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Webinar alert! Strategies for Communicating with Special Education Families

Texas, On-DemandCalifornia, 2/29

Adult Transition, Video

Skills for Employment and Independent Living: a Webinar

  • with Jaleesa Doucet Alexander, M Ed.

    Adult Education Instructor, River Parishes Community College

    Jaleesa Alexander is a Louisiana-based Special Education leader with extensive experience teaching both children and adults with disabilities. Her goal is to bring attention to the barriers people with IDD and other disabilities face in achieving employment, and to create a more inclusive employment environment for all through structured learning, job skills training, and individualized coaching.

    Jaleesa has a Master’s in Special Education and is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership in Special Education.

    Photo of Jaleesa Alexander
  • It’s critical for young adults with disabilities to learn and practice the skills they will need to find a job, do a job, and live independently. Learn how to work on these skills with your child while they are still in high school so they will be prepared for adult life.

    Watch Webinar Video:

    Welcome everybody. Again, this is Real Talk About Disabilities, Issues Faced by Families of Color. Today’s webinar is Skills for Employment and Independent Living, and is presented by Exceptional Lives with Jaleesa Alexander. On your screen, you’ll see a poll, which we’ve already done and we’ll be doing another poll. So the results of this poll that we just did, that said call or text, oh, gimme one second, I lost my, there we go. Most of you prefer texting, about 71% of you prefer texting. I personally prefer calling or texting. I will usually forget to respond and get back with you when I remember. So next, you’ll see another quick pull that we’ve put up, just asking about who’s attending our webinar today. So go ahead and fill that out. And before I go any further, I want to let you know that there is a closed captioning button that is near the bottom of your screen, we will have live captions throughout this webinar, you’ll see subtitles and a full transcript while the webinar is live. And at this moment, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Christina Kozik, I’m the Community Engagement Specialist with Exceptional Lives. I’m a mid thirties, light-skinned, Latinx woman with long brown hair, and today I’m wearing a royal blue top. I wanna get started with a little housekeeping. Jaleesa can you advance the slide for me, please? Let’s see one more, there we go. Okay, as of right now, all of our attendees are currently muted, you’ll be allowed to unmute yourself towards the end of the webinar when we do our question and answers, this webinar is being recorded and the recordings will include closed captions in both English and Spanish, and will be on our website at a later date. Transcripts and the slides will be available on the website as well. We do have the chat function, that’s the best way to get a hold of us if you need some technical help, and we also encourage you to introduce yourself in the chat function. When you do that, make sure to set the to, to everyone, and if you need tech help, you can go ahead and send a message to host and panelists, and our tech person will reach out to you. Next slide please. So we have a Q & A function, this is where we prefer all of our questions to go into, if at any point you have a question during the webinar, go ahead and put them into the Q & A, and we will see those. And then you can also up vote or like a question by giving it a thumbs up and it pushes a question to the top of the list to be answered first. If you want to send questions anonymously, you can do so by clicking the send anonymously button, and we will do our best to answer any questions that come up during the webinar, if for whatever reason we can’t get to them, we will follow up with you by email afterwards. Next slide, thank you. So our website is exceptionallives.org, and we have a wide selection of resources available to you on our website, next slide please. I think, yep, there, that’s it. So on our website, we have guides that provide step by step support about different processes and services that can come up with parenting a child with disabilities, we also have our resource directory that can help you find local providers and services. Our resource directory provides information for the states of Louisiana and Massachusetts, and it is also in Spanish. And we also have our Perspectives 4 Parents, which includes blogs that are written by parents and professionals to provide support and tips to parents and professionals. Those are also provided in English and Spanish. And last but not least, we have our social media. We have a Facebook page and an Instagram, our handle is @exceptionallives, and we also have Facebook groups for our families in Louisiana and Massachusetts. Next, we have a couple of projects that we’ve been working on that we’re really excited about. First is our podcast, Just Needs, where I talk about parenting children with disabilities. We cover everything from transitioning out of school and independent living to IEPs and sensory needs. You can subscribe and follow the podcast at our website, /justneedspodcast. Next, and the next up is two different projects that we have. The first is a Family Feedback Team, we need families like yours to help us by answering surveys, joining the discussion groups, as well as recruiting other families. The time commitment for this is very minimal and you’d be compensated for your time, and I’ll make sure we get a link to this in our chat, so if you would like some more information about joining the Family Feedback Team, you can look through the information there. And lastly is our Families and Stories project. This is a series of interviews that feature families that are caring