What Are Pre-Employment Skills and How Does My Child Get Them?
The pre-employment skills are the basic building blocks of being a solid employee. They are the foundation or corner stone of job readiness. Without a solid foundation, the building of employment is likely to crumble. What are pre-employment skills and how does my child acquire them?
Most of us take pre-employment skills for granted. We do not give them much thought. However, for students with a variety of disabilities, these skills are not learned by osmosis. They must be taught explicitly. These skills can include basic hygiene, dressing and self-care; managing time, and travel training. Granted some of these activities are better suited to training the student in the home. Consequently, much of the burden falls upon the parents for teaching the child these skills. However, many of these skills can be written into a child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and can include a home visiting and/or parent training component. While in school, a student can learn about how to dress for a job interview and how this might differ from dressing casually for home versus dressing up every day to go to work. Managing their time is something that will need to be reinforced both at home and at school. Once a child learns the basic concepts of telling time, then they can learn time management. A critical skill parents can reinforce is the child setting alarms on clocks or smart phones and making sure he or she gets him or herself up in the morning. Many students with disabilities will not learn how to drive a car while in public school. This severely limits their employability by limiting their geographical area in which they can find work. Travel training is an essential pre-employment skill. Students living in rural and suburban environments will be at distinct disadvantage when it comes to travel training because of the lack of mass transit infrastructure. The key to making the travel training useful for the student is not simply fixed route training, i.e., teaching him of her how to get to a location and back home. Rather, it is contingency management, i.e., what to do when your primary means of travel has failed.
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