How Families Can Build Work and Job Skills in the Home

Posted by Nikki Rankin on 1/20/2017 7:15:00 AM

This article continues our exploration of work skills for job success.  Our focus is for families to recognize and reinforce these skills. We know there are certain skills that have to be taught and learned by our young adults in order to be successful in getting and keeping a employment. My previous newsletter article began the discussion of communication skills, and we’ll continue with that discussion here.

We know that as small children we begin expressing ourselves by putting sounds together to make words. Talking may still be the most common and effective form of communication, but many job tasks also require an employee to exchange information and express ideas through writing. With the expansion of technology, youth will need to learn how to use written communication tools such as email and written work reports effectively.

Many students use texting as a way to communicate. For the family, helping to shape the student’s writing style is important. Family members should keep an eye on the writing style and make sure your young adult understands the importance of using correct punctuation, complete sentences, and accurate spelling in all forms of written communication.

Writing “Thank you” notes for appropriate occasions helps with written communication. Sending these notes is more than good manners.  They also provide youth with a perfect opportunity to practice proper grammar and give consideration to exactly what they want to say.

Having clear handwriting and proficient keyboarding skills helps as an employee. Writing a paragraph each day about what they did in school or would like to do on vacation (or over the weekend) helps improve writing ability. Using both a writing utensil and some sort of keyboard device allows time for the development of writing skills. If the disability is significant, and writing or using the keyboard is not a practical option, the writing should be based on an augmentative communication device. Creating presentations depicting their interests, hobbies, school experience, and work goals have useful applications when applying for jobs in the community or during IEP meetings.