for children with disabilities. We interview parents, caregivers, and children, and we share their stories about their individual experiences online. If you’d like to see interviews that we’ve already done, you can go to / families-stories- children-disabilities, and we’re currently looking for new families to interview, if you’re interested, again, we will put a link in the chat, or you can send your name and email to the host and panelists and we can get back with you. And now I’m going to welcome Jaleesa. So Jaleesa’s a mom, a wife, and an instructor at Baton Rouge Community College, in the Program for Successful Employment program, PSE, for the last four years, that’s what she’s been doing at BRC. She teaches a self-advocacy and employment readiness course every semester, and she has eight years of experience of working with students with intellectual disabilities, autism, and learning disabilities. And we are so glad that she is here. Take it away ma’am. Thank you, good afternoon everyone. Thank you again to Exceptional Lives for having me. This is my second go round, so I hope you guys enjoy it. If you again, have any questions, feel free to ask, I’m just gonna jump right in. When we are talking about skills regarding employment and independent living skills, these are the skills that starts earlier than we anticipate, having a background in Elementary Ed, as well as High School, we learn early on what the capabilities of our students are, and so we try to enhance those skills as we go. Now, working for PSE, I’ve done a large amount of research in employment readiness, it’s a course that we teach in order them to not only expose them to the skills, but to get them ready for what employment is and how to go about the process. So with the program, we work with employers for partnerships, and we go to them and we learn about the skills and the things that they are looking for from our students, especially those with disabilities. So in the midst of that, we teach the students how to first know themselves, know their goals, and then we can further talk about knowing their skills and how they apply to the respective jobs that they wish to have. So first, knowing yourself is where we teach the students with disability how self exploration works through learning about their preferences, goals, and their skills. I often tell my students, you know you better than anyone else, and you are gonna be the person who teaches others about you and what you have to offer. When you are capable of learning your skills, then you can begin to talk about ’em, and you learn your skills through actual experience, and you learn it through opportunities. So whether it is at home, in the school environment, or in the community, students should be aware of the things that they’re doing, are they good at doing them? Are they not good at doing them? And how do we become good at doing those things? The other aspect of it is when we have a disability, we have to be aware of how that disability affects the daily activities, communications, and social interactions, because communication, for example, may not be the strongest skill that the student have, but it is an opportunity for them to enhance that skill, but what is another way that I can use that skill to get better? What is another way that I can communicate without using a typical avenue of communication? And so when a student knows and understand where their strengths and weaknesses lie, then the support system can come into place in helping them employ those skills in the necessary environments. When we know our goals, then can we begin to categorize and organize the goal, the skills in the way that they should be, depending on what we see ourselves doing. When it comes to knowing our goals, we also have to be realistic and very, very keen to knowing what the reality of this goal is for our student, especially when it comes to employment. A lot of times we assume that because we love something or we are so good at it, that it may be a fit for us, however, we have to take into account the disability and the environment that the employment take place in. And so when we consider all those things, we make sure we make an approachable goal about what they desire and see themselves doing in the future, and then from there, can we base our skills set, do I have this skill now, if not, is there a skill that I need for this particular place of employment? And then we move forward. So when we get into and pass the understanding ourselves, our abilities, understanding strengths, weaknesses, and then understanding the goals, and the future we see for ourselves, then can we start to explore the skills that we need or that the students need to have in order to be successful at these job sites. So the employment skills that employers seek, after I started working in the program, I started categorizing the skills into three categories. Knowing our skills is one, about recognizing all the skills and ability that the student know themselves to have, and then also being able to ask others, is there a skill that I’m missing or is there something you recognize that I can do that I’m not sure that I’m good at doing? A lot of times I have students who come and we’ll do a little exercise and I tell them, write three skills down, and some of them scratch their heads and I’ll make note of, hey, you do this great, or you’re very good at doing this, and so sometimes they don’t know, because they’re still in the process of self exploration, and so we have to get their minds boggling about what the skills are and what is a skill. How do we discuss our skills in informal and formal settings? So in the classroom, around home, having brief discussions in the informal setting helps them become aware, informal settings, like the interviews, we need them to actually know and be able to talk about. The three categories is Self-Management, Transferrable, and Job-Related. So