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Office of Disability Employment Policy

ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

Integrated Employment Toolkit

Families in the State of Washington Advance Integrated Employment

Integrated Employment - Shared Advantages

Speaking of her son, Brendan, Joanne O'Neill proudly says, "Few people thought he could work, but I did." She is speaking of the situation 16 years ago when Brendan was getting ready to leave secondary school. Today, she is proud to say that Brendan has been working as a mail clerk associate at Valley Medical Center in Renton, Washington for the past 15 years.

Brendan was in a special education class for students with multiple disabilities when Ms. O'Neill began to push the school system to prepare him for integrated work as an adult. Although he has an intellectual disability and uses a power wheelchair, she and Brendan knew he has a lot to contribute. Today, through the example of Brendan O'Neill and many others, and through the advocacy of many families with children with disabilities in the state of Washington, families are coming more and more to realize the benefits of integrated employment.

Indeed, now families in many counties can expect that the students finishing their special education programs will exit school already employed in a job that will be a springboard for long term adult employment. In many Washington couThe Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (W.i.S.e.) a private, non-profit organization dedicated to expanding employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, has worked with families for many years to identify integrated employment services in their communities. W.i.S.e. also helps families identify resources to assist in preparing their family members with disabilities for employment and career decisions. Sample resources it provides for families are listed below.nties, collaborative partnerships between the schools and the adult developmental disabilities services create links for the students to jobs and to ongoing support so they can remain employed well after they exit school. As a result, youth with disabilities and their families are now able to see a future that includes integrated employment. This is a path to jobs and careers that Brendan O'Neill and his mom helped pave.

Sample W.i.S.e. Resources for Families: