How Vocational Counseling Benefits Young Adults with Cerebral Palsy

The most common disability of childhood, Cerebral palsy can impose limitations to varying degrees, especially as individuals grow into adulthood and face the challenge of being able to work and be independent. Because these children have more challenges than others, they can benefit from vocational counseling to help them learn job skills and find the career that will help them live independent, satisfying lives as adults.

Cerebral Palsy – Varied Limits and Abilities

Every individual born with cerebral palsy, which is most often caused by brain damage in the womb or during childbirth, has a different combination of symptoms, varying abilities, and different degrees of limitations. The primary symptoms are muscular, and may include difficulty walking or moving, trouble swallowing and eating, vision and hearing problems, cognitive limitations, and many others complications. Some children will be severely limited, while others will have minimal disabilities.

Vocational Counseling for the Future

Any child with a disability will face more challenges growing into adulthood that those without disabilities. This doesn’t mean, however, that these children cannot succeed, engage in meaningful work, or be independent. Most children with cerebral palsy will grow up to be contributing members of society, living satisfying lives and being independent, but they may need a little more assistance getting there.

Vocational counseling is one way that a young adult preparing to become a working adult can get the help he needs to find his place in the world. A vocational counselor or counseling service can help adolescents and adults with cerebral palsy gain new job skills, find a career path that will be enjoyable, and learn employability skills to be able to land a job.

Benefits of Vocational Counseling

There are so many great reasons to get a young person with cerebral palsy into vocational counseling. A good counselor can help a teenager, or even an adult who feels lost when it comes to finding work, develop the skills, knowledge, and awareness needed to gain employability.

  • Practical Career Skills.  One of the most important benefits of vocational counseling is the development of job skills. Career counseling starts with an evaluation of the individual. This helps to find his strengths and weaknesses. The counselor will then work with the individual to help him learn and develop better skills. These could include using a computer, typing, and basic office skills, or skills needed for a specific vocation, like business or law.
  • Using Assistive Technology.  A vocational counselor can also help a young person with cerebral palsy learn to use assistive technologies and adaptive devices that he may need in the workplace. The young adult will also learn what his rights are under the law and how he can feel empowered to request adaptive devices on the job.
  • Finding Aptitude and Interest.  Important for all people looking for a career, big part of vocational counseling is the discovery of an individual’s aptitude. A good counselor can help someone find out what he is good at and guide him to determine the kinds of careers he really wants.
  • Getting a Job.  Finally, vocational counseling is important in that it can ultimately lead to a job. Counseling should include training in employability skills like timeliness, dependability, interviewing, and others. A counselor can also help individuals look through open positions and work towards being hired.

Working with a Vocational Counselor

If you have a child with cerebral palsy, it’s never too early to start thinking about his future. High school is a great time to really start thinking about careers, job skills, and taking advantage of a vocational counselor. Schools may offer this service, or if they do not, can probably point you in the direction of services for disabled children. You can also check with your pediatrician or other health care workers who know you child and the types of services he can benefit from. Vocational counseling can help anyone, but for a child with cerebral palsy, it can make a world of difference.

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