the first skill, Self-Management Skills, are those skills that help them to adapt and do well in new situations and environments. These are the skills that come from themselves that no one can actually teach you how to do it, however, these are the skills that can be modeled. Oftentimes when I’m teaching them about communication, there’s an example that I always like to use, because again, communication can be a disadvantage for our population of students, however, I try to model what good communication looks like, and if they can see what good communication looks like, then can we begin to practice what communication should look like when I’m talking to a supervisor, when I’m talking to a colleague, when I’m trying to get questions across, another good example is, can we model being respectful? Can we model being on time? Those type of things, we can’t really teach you how to be respectful, but I can model it for you. And so self-management skills is all on the individual. It comes from their personality, getting along with others, and then being able to fit in the situation in which they have to exist. Transferable Skills are those skills that can be used in different jobs in different ways. These are the skills that we take with us from one job to the next. And so transferable skills can be taught, sometimes self-management skills can get misconstrued with transferrable skills, because of course, we wanna take our self-management skills with us, as we should, however, transferrable skills are those tangible hands-on skills that the students need in order to go from one environment to the next, an example would be working well with your hands. I have a student that’s very good at organizing things, and that skill is transferable. One time she did get to work in the library, and then after that job was finished, we were like, where else can we put her? And we were able to transition her over to a deli at a grocery store. And they was like, it really helps her being good with her hands, being able to move and organize, and so those transferable skills are something that the students should be able to pull out and talk about, especially when it comes to changing industries. Sometimes what you’re good at doing in one place is gonna be really good going to the next, we had a student, most of his experience came from working at the local grocery store, and when he started for the DOTD downtown, he was able to use his customer service skills, and his communication skills, to engage not only with his coworkers, but when different individuals came in and out of the office, he could greet them and make them feel welcome and asked them if they needed help, and that came from being able to remember what he was taught and the skills that he did gather when he was working over at the grocery store. So transferable skills are very, very important, because for our population, we may not always know if their placement or their first initial employment is the right fit, but whatever they can learn, that can go with them to the next place, will be a very important role. Some of the examples, leadership skills, being able to collect data, having customer service, those are really good transferable skills, ’cause customer service takes place everywhere at all times, it’s not just for the customer service representative, but it’s also for the cashier and also for the stocker, it’s also for the buggy boy or lady, and so it’s very important that the transferable skills that they learn, that they can not only take ’em with them, but enhance them in the different environments around home, school, in their community, it doesn’t take much to be a good citizen, and those skills help when you are employed. Job-related skills, these are the skills that are particular to the certain job. You can typically find the list of these skills in the job qualifications. So when my students go to online and go to look at different job applications, we start pointing out, what is it that the employer is asking them to have? For example, if I wanna be a cashier, I know a job-related skill is counting money, operating a cash register, so these skills are very particular to that job that they want. Oftentimes, what I do is I make them pull out skills from the job description, or the job qualifications online, and then we talk about whether or not they have the skill, and if they say, no, we talk about ways that they can either learn the skill, is there some formal education they need to have? Is it a YouTube video that exists to teach them how to do these things? Is it something in the classroom that I can implement? Is it something at home I can tell their parents about to help them get this skill and be as good as they can? Employers are very willing, when I learned this, they are willing to teach the students some of these skills, but it also helps to have a hand in it a little bit already, and so, the students have to get comfortable with learning, and so it’s very important that they have a willingness to learn new skills. Getting in the know, I like to, I always tell the kids, hey, are you in the know? And they’re like, what are you talking about miss Alexander? And I’m like, are you in the know about yourself? And I ask them random things from week to week, from time to time, I may say, what you learn new last week that you didn’t do week before last? And they’re looking at me crazy, and then I have to rephrase it, and they laugh, and we talk about it, I’m like, did you learn a new skill? And so we have to ask them, what are some of your skills in order for them to get an idea of what skills they actually have and know that they have. And if they draw a blank, then we’re there to help them start talking about the things that they’re good at, or random things that they observed themselves doing through hobbies, through free time, whether it is with friends, family, volunteer opportunities, sometimes they don’t realize that volunteer opportunities are the best times to start recording some of their skills. So have them say it out loud and write it down, because we get to a place where we have to start resumes and uploading them to these websites, now everything is so fancy, and so a lot of the places they ask, do they have a resume? And we do it in our employment readiness class, they all create a resume, but it’s so hard sometimes, because they’ll say, oh, I used to do this at school, and I’m like, well, what were some of your skills and your duties? What did they require you to do with their job? Or they might say, well, I did community based learning and we went to Shoppers Value, well, what were some of your skills and duties at Shoppers Value? And they’ll talk about it, and I realize, hey, you know you just told me all your skills? And they go, oh, okay, well it’s a process, but we need to get ’em doing it before they get to the application process. And once we can hear them actually talk about it, then we can help them organize the skills in a way that’s fitting to the job and the objective that they have as an employee or a potential employee. Another thing is, resumes are important and it’s structured, and it can help them with the interview process, and when they know and they’re putting the resume together, they actually start remembering some of the things that they had to type and write pertaining to the resume. So it becomes a process for them, and our job is to help them get those moments of practice, to actually vocalize it and talk about it in a formal way, so when they get to the interview, they’re already familiar with what they have to say and talk about. In the interview process, the employees are attempting to determine if these students are a fit, are they appropriate for the job and the culture that exists in the workplace? And so oftentimes it’s very, very important that not only are they willing to express their skills and know what their skills are, but to get a little background information about the job site in which they’re pursuing, and not only do employees wanna know, but as the young adults are attempting to go into employment, they should know whether not this place is a fit for them. And so they wanna look for positive things about the place of employment so that they can feel comfortable there too. It’s good to do mock interviews and practice interviews, because these students have to feel comfortable with being questioned, and they have to be able to express themselves in the most unique way. And so the more they talk about their skills, it can put them ahead of the other groups of individuals that will apply, and so the more they know, and the more they can speak about it, the better that they are gonna have a chance of being hired. Another thing about interviews is talking about experience, again, I just always like to emphasize that volunteer work, working at the schools, helping at the home, those things are okay to talk about, and it’s very important that when our students, they get caught up sometimes on the fact that they’ve never worked at a job, or never had a paid experience, and that is totally fine, employers do want to hear about any time that they have had the opportunity to gain and use skills. So if they’re a deacon at the church, if they’re a usher, if they do things and volunteer at the park, or if they volunteer and they work in the office at the school for two hours out of the day, have them express that and talk about it in a way to show that they have gathered that experience, and have the skillsets that they have now captured from these different environments. Sometimes, I have for example, I have a student who loves animals, and she started her own little pet and sitting visit business, and I was excited to hear about all of the things that she had to do for the pets, how she worked with the owners of the pets, and I was amazed because I was like, I don’t even know how to do those things, ’cause one, I had a pet, but it didn’t last long, because I didn’t put any effort into it, but to listen to them express the things that they have to do, and it make you be willing to help them, but also it makes you push them more to get the experiences that they need to really be at the top of the list. On the job is another place that they have to express their skills. When they get the job, it doesn’t just in there, they’re not only enhancing current skills, but they’re learning new skills, and then they’re putting all of those skills together, and it becomes a repetitive process, but it is also important that they document those skills along the way. So if I had skills in only Word document, but now I’m able to use all of Microsoft Office, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, all of those things needs to be added to the resume and the resume needs to be updated, because those skills are gonna be important at some point, and it’s a new skill that has to be recorded and expressed. So they should not only just be talking about the skills that they already had or the skills that already exist, but they also need to be getting exposed to the skills that they did not have before. When they also work with employers, it’s okay to ask the employers to add or address new skills that they would like to have. We have a student that works in the deli, they graduated to using the meat cutter, and so not everyone can use a meat cutter and that is a specific job-related skill that can be added to the list of skills underneath that experience at the grocery store, at the deli. One of the key things too, is also knowing workplace safety skills. Most employers, when we visit with them, they will ask about those workplace safety skills on the job, is it something that they completed in High School? Is there additional training or courses that they have to do requiring about OSHA, and so being exposed to these skills is very