Recently we brought you Scoop Essentials: Beating The Employment Odds, a conversation about finding work that works for you no matter your ability level with employment specialist Doreen Rosimos of IncomeLinks, LLC.

Now, Doreen answers your questions on everything from identifying a positive work situation to interviewing and what’s out there for caregivers needing flexibility.

I am not good at interviews and I have a hard time until I get to know people at work. I usually do not make it to getting put on the schedule after my training. I have applied at all the fast food places, but I cannot do the cash register so it is hard to get a job. What can I do now?  I am desperate. — Kylie G, 27, Okla.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Doreen Rosimos: Well the first thing you need to do is practice, practice and practice some more at the interviews. Find someone who will be tough on you asking questions (someone being nice isn’t going to help you get it right). You might want to try a non-fast food restaurant, maybe a small locally owned place (in my small city we have about 10 locally owned pizza parlors), if you want to work with food at all. Concentrate on what you can do (you state you can’t do the cash register). Believing in yourself is one of the hardest things to do when you get turned down a lot, but if you don’t believe in yourself you will never be able to sell yourself to a future employer, and that is what you have to do, sell yourself. Good luck, and don’t give up. And don’t just think about fast food!

In your experience, what are the most important things that need to happen in high school and transition to increase the likelihood of getting and keeping a job? Thank you. — Mike Shields, 60 something, Greenfield, N.H.

Doreen Rosimos: That question is one that I ask myself all the time. I think the real thing is to have a reality-check. What can this person accomplish and what true supports are needed? Answering those questions are really important for the individual to have true transition success. I think that if a person has a job or small business then it should be theirs when they leave school (some schools keep the job for the next student in line). The other important thing is to help people find resources and people in the community to help them when the student is out of school.

If you had 12 hours to explore employment dreams, goals and resources with high school students with disabilities, what topics, discussions or activities would you be sure to cover? — Jaime Daignault, 38

Doreen Rosimos: Below is a form that I use in my trainings when I work with folks. I don’t actually ask these questions, but I steer the conversations to get the answers.

1. What brings you joy?

2. How much do you want to earn?

3. How many days do you want to work? For example, 365 days a year, events, two home parties?

4. How will you make it special or different?

5. Who do you see helping you? What do they bring to the table or offer?

6. Where do you want to work? For example, from home, a kiosk, other place you like?

7. Is it a product or service?

8. Do you like quiet, noise, busy, calm, crowds, few people?

9. What abilities do you bring? What are your strengths?

10. What don’t you like to do?

What types of micro-industries would you suggest to people who are blind or have low vision? Employers seem to have a fear of employing someone who is blind or has low vision for a variety of reasons. And in my experience, recruitment organizations (especially those related to government positions) don’t provide necessary formats even to get through the selection process after applying. I would be really interested in what would you suggest. Thank you. — Karen

Doreen Rosimos: I don’t think the type of disability should have any bearing whatsoever on the business you could own. You will most likely need different types of adaptive equipment. I know of three women without sight who buy things at the dollar store and sell them on eBay. Now, there’s an entrepreneur for you! But seriously, you are looking at it wrong if you think your type of disability prohibits you from owning a certain type of business. You need to figure out the business and then figure out the support (that’s where we start anyways).

I am a mother of a 16-year-old son, Mark, who has autism. He is hardly verbal and will have to be taken care of forever. Is there a service to find work for parents of disabled children, as I need a flexible schedule to care for my son and make ends meet? — Margo, 51, Port Jefferson, N.Y.

Doreen Rosimos: I have helped many parents start micro-enterprises so that they can own their own schedules. It’s the main reason I started my first business so I could be there for my older brother Jack (who recently turned 63). It was hard for employers to hire me because I always had to leave and help Jack. As far as a service, any employment service could work. However, you may or may not have luck with that avenue. You have to know what your actual needs are and state them clearly and loudly. Good Luck!

Would you explain how a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) plan works in regard to promoting self-employment. How does one start? Who does it benefit? Thank you. — Ellen Garber Bronfeld, 57, Northbrook, Ill.

Doreen Rosimos: That is a big question! What I can do is tell you to click here. This is a government link that is really very good at explaining what PASS does, they even have an online form that you can fill out and print.

You may also be interested in a Property Essential to Self-Support (PESS) plan. The link to that site is found here. The government does a much better job explaining these than I ever could, but after you read them, if you have questions, feel free to contact me!

Read all of Disability Scoop’s original series Scoop Essentials. Your Life. Your Issues. Your World.