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Helping Your Students Become Employable

Students with special needs require extra help to find a job. Job skills are an important part of any transition program for special needs teens. The second week of April is National Student Employment Week. With the beginning of spring and summer jobs just around the corner, Student Employment Week is a perfect time to help your special needs students develop the skills they need for employment.

Teach Job Skills Individually

By breaking job skills down into tiny units, it is easier for students to feel successful and confident in their abilities. For example, rather than tackling the entire subject of professional communication, let students learn how to leave a business message.

1. Allow students to call your school phone number or a specified cell phone.

2. Using this script, have them leave a message:

a. “Hello, my name is ______________. I am calling about _________________. Could you return my call at ________________. Again, that number is _______________. Thank you.”

b. Allow each student to record the message then break into small groups.

3. Record their phone call and play it back to them in small groups. Allow students to critique the call on a 1-3 scale with 1 being “didn’t accomplish” and 3 being “outstanding.” Use these criterion for the critique:

a. Voice was clear and understandable.

b. Not too loud; not too soft.

c. Followed script.

4. Allow students with low scores to go back and record again so they can hear themselves and “feel in their throats” when their tone and volume are appropriate.

Help Students See Themselves Clearly

Interviewers often ask potential employees what value they would bring to a job. Special needs students often have difficulty analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. Download this free lesson on “Key Traits” to help your students learn what strengths they bring to a job.

Want to See More?

Create your own job skills unit with these workbooks from Daily Living Skills by Susan Traugh.

WHO AM I? COLLEGE AND CAREER—This book allows students to examine their IEP’s, advocate for themselves, analyze their learning styles and explore job aptitude. (Pgs. 44) GETTING A PAYCHECK—Students explore time sheets, gross and net pay, types of deductions, employer expectations, and budgeting. (Pgs. 60) TIME MANAGEMENT—Learn what kind of time manager they are, why they procrastinate, methods to overcome, prioritizing, how to stop worrying and more. (Pgs. 53) MANAGING STRESS—Learn the difference between good/bad stress, the benefits of good stress, four major methods of coping with “bad” stress, 50 ways to de-stress and more. (Pgs. 58) DRESS FOR SUCCESS—Looks at basic hygiene, ideas on bathroom organization, hints on organizing time/supplies for easy dressing, (also business attire and “appropriate” dress), clothes storage, hanger use, etc.—(Pgs. 41) TRANSPORTATION—You can’t have a job if you can’t get to it. Learn about the highway grid and finding your way, public bus and train services, how to study for a driver’s license, bicycle safety, police etiquette, road rage and emergency road equipment. (Pgs. 46)

SEEKING EMPLOYMENT—Learn where to look for a job, how to create a resume, how to complete applications and what employers expect from employees.

INTERVIEWING SKILLS—Learn how to stand out from the crowd by practicing interview questions, creating follow-up notes and decoding body language.

WORK GAMES—Help students understand the “soft skills” of employment and avoid traps like office politics, avoiding the boss, improper interactions, tardiness, and more.

If you like what you see, go to: Books are written on a 3rd/4th grade level and include grading sheets, answer keys and parent information letters to comply with federal standards for transition skills. The Teacher’s Manual (sold separately) provides information on program set-up and maintenance along with written ITP (Individual Transition Plan) goals for each book.


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