important. And workplace safety skills are transferable from jobs to job, but there are gonna be some more job related safety skills that the students have to be exposed to. So make sure that if, when you go to these job sites, that you are asking about the safety requirements, and what is it that you can do to ensure that you can help your child or student be safe at these job sites as well. Independent Living Skills. These are just as important as the employment skills, because when we begin to work, we start getting ideas of being on our own and wanting to live on our own. Independent living skills is being able to manage ourselves in the world with the various skills that we have, and taking the initiative to do the things needed to survive and live on our own. Independent living skills matter, because they determine the extent in which we can exist and live on our own or with others, but it also gives us the ability to deter away from dependency, and… oh, I’m sorry. It allows them to take control of their lives in a way that they can do the things that typically someone else had done for them in the past. So I categorize them into four different sections, we have Personal Care and Organization, this is where personal hygiene, dressing themselves appropriately, and understanding their medical needs come into place. Personal hygiene is very important for the students to understand how to bath, take care of themselves, put on the appropriate colognes, lotions, buying and shopping for things for our young ladies. It can be, when it comes down to sanitation and making sure they doing their menstruation, that they know how to do that. Also, sometimes they don’t realize and recognize what are the things that I must purchase, how do I make sure that I’m doing this? I’ve had students that come in and we have to sit down and we go through a checklist of things that they may need to purchase or buy. When you wake up in the morning, are you brushing your teeth? Did you brush your hair? Did you wash your face? Did you take your shower? Did you take your bath? And it seems like silly things to ask, but sometimes appearance is not their focus, they just sometimes get up and go and we have to address, hey, look, you’re a young adult, you’re moving into adulthood, you have to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself in the way that you should, understanding how they should and should not dress in certain environments. When they go to their job sites, we make a checklist for them to make sure that they’re meeting the requirements of the employment place, but also, when they come to campus, we have to make sure we want you comfortable, but we also have to make sure that you’re dressing appropriately. So we go through these checklists with them, you can make a checklist on your own. If you feel like they’re struggling with personal hygiene, I always suggest giving them a visual that they can look at and say, oh, I didn’t do this, I need to go back and do this, but nothing too complex, because if we make it too complex, then it could be, or throw them off task, or they can just decide that it’s too much and not do it at all. When it comes to medical needs, most of our students in this population have other things besides that can lead to medical issues, and sometimes we have to check on them and ask them, hey, did you take your medicine? Did you have any doctor’s appointments coming up? Did you make a schedule of these things? Are you eating appropriately that goes with your diet that you’re supposed to have? And making sure that they understand those things when they’re transitioning, especially from High School into young adulthood, because when they start working, they’re gonna be on a different schedule, and so sometime the timing of things can shift, and so they need to be able to understand how those things impact their medical needs. Organizing possessions, cleaning up behind themselves routinely, one of the biggest things here that we do, when the students, before they leave out, they have to make sure that their area is clean, that they picked up any trash or paper that they may have had, if they went out for break, did they make sure they threw away their drinks, their paper packages from their snacks, making sure that before they leave they packed up all of their things correctly, making sure they didn’t leave paper behind, oh, this go in my binder, oftentimes I get one or two that comes back and say, oh, Ms. Alexander, I didn’t put my paper in my binder, did you see it? And I, no I didn’t, what were you supposed to do? And then I’ll remind them, hey, it’s very important that you pick up behind yourself, making sure that your things are organized in the way that they should. One of the things also that we do is we provide them with a binder, we color dividers, and they help them organize their studies, organize their work, one of the things that I tell parents to often do as well is to make sure that even at home, they find a way to organize their rooms, give them little tasks at home to check and see if they’re organizing in the most appropriate way, are their clothing organized in their drawers? Is their shoes put away properly? Little small things that start at home that transition over when they begin to exit out and decide to start, or even thinking about living on their own, is there something that is a red flag that they’re not doing, then it’s possible that they’re not quite ready for the independent living that they desire. And discerning between needs and wants, and relationships are another part that’s very important when they begin to live on their own. It’s easy to just think that we can get all the things that we want or everything that we want is gonna happen overnight, and that’s not this case, so when we start making those discernments between needs and wants, it better prepare them for understanding what the real world is really, really gonna be