Helping to advocate for a particular schedule in the work place can alleviate work tensions and create a successful atmosphere for an individual with FASD.
Most employers assume that an individual with a disability will require a flexible work schedule, however this may not be true of an individual with FASD. As we know most people with FASD require structure, routine and repetition to be successful and master a task, the same is true of their work schedule. Creating a schedule that embodies the principles of how to learn and become great at one’s job will not only help the employee but the employers as well.
Where to start…
1. It is important to find some sort of routine in how shifts are scheduled. Before you begin to advocate for a set schedule, first find out what time of day the individual functions their best. Is it early afternoon? Evenings? This will be important to understanding what shifts your client should have in order to be successful.
2. After you have chosen your preferred shift of afternoons or evenings, advocate for regular days. This way, with little fluctuations, your client will know that they always work Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.
3. Finding out about the client's transportation can be a big factor to whether a job will be a successful fit or not. Check the bus routes or how long it takes to walk to work. Also, check what time a parent or friend can help drive the individual to work. Routine shifts will not work out if the individual needs to wait for a ride that gets off of work at 5pm, when the individual needs to be at work at 5pm.
4. See how the work schedule is posted. Is it online, e-mailed, posted at work? Request that the schedule be e-mailed to yourself or the individual. If this is not possible see if a print out can be given to the client to take home or shared with support workers and job coaches.
5. After a client has been away sick or on vacation its very important to carefully transition them back to work. This may look like shorter shifts, reiterating previous training and even a performance review. Understanding that memory functioning can be disrupted by having some time away is important because job performance may not be at the same level when the person returns from a week or two away.
6. A schedule may also have to be accommodated if a management change occurs. Some individuals become as familiar with people as they do the task they complete at work. When an interruption in management occurs it can make the individual uncomfortable or confused. Therefore, they may require a shortened shift as not to become mentally fatigued.
7. When a job becomes comfortable and little to no advocating seems necessary, job coaches, employment specialists, parents and support workers can begin to step back. However, a level of interdependence should still be available to the individual if they require help through a management transition, new schedule due to health concerns, family changes or a change in work performance. Most individuals with FASD will always require some support to maintain a job, the quicker we recognize the need for help, the more likely we are to help the individual remain happy and helpful in their current job.
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