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Striving for Success in School and on the Job

"Although workplace attitudes toward people with disabilities are changing, the unemployment rate among the job-aged disabled population is more than 60 percent, as compared with less than 10 percent among the general population. Two out of three people with disabilities are not working. And of those, two out of three want to work. With roughly $200 billion in benefits being paid out each year to nonworking people with disabilities, it just doesn't make sense for businesses to say they can't afford to accommodate people with disabilities."
Successful Job Search Strategies for the Disabled: Understanding the ADA by Jeffrey G. Allen. p. 23

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Disabled Americans today have been given the right to a more independent life because of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission supports these Americans' legal rights for access to work and education and on occasion will undertake legal action on their behalf.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was a tremendous leap forward for physically and mentally disabled Americans who want the right to work. The Act specifically stated what employers may and may not do when hiring the disabled. The Act also laid down ground rules for how places of public education must accommodate their students.

For example, an employer can not require an applicant to take a medical examination before making a job offer. The employer can ask questions about the applicant's ability to perform the job, but those questions can not be phrased in terms of her disability. Additionally, if a sign interpreter or cued speech transliterator is needed, one must be provided by the employer at the time of the interview.

Colleges these days are much more aware of their responsibilites to their disabled student populations, having had a decade under ADA regulations. Many colleges, such as our local University of Mary Washington, have a special outreach office for the disabled to make their transitions easier by providing necessary accommodations.

Eventually the time comes for young adults to make the transition to college and the job market. These exciting rites of passage can stymie young people with disabilities who may believe they are not welcome in either environment, but there are steps that these applicants can take to maximize their potential for success. The CRRL recommends the following resources, both online and in the library, for college and job applicants who want to learn more about their rights under ADA and how to promote themselves, their abilities, and their potential.

On the Web

Americans with Disabilities Act Home Page
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm
This page from the U.S. Department of Justice links to on-line publications that explains the rights of the disabled in the workplace, while using public transportation and health care as well as other aspects of the ADA.

Disability and Employment Resources from Diversity World
http://diversityworld.com/Disability/index.htm
Links to supporting professional organizations, career development sites targeted to the disabled, access technology, recruiters, entrepreneurship, statistics, online videos, and event calendars.

ICDRI: The International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet
http://www.icdri.org/
"ICDRI’s mission is to collect a global knowledge base of quality disability resources and best practices and to provide education, outreach and training based on these core resources."
The site has recently added resources for students with disabilities in need of financial assistance and information for specific conditions. It also links to the 2002 presidential proclamation of Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Local Assistance

The disAbility Resource Center: Fredericksburg's Center for Independent Living
http://www.cildrc.org
"Our mission is to assist people with disabilities, those who support them, and the community, through information, education and resources, to achieve the highest potential and benefit of independent living."

Fredericksburg City School: Parent Center Information
http://www.cityschools.com/cityschools/owg/generalinfo/
The parent center is located at the original Walker-Grant School on Gunnery Road in the city. The center has a library of books and audiovisual materials available and provides training and referral for parents on aspects of special education.

Northern Neck Regional Special Education Program
http://www.nnrsep.org/
Contact information for special education teachers in Westmoreland County, Richmond County, Lancaster County, Northumberland County, and Colonial Beach public schools.

Parent Resource Center: Spotsylvania County
http://205.174.118.254/instruction/parent_resource.htm
Spotyslvania's parent resource center has been providing services for nearly a decade. The center has a lending library as well as parent facilitators to provide advice and consultation for parents, the schools, and the community. The center was established through Title I funds of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Their email address is special_ed@spotsylvania.k12.va.us

Parent Resource Center: Stafford County
http://www.pen.k12.va.us/Div/Stafford/Psy/PRC.htm
Stafford's parent resource center is located in the old Stafford Middle School off of Route 1. Like the other resource centers, they provide a lending library, workshops for parents and educators, and referrals to relevant state and local agencies. They may be contacted by email: staffordprc@specialednet.com

Rappahannock Goodwill Industries
http://www.fredgoodwill.org/
"The mission of Rappahannock Goodwill Industries is to provide people with barriers to employment, particularly those with disabilities, an array of quality vocational and educational services so that they can work most independently."

RASCB: Rappahannock Area Community Services Board
http://www.racsb.state.va.us
RASCB provides a link for job training for special needs adults as well as other community suppport services.

In the LibraryBlind man in an office setting

Career Success for People with Physical Disabilities by Sharon F. Kissane
An enthusiastic job hunting guide for the disabled covering federal jobs, college courses and work-study programs, resumes, and interviews. The author firmly believes that disabled persons need not settle for mundane jobs but can achieve professional excellence in their fields of choice. Also available as an eBook.

  Careers for People with Disabilities
"...special opportunities if you are deaf, hard of hearing—using today's technology you can succeed in any mainstream profession." Available as an eBook.

College and Career Success for Students with Learning Disabilities by Roslyn Dolber
Advice on choosing a college, getting accepted, educational financing, protecting your rights, and entering the job market. The author, a college career counselor, stresses that success at college has to do with attitude, motivation, and self-discipline. Also available as an eBook.

Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or ADD
Features include: - Profiles of learning disability programs at more than 750 institutions in the U.S. and Canada- Legal considerations and requirements for learning disability programs- Easy steps to gaining admittance to a learning disability program- Tips on coping with the transition to college life- Inspirational profiles of successful people with learning disabilities.

The Complete Learning Disabilities Directory (2001)
This comprehensive directory covers the schools, learning centers, vocational training programs, associations, organizations and government agencies involved in learning disabilities.

Facing Learning Disabilities in the Adult Years by Joan Shapiro
The author define a learning disability as a difficulty in reading decoding, reading comprehension, written expression, mathematical calculations or reasoning, oral language, or a combination of these. Causes of some conditions and possible related psychosocial problems are discussed before they tackle instructional approaches, vocational services, research, and relevant legal issues.

Financial Aid for the Disabled and Their Families
"A list of: scholarships, fellowships, loans, grants, awards, and internships designed primarily or exclusively for the disabled and their families; state sources of benefits; and reference sources on financial aids."

Help Yourself: Handbook for College-Bound Students with Learning Disabilities by Erica-Lee Lewis
"This guide promotes self-advocacy and helps learning disabled students get what they need from the college experience."

Job Search Handbook for People with Disabilities by Daniel J. Ryan
Help with identifying personal strengths and weaknesses, locating job openings in the hidden job market, composing resumes and other business correspondence, and understanding ADA employment regulations. Also available as an eBook.

Learning a Living: A Guide to Planning Your Career and Finding a Job for People with Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Dyslexia by Dale S. Brown
Find a job that uses your strengths and minimizes your disabilities. Target audiences include high schoolers, college students and adults with learning disabilities, dyslexia, and attention deficit disorder.

Successful Job Search Strategies for the Disabled: Understanding the ADA by Jeffrey G. Allen
Includes an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act, proper employment practices as regulated by Title I of the ADA, accessibility issues, and what to do in the event of unfair hiring practices.

The Survival Guide for Teenagers with LD (Learning Differences) by Rhoda Cummings
Provides information and advice to young people who have different learning styles on such topics as dating, driving, getting a job, and planning for the future.

Unlocking Potential: College and Other Choices for People with LD and AD/HD
This comprehensive guide is targeted to young adults with LD or AD/HD who are preparing for life beyond high school. Includes recent information on both disorders and advice for this transition. Goal definition and self-advocacy are stressed.