Securing Summer Internships for Children with Disabilities

Many parents look to the summer months as an opportunity for their child to have a meaningful work experience. Parents of children with disabilities can utilize local resources in order to secure a strong fit for their child. The following is a guide for how to seek and secure summer work experiences for your child with a disability. The law governing IDEA, makes clear the need for a coordinated set of activities to empower children with a disability to receive services enabling them to be successful as they transition from the post secondary setting to the workplace.

First, begin by considering your child's strengths, including what they enjoy doing and areas in which they shine. Also, before acting, speak to your child to learn what they would enjoy doing. Consider all aspects of what he states when you reach out to your agency or school team for information.

Pro-Tip: Begin seeking work/internship experiences in early winter. This leaves

plenty of time to learn what's available, ask for help from your school team, and

help your child complete necessary paperwork, such as working papers, or

appropriate forms of identification.

Other places to seek employment or internship opportunities include job boards, facilities in which your child is already comfortable (such as Karate studio, music studio or the local businesses she may already be familiar with), and friends and family who might know of opportunities. Social media posts are sometimes known to advertise internship openings as well. This is a time to to encourage your child to also investigate opportunities, enhancing self advocacy, independence and person directed planning as well as self determination. In so doing, your child has your support while also the freedom to make choices in her life that resonate with her, therefore inspiring excitement and motivation to learn and grow in the internship.

Finally, as your child takes on the new adventure of summer employment, your encouragement and support are a great asset to your child. Help him plan the night before he begins the new position by assisting with choosing appropriate attire for the workplace, packing a snack, lunch and water bottle as well as calming any last minute worries; this can be very reassuring to your child. However, if your child prefers to do these things independently, encourage him since this is a valuable trait in the work place and in general. As issues arise, your child may want to discuss these with you; providing a listening ear is a benefit your child will be grateful for, especially as he learns to navigate a new environment in the role of employee.

Have you sought a summer internship for your child with a disability? If so, please share in the comment box below- your experiences are valuable to share with others and I enjoy hearing from you! Thanks as always for reading and stop back soon!

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