Title

Bridging job skills to the future for students with disabilities

Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Department

Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

LaVonne Fox

Keywords

Disabled Persons; Employment; Occupations

Abstract

It is estimated that 83% of students, who received special education services, are unemployed following graduation (White & Weiner, 2004). The problem is that often there is no training program to assist the job coaches in the evaluation process to create a successful fit between the student and the job placement. The literature supports the creation of a protocol and training program to address the needs identified of the student.

This scholarly project focuses on the Natrona Country School District in Casper, Wyoming which has implemented the Kelly Walsh Work Study Program. A review of the program's needs assessment and interviews with an occupational therapist (OT) and the director of the Work Study Program identified several areas of need that exist within the initial evaluation process. A program has been established to facilitate successful transition, for students with disabilities, both into the workforce and into the community.

The Kelly Walsh Work Study Program Protocol and Job Coach Training Program was designed to provide information and techniques to make the transition for students, within the Kelly Walsh Work Study Program, as successful as possible. The first section of the two part product consists of a protocol that presents a series of steps and procedures that are conducive to making the experience for the student, more student centered and meaningful. The second aspect to the product is a job coach training portion that provides various topics for educating the staff who are working with the students. It also contains basic information that allows the job coach or other staff members to review or learn new knowledge about students with disabilities and how it may effect the transition into the workplace. This program hopes to increase the success of finding the correct fit between individuals with disabilities and job tasks.

The hope of this scholarly project was to create a product that increases the success of finding the correct fit between individuals with disabilities and job tasks. The accomplishment of this goal will facilitate the transition from the school to community. Through the use of education topics and an established protocol this product will aid the Kelly Walsh Work Study program in increasing the students' chances for success as they make this life changing step into the real world.

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