like when they have to make those decisions on their own. What does relationships look like? How should they be maintained? Understanding boundaries with people, knowing what people are for what, and when should they engage with certain people. Knowing what friendships are, and how they can end friendships if friendships don’t work out. And so that’s part of taking the personal care that they need for themselves, because relationships can be a mental thing that they have to understand, that it can be an on and off thing, but it’s very important that they take care of self first. Meal Preparation and Cooking is one of those almost self explanatory things, however, this is very important to independent living, because we have to be able to eat to survive, and have our nutrition so that we are healthy. And so this is knowing how and when to use various kitchen appliances to cook, can I use a stove? Should I only use a microwave? Should I meal prep with my family prior to? Is this something that I can do alone or is this something that someone should help me with? Not only is meal preparation and cooking about the actual cooking, but it’s also about shopping for the grocery that they need in order to do the meal prepping and cooking, but also are they following a certain diet? Are they eating healthy? Is there something that the doctor requires them to have? And what does that look like? So shopping isn’t just for snacks and the sweet things that I really, really like, but it’s also making sure that I’m buying the necessary things in order to make a proper meal. And then Managing Time and Finances. This one is very important, we teach a financial literacy course here through the program, and so oftentimes we have to go through the steps of what it is to have money and what it is to spend money and budget money. We also talk about the scheduling that comes with working, but also to have time for studying, if they choose to do educational program, or also having time for themselves and having time for others. So making personal schedules with important dates and being on time is something that we help them do and understand, do they like gadgets? So do they have a iPhone or any kind of smartphone? Do they have a regular phone? Do they know how to arrange the calendar in their phone? Do they know how to arrange for transportation to be on time to these places? And are they capable of using public transportation? If not, do they know how to communicate with the person or people who’s going to help them become independent in their environments and those people who are gonna help them get from place to place? The money management skills, understanding banking, I often tell parents, take them to the bank, show them what it’s like to have an account, let them know where their income is coming from, so that they can know how to use money appropriately. We go over budgeting, again, discerning between needs and wants when it comes to spending, is this something I really need? Is this something that can wait? Is this something I want? And do I know how to save for it? Show ’em how to use a debit or a credit card. What does bills look like? And how do I pay those is important, because when you live on your own, you are going accrue bills. And then shopping, where should I shop? How often should I shop? And how does shopping affect my spending? And so that is one of the things that we talk about when we are doing the budgeting lesson, and the banking lesson. And then last, Living Alone and Home Maintenance. This is important to them, especially if they decide that they would like to move out from with their parents and into their own place, whether it’s in group home, arranging and keeping affordable housing, or rooming with someone in the same space, knowing the boundaries and the limits of sharing the housing, and also, what does it look like to make sure that I maintain my home that I’m living in now? So the upkeep of the home, cleaning their living areas, and communicating their needs with the appropriate people who can help them, especially like the landlord, or the maintenance man at the apartment complex, or it can be communicating with their parents and family to get the help from the right repair men or companies to help them. They also need an understanding of repairs and when to seek help as is needed, again, we try to teach them, don’t go fixing something that you don’t have the training to fix. What are some basic home things that they can learn? Like plunging the toilet for themselves, making sure that they’re cleaning out the tub, making sure that they’re dusting when dusting needs to happen, all of those are type of things that they need in order to make sure that their home is up and that they are living in a health environment. Overall, that is the most important skills that comes with independent living. What I will tell you to do is to try and make sure you’re as observant as possible of their skills, and talking to them about the things that they need to not only get a job and to be employed, but to get out there and live on their own, if you see it’s something that they capable of doing. We have amazing stories that some students don’t move out, but the parents are willing to make spaces for them in their home and giving them privacy, and so if that’s something you’re seeking to do, what is something that you can arrange for them to give them that level of independence also while being there, helping them along the journey? And so look around your community, look for volunteer opportunities, also look for potential places of employment that have now hiring signs, and get a glimpse of some of the skills that they’re requiring or looking for in an employee, and then we can start working on those skills with our children and our students to get them ready for those opportunities. Thank you guys, I hope what I said was helpful today, again, please ask any questions that you