Customized Employment: An Employment Option for Youth with Deaf-Blindness

For many students with deaf-blindness, the discussion about employment goals that occurs as part of transition planning is difficult: IEP teams are challenged to identify jobs and work settings that are meaningful or seem likely to be successful. Customized employment is an approach that is gaining much support and recognition for that very reason. By definition, the approach is both flexible and individualized.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP) defines this approach as follows:

"customized employment means individualizing the employment relationship between employees and employers in ways that meet the needs of both.

It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs, and interests of the person with a disability, and is also designed to meet the specific needs of the employer.

It may include employment developed through job carving, self-employment or entrepreneurial initiatives, or other job development or restructuring strategies that result in job responsibilities being customized and individually negotiated to fit the needs of individuals with a disability."



Customized employment begins with the premise that everyone, regardless of significance of disability, has something to contribute to their community and to a prospective employer. Many youth with dual sensory impairments will benefit from an approach to employment that highlights their skills and abilities, using this information to identify the ideal conditions for their success in a job.

There are many other helpful resources available to help families, educators, and service providers implement a customized employment approach.