Vocational training for special needs students helps the students learn the skills they need to find employment and live as independently as possible.
Organizations that hire special needs employees trained in specific skills find them to be as productive and responsible as any other employees. Employment empowers individuals with special needs to feel they are productive members of society, just like everyone else.
Importance of Vocational Education
Special needs students who may have diminished functioning benefit from vocational education as they learn skills they can use past high school. They choose to learn skills that interest them according to their abilities. Teachers also recognize abilities in special needs students and tailor the training programs to what each student can accomplish.
A vocational assessment helps the student explore options and identify the best vocational program to fit her aptitude in the least restrictive environment.
A vocational evaluation is performed for students with special needs in grades eight through 12. They get to explore options in the work world and assess their ability to accomplish tasks related to each type of work.
The evaluation identifies the appropriate vocational program for the student as well as the student’s strengths, weaknesses and interests. The evaluation is sent to the student’s home school if it is done by an outside agency. With this evaluation, the school can develop a vocational program for the student.
Vocational Job Training
Schools that have vocational training programs for special needs students generally have some type of job shadowing or internship programs as well. The schools work with local businesses so the students in training have an opportunity to go on a work site to watch how the jobs are accomplished.
The student learns work-based activities through the job shadowing or internship program, and these skills are carried through to actual employment. It eases the transition from vocational training to the daily working environment.
Types of Vocational Training
Many areas of vocational training suit students with special needs. These employment fields include auto collision or servicing, building maintenance, culinary arts, hospitality, landscaping, information technology, printing and graphics, retail store operations, construction and cabinetry.
Students with special needs tend to be highly dedicated to job tasks and make devoted employees. When they have the means of generating income, many are then able to live independently with a sense of pride and belonging.