Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment

The Issues:

  • People with FASD often are unable to plan for the future or even think about it
  • People with FASD may have difficulty generalizing learning from one setting to another
  • People with FASD may forget today what they were told yesterday
  • Reasons for working or getting a job may be too abstract for someone with FASD to grasp
  • Sensory and processing overwhelm may cause a meltdown or shutdown
  • Unexpected changes in schedule or personnel may be overwhelming
  • People with FASD often have difficulty with boundaries and may act inappropriately with co-workers
  • People with FASD may not accurately read the intentions of others and are vulnerable to bullying, or going along with unsafe or unwise activities of others 
  • People with FASD often do not grasp cause and effect and may not see the consequences of their actions or the impact of their actions on others


VIDEO: Job Coaching for Workers with FASD

People with an FASD usually defy our expectations and can baffle even the most experienced job coach. This webinar will prepare you to understand common functional challenges experienced by individuals living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders as these issues occur in the workplace. Using real life examples, we will go on to suggest tools and accommodations that you can use to support these individuals in obtaining and maintaining successful employment. Watch the whole video here.

STRATEGIES to support people with FASD to find and maintain employment:

  • Help the person with FASD to discover and co-create immediate and concrete results of working that bring satisfaction in their own terms
  • Visit the work setting ahead of time to discover sensory issues in the environment
  • A job that involves repetition is a great aid to learning
  • Use visual cues for breaking down steps
  • Capitalize on the strengths of the person with FASD in selecting jobs and tasks
  • Create schedules and predictable routines for the person with FASD
  • Prepare ahead for changes in routine, schedule, personnel
  • Use headphones and other sensory overwhelm tools 
  • Give boss/supervisor basic facts about FASD (see card) and explain how they apply




TRANSITION (assistance for individuals with disabilities in moving from childhood to adulthood)


PLANNING FOR ADULTHOOD WITH YOUR CHILD (from “TAG – Technical Assistance Guide”)

I can expect my Parents/Guardians to:

  • Help me explore and guide what I want to do for work and how I spend my time after school. 
  • Provide consent for agencies/people to help me learn about their services and work towards my goals (If under the age of 18). 
  • Help me and encourage me to invite these agencies to my IEP meetings and apply for services. 
  • Help me complete activities that we decide will help me meet my goals. 
  • Help me make sure my employment supports and activities are coordinated and successful 


I can expect my Teachers or School Team Members to:

  • Starting at age 14 or earlier if needed, help me identify my goals for adult life and complete activities that will help me meet these goals.
  • At least two years prior to graduation, help me identify who else may be able to help me reach my goals, such as the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), University or Technical College Disability Services Centers or Mental Health professionals; learn about their services and help me invite them to my IEP meetings (with mine or my parents consent). 
  • Contact me to discuss time/date to schedule my IEP meeting. 
  • At least two years prior to graduation help me apply for appropriate services, provide referral information, and coordinate plans and services to assist me towards achieving my goals. 
  • Review my IEP and Transition Plan with me and communicate with appropriate stakeholders at least annually for progress updates and needed changes. 
  • Provide me with a Summary of Performance (SoP) that includes a summary of my academic achievement, functional performance, and recommendations to help me meet my post-secondary goals. This must be provided no later than my exit from high school. 


I can expect the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Representatives (At least two years prior to graduation) to:

  • Provide me with information about their program, attend joint meetings as invited, and help me determine my work goals and activities for achieving my goals. 
  • Send me a referral form when I ask for one and determine my eligibility for services. 
  • If I am eligible and off the wait list, help me develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), coordinate this plan and services with my IEP, and other agencies plans. 
  • Provide agreed to services to help me achieve my employment goal and ensure progress is being made. 
  • Review my IPE with me and appropriate stakeholders annually. 


I can expect Long Term Care and Mental Health Professionals to: 

  • Provide support to me and my parent/guardian by attending the IEP meeting when invited. 
  • Share information about services available to me that can support my employment goals. 
  • Explain the resources and supports that may be available to me when I leave school. 
  • Participate in planning discussions, to help me and my transition team to make informed decisions during the final years of school. 
  • Help me to align and coordinate my person-centered plans. 
  • Assist with making connections with employment service providers and DVR as applicable. 
  • For county-based programs, provide information on timelines and potential waiting lists for accessing services. For additional information about FC/IRIS, consult the Technical Assistance Guide for Adults Seeking Integrated Employment


I can expect Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) Representatives to: 

  • If I am 17 years 6 months or older, help me and my parents understand my options for long-term services and supports 
  • Assist me in identifying the full range of community resources and other benefits and services that may be available to me. 
  • Determine my eligibility for adult long term support programs, and if I am eligible, help me enroll in the program of my choice.

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Orchids is the FASD United Affiliate in Wisconsin.

This site is provided to families and professionals as an informative site on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). It is not intended to replace professional medical, psychological, behavioral, legal, nutritional or educational counsel. Reference to any specific agency does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Orchids FASD Services.
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