have. Thank you Jaleesa, give me one second here, thank you so much for that. We did get some questions in the Q & A, so I wanted to ask those of you. First, we have two comments here that I would like to just say, one is from, give me one second. Thanks guys, we have spring break here this week, so I’ve got my son at home. We have our kids at home too, that’s why I’m doing this from the office. So anyways, we have two comments here, one is from Tutu Asanti, I hope I’m saying that correctly, and it’s asking for a skill to be added, telling your employer, some may not take that well, and that is very true, do you have any inputs on that? How can we make that a little bit easier? Is it asking, telling the employee to add the skill to the job or… I’m not sure, I’m gonna… Well, I can address it. Okay. I’m assuming that’s what it is, so for example, I’m currently researching the barriers to work-based learning experiences, which is me working directly with talking to employers about job carving, and job carving requires us to collaborate with employers to pull out those skills and those potential job tasks that our students can actually do without doing the whole position. Again, we don’t live in Utopia, and some employers just will say no, and that doesn’t mean that that’s gonna be a no from every employer, but it is encouragement to keep going to different and various employers to ask them, what is it that we can do to help carve out a position? To do task analysis, we have a perfect student that will do a great job here doing X, Y, Z, so it’s all about advocacy at that point when it comes to working and collaborating with employers, we have to be able to provide them with something, to give them the willingness to wanna work and collaborate. Sometimes if those employers are a no and a strong no, then it’s likely that that’s not the environment we want our students to be in any way, ’cause it may seem like it may be too complex of a environment, so it’s just kind of fitting the pieces where we kind of need to go with helping find the right places. Gotcha, okay, before we go on to these questions I just wanna make note of the time, it is 12:45, which is officially the end time of our webinar, but I know Jaleesa has agreed to stay on for a few more minutes, is that still, are you still okay with staying on for a few more minutes? Yeah, yeah, sure. So what I wanna do real quick is put up our evaluation poll, so if everyone could please fill that out, let us know how we’re doing, this allows us to, like I said, see how we’re doing so we can continue to put on great webinars like this. Also, this is the last webinar of our current webinar series, so over the next couple of weeks, you will see recordings and transcripts pop up on our webinar page. I’ll make sure we put a link to that in the chat, so that way you can save that. And then, let’s see, and then, yeah, so we’re gonna go ahead and go over some of these questions and answers. And before we do that, I just wanna say, thank you Jaleesa for this great webinar, and let’s get some of those, let’s get some of those questions answered. Okay, first one I have here is, you mentioned students drawing a blank when trying to say their skills, how can we help them to find ones that they already have? That comes from being observant. So get to know your student, kind of pay attention to the things that they’re good at, what they’re doing, some of the things they’re not so good at, but you can help them be better at, so when they do draw a blank, for example, I have a student that’s really, really good at counting money, and so one day I was asking, I was like, so what skill do you have when it comes to working at a store? And he kind of was just like, I don’t know. And he was like, well, I wanna work at the store, and so I was like, well, tell me your skill, that’s what the employee is gonna ask, and so he was thinking and thinking, and I was like, well, what about you think, what does a cashier do? So I made it into a question, because I wanted him to make the connection, but if you feel like you need to say it, then say it, say, well, I find you do very great at counting money, do you think that’s a skill you can use? And if so, let’s put it on your resume, or let’s write it down so you can remember so you can talk about it, and then frame it into a sentence, make them say that I am very good at counting money. Oh, I am very good at wiping windows. I am very good at logging onto the computer and turning on the internet, or using the internet browsers. What is it that they’re good at that you can get them talking about? So it’s just kind of how you wanna pose it, and figuring out if that student is capable of it, talking about it in a way, if not, figure out what works for that individual student. Give ’em pictures, if you can show them pictures and they can point to a image, they say, oh, I can do this, and then talk about what they’re pointing to in the picture. So I hope that help, but when you see them trying to figure it out, it’s okay to jump in and help them because it is an informal setting. Great, thank you for that. And then let’s see here, the next question I have is, if our young adult does have the good fortune to be in your program, what are some ways that they can get some instruction on some of these skills and on talking about their own skills? That is a good question. Looking to the office of disability employment policies, they have excellent videos that talks about the different types of skills that you can look into when you wanna talk about these skills, but there’s also some inventories out, if you type in a specific type of living skills or employment skills for young adults with disabilities, those resources are also gonna pop up, but it’s just we’re working with, if they’re in transition, working with someone at the school that may be a career counselor, they can help you also kind of navigate where you guys