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Charting the Course: Supporting the Career Development of Youth with Learning Disabilities

November 8, 2010 Publication
Guides

Making decisions and dealing with challenges in academic, vocational, and social settings are difficult but essential parts of the transition to adulthood. Support from caring adults can ease this transition, and this is particularly true for young people with learning disabilities. This Guide helps youth service professionals better understand issues related to learning disabilities so that they can assist youth with learning disabilities to develop individual strategies for workplace success.

NCWD/Youth prepared Charting the Course, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in response to the over-representation of youth and young adults with learning disabilities in a wide array of government-supported programs—adult education, vocational rehabilitation, welfare, corrections, and others. Many of these young people may not even be aware that they have a learning disability, although they may know that they have not done as well as many of their peers in traditional classrooms and in work and social settings. This Guide brings together effective techniques from both educational and workforce systems in an effort to foster a different way of thinking to support young people and focuses on addressing the needs of youth with learning disabilities from a “disability rights” perspective, a model that concentrates less on remediation and more on skill acquisition through accommodated approaches. This approach includes ensuring appropriate and timely access to assistive technology; learning how to disclose one’s disability effectively; and understanding how to access civil rights protections in educational, vocational, and social settings. The Guide is intended to help practitioners, administrators, and policymakers in secondary and postsecondary education programs, transition programs, One-Stop Career Centers, youth employment programs, and community rehabilitation programs to improve services and outcomes for youth, ages 14 to 25, with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities. This range of ages reflects the various settings and systems that serve transition-age youth with disabilities.

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