In 2014, I attended the Advance LA, Resilience Conference. The topic was Resilience but the conversation often went to higher education for young adults on the spectrum and then to jobs or careers. With improved therapies, earlier diagnosis, and better outcomes the teens and young adults of today can contribute to society. Helping your son or daughter look for a job, position, or even career may seem daunting but there are resources and ideas to start with.
To help think of the best type of job for your son or daughter, ask yourself, what does your child love, what is of greatest interest. You can use that information to think of places to work. Attention to detail or extreme attention to detail may be a problem to parents when they are raising their child, but there could be a company or need somewhere that embraces that abilty.
There are resources such as Autism Works Now! Temple Grandin and Joanne Lara have put together Autism Works Now! to train interested individuals on the spectrum for work in offices, community, etc.
Erica Francis at ReadyJob.org wrote an article, Starting A New Business When You Have A Disability
for me to share resources on this website. Readyjob.org helps guide teens. Erica Francis has resources to help train teens and a list of companies who hire teens.
Elizabeth Rose Chacon
Starting A New Business When You Have A Disability BY eRICA Francis
Starting your own business is a huge part of the American dream. Everyone hopes to one day get out from the corporate rat race and be their own boss. It’s a challenge, and not everyone succeeds, many do.
But when you have a disability, you might feel a bit left out — like that part of the American dream is not for you. Nothing could be further from the truth. These days, it’s easier and better than ever for a veteran, civilian, or anyone with a disability to start a new business and be successful. And yes, that includes people with mental health disabilities as well.
What Kind Of Business?Before you start getting your bank statements together for a small business loan, there’s a lot of work to be done first. That begins with deciding what kind of business is best for veterans and civilians with a disability.
Becoming a franchise owner is a great way to get in the game. While there are start-up fees, there are always costs with starting a business. A franchise can give you the name-recognition, marketing support, and plans every business needs to succeed.
A government contractor is another good choice. After all, local and federal government offices have a lot of money to spend and a lot they need to purchase. Veteran-owned small businesses are often prefered by the government, giving you an edge that’s so crucial when starting a new company from scratch.
If the veteran’s health is bad or you have some mobility problems thanks to a disability, you might want to consider a home-based business. From making art and selling it on Etsy to working as a copywriter or blogger, you can make great money from the privacy of your own home.
You Need A PlanNow that you know what kind of business you’ll be starting, you need to know how to get it going — and how to survive in this market. That means you need a business plan.
To be honest, you cannot simply think you can start a business (disability or not) and magically succeed. Even the greatest idea in the world needs careful planning, research, and scheduling. That’s exactly what you get with a proper business plan. Yours should include:
●An executive summary that quickly explains your plan and goals.
●The structure of your business (even if it’s just you).
●How to differentiate your business — and your plan — so it stands out.
●An analysis of the market segment you’re going to compete in.
●How you will market and advertise your business.
●A description of the product or service you’ll be offering.
●A projection (which is different from a guess) of your business’ profitability.
Seeking FundingNow that you have your business planned, you are ready to take the first leap into entrepreneurship: getting funding.
You might think that getting money for your new business will be hard if you have a physical disability or a mental health issue, but you are wrong. There are programs out there specifically for small business owners with disabilities. Government grants, private organizations, and even religious institutions can all offer small loans or grants to you if you 1) have a recognized disability and 2) are starting a new business.
It’s Hard Work But Worth ItAs a person with a disability, it can be hard to feel ready to start your own business. To help build that courage, you can start by picking one business that you love; create a plan to make it successful; then secure funding from sources that specifically work with disabled small business owners.
Today I want to talk about advice, wanted and unwanted.
It started the day I announced my first son's pregnancy during the Lamaz class at the Hospital where I was to have my baby.
I noticed that the teaching nurse threw in a lot of her own advice and attitude. For example, she definitely believed that a birth without an epidural was a success, much more successful than the birth of a child with an epidural. She blamed the inability to breathe and distract oneself from pain was the reason for an "unsuccessful birth".
Fortunately, my family history taught me that each of us has our own tolerance for pain. Nothing in her class taught me how to breath through the knife I felt slicing me in half when the doctor broke my water. My father had a very low tolerance and my mother had just the opposite because of rheumatoid arthritis. My father also panicked easily so he had to leave the birthing room (meaning my mom told him, "Get out of her, Sam!") Panic wasn't discussed in the Lamaz class.
After the baby came advice came at me everyday I managed to get out of the house. Oh, my gosh! Feed him rice cereal. Don't feed him rice cereal. Speak to him in a high pitch voice. Speak to him in your normal voice so he knows what you sound like. Don't pick him up every time he cries. If he's fussy give him some brandy (granted these parents raised children in the 30's and 40's).
I was dizzy from all the advice and decided to politely thank each person for the advice and go on with my life.
Advice is rarely asked for and always free (I think I saw that on a T-shirt) but it's always, always there.
After my parents died 6 days apart in November 2016 I wanted advice. Advice from some helped and was comforting. The one piece of advice that doesn't work for me yet is, "At least they are together, that will bring you comfort." Or, "They were so much in love, think of their romance to bring you comfort." Nope. That doesn't help yet. I didn't like it but I knew my mother's time was coming. I had no idea my dad would go so soon. The shock was huge and only slightly wearing off.
I bought a book. One chapter helped. I looked for a bereavement group. A highly recommended group meets the same time I teach in Santa Ana, I have to teach because teaching dance feeds my soul. I looked for another, confirmed it was to occur the day I called, no one showed up.
Today, I'm asking for advice, believe it or not. I feel like my parents left me to go on a date, like I did when I was a little girl. How could they leave me behind?
I know it's part of life, but how do you get through the first year, or even the first six months? Please share if you want to. Please nothing negative, I work with kids and parents who get enough negativity in their life. I don't want it in mine.
Thank you for reading.
About Being A Role Model
Have you ever realized that everyone is a “role model” for someone? From what I understand, the idea behind inclusion in school is that those who have trouble communicating, behaving, or doing what others do, are included so they can copy other students or have “role models.” I understand this idea, but do the students in the school all realize that they ARE “role models”? I wonder.
Some kids didn’t want to take my class because the word Autism was used in the title. Or they wanted to be with kids who didn’t appear to have autism. Hmm. No matter what the class is called it’s fun, the students only have to copy me and the other students, and for some students it is therapy. It’s therapy if a child cannot speak yet. Last week I invited the parents of my 3-4 year old students in to dance with us. One of the students yelled out very clearly, “No! Go! Go away!” to her parents. Some parents might be offended but the parents were very happy because she spoke to them.
Therapy is about connecting the body to the brain on the student’s timetable. I wait patiently for responses, for participation, and I think they appreciate that I don’t get upset if it takes “too long” to do something.
Everyone is a “role model” for someone.
Elizabeth Rose Chacon
As I said, I was born a dancer. I love the word "dance" and I love dancing.