should be going as far as those options, but sometimes it’s just gonna take looking for those resources, you can also go on YouTube and there’s wonderful videos, and I wanna say it’s the PAES lab, P-A-E-S, you can go on YouTube and find those different students working in those PAES lab situations, and that can show them what are some opportunities that they can gauge from doing or seeing others like them working in those different situations or environments. And then just, when it comes to talking about their skills, it’s kind of one of those things that you just, it comes naturally that you just can do. It’s no real instruction or model on how to get them talking about their skills, I always suggest starting informally, so if you can start informally, just kind of getting them to talk about what they like to do, what are some things you see yourself doing, and then turn it into, oh, well, do you know that’s actually a skill? And then you can talk about it, and then get them to have the desire to kind of enhance that skill, where are some places that I can go that I can come or do to be better at this skill? So on volunteer opportunities in the community, look into some of those as well, because sometimes we just have to get out there and do something, and they can just help us get those skills that we need. Awesome, thank you for that. Now this is a very good question. Do you have any suggestions for motivating a student to want to apply for a job? I know it’s hard, but I know many who are just happy to play video games all day. Yeah, we have those all the time. As fortunate as we already have the applicants that we have, we do get some who end up in the application pool because it was something that their parents or their teachers desired, and they’re just not ready, but then I always tell those parents, they might not be ready now, but what are some things that you can do and show them to possibly want a job? And so always lay things on the line for them. What does the real world look like when I’m not here? What does it look like when you don’t have this video game all of the time? What are the benefits of having a job? The video games are not gonna be the answer for everything that exists in the world, and so we just have to try and find little positive things, for example, do they have a best friend networks? Do they have a favorite family member, a cousin, that does something they talk about all the time? Bring that up sometimes, for example, I have a student that’s always telling me about his best buddy working, and I’m like, oh, so you think that’s a good idea? And so he says, yeah, and then he is like, well, when I get my job, and I know that shows me that he’s interested, so sometimes we just have to find little avenues to figure out what can I do or say to show them that working is a good thing, having a job is not only about getting up and going to work, but it’s actually finding joy in what it is that you’re doing. So is there something that we can actually find that they find interesting? What kind of video games are they playing? Are they playing a racing game, then it’s likely that, oh, they have things like celebration station, main event, some of those places look or remind them of the video games, and would you like to work there? What type of work would you like to do? Is it related to something you see on the video game? And so it’s just finding the right words, showing them the models of people like them that’s working, or have been motivated to work. And sometimes when they see that, it can light a spark, it’s not gonna be easy, I have students right now, I have about three, they’re not really motivated, they like, you don’t have to worry about a job for me, Ms. Alexander, and I’m like, no, but we do, and so, share the stories, share the good news about students like them who have gained employment and have had bonus things that come from it. I have a student, he wasn’t a fan of working, but now he has so many friendships from going to work and meeting new people, and that has helped him develop very much so in his social aspects and his communication aspects. So giving them something to look forward to when it comes to working, and everyone loves a paycheck, so that be a motivator, if they’re on a allowance or a fixed income already from their parents, or they want things that they desire, say no, and say, hey, you need to go work for it, and that may be a motivating factor. So it’s just finding something to spark that little ounce of excitement about working. No, that’s great, that’s great, actually, one of our comments here in the chat is pointing out that those who admire, pointing out to those they admire who are working is a great idea, someone other than just boring old mom and dad. It looks like those are all of our questions Jaleesa and we’re right at almost one o’clock. So I wanted to say, if anybody has any more questions, definitely feel free to drop those in. And let’s see, we’re gonna close out our evaluation poll here in just a minute. But yeah, that looks like that’s that, and again, I thank you so much for this great webinar and all of this great information. On your screen now is the list of the webinars that we’ve already had, these were all of the webinars we had in our series. And so over next couple of weeks, you will start to see those on our website with the transcripts and the slides, the recording, all of that great stuff, so you can go back and catch any that you missed, or if you want to rewatch one, to pick up something, maybe you said, I think I thought I heard this, but I’m not sure, those will all be there, but yeah. So thank you for that, and last but not least, I wanna thank the Wilson Foundation for their dedication to the Baton Rouge and Capital area community, and for supporting this webinar series. So thanks again, everybody, and y’all have a great day.

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