Self-Directed Employment: A Handbook for Transition Teachers and Employment Specialists provides step-by-step instructions on how to infuse self-directed employment strategies into your school transition or agency-supported employment programs. First, you will read about the evolving nature of employment supports for individuals with disabilities and the important role that self-determination plays in this evolution. After these steps are stories and data demonstrating the effectiveness of the Self-Directed Employment (SDE) methodology.
This book consists of five major parts: a general discussion about employment and self-determination, assessment methodology, placement and follow-along methodology, data analysis, and photocopiable forms. This first two chapters summarize community employment and self-determination research. Chapters 3-7 present the steps for conducting an SDE assessment. Chapters 8 and 9 present information on placement and on-the-job problem solving. Chapters 2, 10, and 11 include case studies and summative data for the SDE methodology. Finally, the appendix contains photocopiable forms that enable the user to copy and implement the SDE methodology in schools or supported employment programs.
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Chapter 1, entitled “Get a Job,” discusses two major points. This chapter reviews the revolutionary concept of community employment and explains how supported employment consists of a set of methods, not just a type of employment outcome. The chapter also examines the evolution of employment practices from the “get them any job” initial phase to self-directed employment.
Chapter 2 explains how and why self-determination powers the SDE methodology presented in this book. Self-determination concepts from a macro and micro viewpoint are examined, followed by a discussion of two different self-determination definitional strands. Next, a unifying understanding of self-determination is presented after examining several definitions.
Chapter 3, entitled “Getting Started: An Implementation Overview,” presents the SDE curriculum and explains the choice management and self-management outcomes. The organizational schema explains how to use Chapters 4–9. Finally, an implementation reference guide lists the forms needed to implement each curriculum objective.
Chapters 4–7 explain the steps for implementing the choice management assessment process. Each chapter details how to complete each curriculum objective and fill out each form and compute results and provides “What If?” questions and answers that offer solutions to the most common problems found in implementing each objective.
Chapter 8, entitled “Introduction to Section II. Goal E: Finding a Job Matching Skills and Preferences,” explains placement and on-the-job problem solving. This chapter shows how to engage individuals with disabilities in the placement process. It emphasizes achieving a match between interests, skills, and job demands before and after the person accepts a new position.
Chapter 9, entitled “Introduction to Section II. Goal F: Solving On-the-Job Problems,” explains how to apply basic self-management skills to adjusting to the demands of the work place.
We established a SDE program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to develop and demonstrate the procedures described in this book. During the program’s 11 years, we provided employment services to 751 youth and adults with severe disabilities, including individuals with intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and mental illness.
Chapter 10, “Stories,” presents case studies. These real-life examples—with the names, identifying information, and circumstances changed—show the SDE methods in action. A few case studies describe situations that were not successful because they illustrate other variables (beside the SDE methods) that can affect success.
Chapter 11 presents summative results of the SDE program from different points in time. Comparison between the SDE program and national demonstration projects show that when individuals make their own choices and solve their own problems using the SDE procedures, their results at least equal the results of efforts made by professionals and often exceed professional accomplishments.
Chapter 12 summarizes ideas behind the SDE program.