Finding a job of your choice or starting your own business is an exciting step in building a successful, satisfying career. There are many agencies and resources available to assist individuals with Down syndrome reach their goals. Here are a few of the resources you may find helpful.
Your county Division of Developmental Disabilities (DD) contracts with the state DDA (Developmental Disabilities Administration) to provide services to people with developmental disabilities. These services typically include employment services and day program services. Employment services may include:
Individual Supported Employment. This program supports competitive employment for individuals with disabilities in integrated business settings, for comparable wages, typically within the community. Agencies develop or locate jobs, place individuals in those jobs, provide training on the job site, and supply follow-up technical assistance and long-term supports to the individual and business as required to maintain employment.
For information about county DD services, visit your county’s website. Puget Sound area county websites:
- Clark County
- Jefferson County
- King County
- Kitsap County
- Pierce County
- Skagit County
- Snohomish County
- Thurston County
A list of all the county websites is found on the DSHS/DDA website.
Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) assists individuals to prepare for, find and keep a job. DVR offers vocational counseling and contracts with Employment Agencies to assist people in finding a job and with initial training. Specific services may include: vocational assessment, job placement, on-the-job training, stabilization, and transportation training.
SSI gives cash assistance to people with limited income and resources who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled. Children with disabilities can get SSI, too. To find out if you can get SSI and learn how to apply, go to Supplemental Security Benefits (SSI).
If you receive Social Security disability benefits and live in the state of Washington Plan to Work can help you: Understand how working will affect your cash and/or medical benefits as well as other state-specific benefits; Make informed decisions about the impact of employment on your overall financial well being; Develop an individualized Work Incentive plan which allows you to make informed decisions as you work towards your goal of self-sufficiency; Receive support in navigating programs and services of agencies and organizations at the Federal, State, and local levels.
School to Work
In the state of Washington, there is a strong partnership between counties, Washington state Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and DVR to assist students with developmental disabilities to leave school with a job and experience a seamless transition to adult life and support services. Transition Fairs are an excellent way to learn more about this process. In King County information on School to Work and how to apply is available on the King County DDD website.
How to Choose an Employment Provider and other Transition Questions
Resources for choosing an employment provider, how to prepare for transition and work, and lots more can be found on these sites:
- King County provides a series of questions to ask providers included in their Guide to Employment.
- The United States Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has extensive resources on their site.
- Center for Change in Transition Services at Seattle University has a Transition Guide on their site.
- Think College—postsecondary options for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
- WiSe—Washington Initiative for Supported Employment provides multiple resources on Transition and Employment.