graduating in December 2014 with a Bachelor degree in English. Brie states that she loves language and words, and the way in which people communicate with each other. She has always been interested and attracted to the autism community. “I find those on the spectrum to be incredible in so many ways, and I believe we can all learn from each other in our different strengths and weaknesses. I would love to use my talents to aid those who are not as strong in areas which I have confidence, and in turn receive an infinite amount of lessons and aid from those who I work with. Everything you send out, comes back to you, and I plan to practice sending out love and compassion every day”. We feel so fortunate to offer Brie’s talent of writing as well as her passion for autism awareness every week through our Aspergers101 Weekly.

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