It is critical to include all members of the educational team when teaching workskills in order to optimize the student’s success. For example a multi-disciplinary team supports students in their work at the Perkins Trust where they make “Thank-you” calls to recent donors. Here are some of the ways in which members of the team provide training and support:
- The student learns and practices the script with their Speech Therapist, where role play sessions help to teach students to modify the script according to caller’s response.
- An Occupational Therapist brainstorms ideas for seating and telephone accommodations.
- Lessons with the Orientation & Mobility instructor focus on developing the most efficient routes to and from the work site and establishing entry and exit routines.
- Technology such as braille note takers and laptop computers are used to access the donor contact information and communicate with the supervisor in the Trust department.
- The student and job coach evaluate performance based on a rubric; i.e. was the individual responsive, was the message communicated clearly?
- Students submit payroll information on a weekly basis.
- The student often uses the skills acquired during the on-campus job to supported work at other call center sites in the community.
Strategies to Help Students Develop Vocational Skills: A Team Approach
The following strategies are effective in helping develop a team approach:
- Use task analysis to break down a large job into manageable tasks.
- Analyze all aspects of the job, including dress, travel, seating, technology considerations.
- Instructors have clearly stated roles and are kept informed how the student generalizes skills to the workplace.
- Student has knowledge of IEP goals and objectives and helps to measure progress.
- Use rubrics to establish clear expectations and measure for progress.
- Give immediate feedback and discuss strategies to improve performance.
- Job coach support is reduced according to student progress and acquisition of skills.
More on Preparing for Work:
Tiered work systems
Giving back to the community
A team of support
By Denise Fitzgerald