How to find a job at WDW for my mentally handicapped son

BabybetterDisney

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Hi,

My son is 18 years old and graduating from high school this year. He is mentally handicapped (IQ 50) but has no serious physical/emotional problems. Most people in his condition just go on government support, but I have always wanted him to get a real job. I have been training him at home to do cooking and cleaning. He has learned to make the following with little or no help:
1. burgers
2. fries (with the home fryer, similar to the professional version),
3. chicken nuggets,
4. potato salad,
5. jello
He can read a list of ingredients and follow them, but cannot follow a whole recipe.

And as to cleaning, he can clean off and wipe tables and other surfaces, mop floors, put dishes in the dish washer and get them out and put them back where they should go, take out garbage.

He can talk, but not very well because he lacks understanding. He can tell people where the bathroom or the soda fountain is, for example. He is a happy person and most find him pleasant.

My son is a hard worker. He has been practicing the piano for 8 years, 2 to 3 hours a day.


I feel that he can work at something that is very repetitive with little skill required, like working at, say, the food court of Pop Century. We have been going to Pop Century yearly for 8 years, and I feel confident that my son can manage to work there with some training. But I have not been able to find out how to do that. The disney job websites only advertise advanced positions such as chefs. I just want my son to make minimum wage, that's all!

He can't do the Disney college internship program; he is nowhere near smart enough.

Is there a CM out there who knows how to get a job at a WDW quick service place? Doesn't matter where. I am planning to move to Florida so that my son can work at WDW. Not right away, I just want some information because I haven't been able to find a thing online myself.

Thanks!

Later edit: I am thinking about WDW because I haven't been able to find work locally for my son because we live in a small town where there isn't a lot of work that he can do. Our restaurants and hotels are very small with few customers compared to Disney. I feel that WDW hires so many people that he can surely find something there! But, I could be wrong about that, of course.
 
Last edited:

kaytieeldr

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
Joined
Jun 11, 2005
Have you considered trying to find him that kind of work where you live first? Are there any agencies in your area that can help him with employment? The kind of job you want him to do wouldn't tend to be advertised nationally, but if the time comes you do move, experience might help.
 

AnneK

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
I agree with the comment above - before you up and move your entire family, help him find a job locally first so he gains valuable experience. Then after a few years have him apply to Disney.
 
  • chloelovesdisney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2007
    Look to see if Orlando has an organization that provides job training and placement for those with developmental disabilities, Disney may work with them to hire those that have successfully completed the training program.
     

    mamabunny

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2012
    I don't know about your area, but here in the great Middle where we live, local Wal-Marts often hire folks like your son to do things like fetch carts, or take bags around to the registers or other similar repetitive tasks.

    Some of these folks have a "helper" that I believe is paid by the state? But others, after training, do become able to work independently.

    While I understand why you would lean towards Disney, I would try to find something locally first - and if your son is receiving any state services, ask them if they have a job program he could fit into.
     

    Mrsjvb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2007
    as someone who worked in fast food for far too long, it quite honestly is NOT a good fit for those with severe developmental disabilities. my restaurant( the Golden Arches) did have a contract with the local ARC.. for clean up in the dining room.. clear off tables and wipe them down, empty trash, damp mopping. most lasted no more than 6 months before something happened and they had to leave the job.

    I'd try the local nursing homes first. the one my grandmother lived in had almost their entire maintenance staff and cafeteria workers DD. most of the old folks loved them to bits and the feeling was mutual. much slower paced environment and more tolerant clientele.
     

    Betty Rohrer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2010
    Hi,

    My son is 18 years old and graduating from high school this year. He is mentally handicapped (IQ 50) but has no serious physical/emotional problems. Most people in his condition just go on government support, but I have always wanted him to get a real job. I have been training him at home to do cooking and cleaning. He has learned to make the following with little or no help:
    1. burgers
    2. fries (with the home fryer, similar to the professional version),
    3. chicken nuggets,
    4. potato salad,
    5. jello
    He can read a list of ingredients and follow them, but cannot follow a whole recipe.

    And as to cleaning, he can clean off and wipe tables and other surfaces, mop floors, put dishes in the dish washer and get them out and put them back where they should go, take out garbage.

    He can talk, but not very well because he lacks understanding. He can tell people where the bathroom or the soda fountain is, for example. He is a happy person and most find him pleasant.

    My son is a hard worker. He has been practicing the piano for 8 years, 2 to 3 hours a day. He is not very good because he has a mild stiffness to his muscles, but he tries hard:

    I feel that he can work at something that is very repetitive with little skill required, like working at, say, the food court of Pop Century. We have been going to Pop Century yearly for 8 years, and I feel confident that my son can manage to work there with some training. But I have not been able to find out how to do that. The disney job websites only advertise advanced positions such as chefs. I just want my son to make minimum wage, that's all!

    He can't do the Disney college internship program; he is nowhere near smart enough.

    Is there a CM out there who knows how to get a job at a WDW quick service place? Doesn't matter where. I am planning to move to Florida so that my son can work at WDW. Not right away, I just want some information because I haven't been able to find a thing online myself.

    Thanks!

    Later edit: I am thinking about WDW because I haven't been able to find work locally for my son because we live in a small town where there isn't a lot of work that he can do. Our restaurants and hotels are very small with few customers compared to Disney. I feel that WDW hires so many people that he can surely find something there! But, I could be wrong about that, of course.
    I work at a small park in Pa and we have had a number of one like your son come thru our park. most of them come to us with a job coach from their program who helps with them learn the job and no a parent is not allowed. before your move find out what programs are there to help your son with find a job. my guess from what I know from my park it would not be a CM that helps him
     
  • BabybetterDisney

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2018
    as someone who worked in fast food for far too long, it quite honestly is NOT a good fit for those with severe developmental disabilities. my restaurant( the Golden Arches) did have a contract with the local ARC.. for clean up in the dining room.. clear off tables and wipe them down, empty trash, damp mopping. most lasted no more than 6 months before something happened and they had to leave the job.

    I'd try the local nursing homes first. the one my grandmother lived in had almost their entire maintenance staff and cafeteria workers DD. most of the old folks loved them to bits and the feeling was mutual. much slower paced environment and more tolerant clientele.
    Thanks! That is very helpful. That is my other plan, that my son works in the local veteran's home and I will be applying when he graduates in June. It's just that I live in a small town in Montana and we have basically nothing in terms of job training for the mentally challenged. That's why I'm thinking about moving if the nursing homes and other businesses here don't want him. I want to move somewhere that has such a program. Doesn't have to be Disney World,certainly. Just any job, a real job!

    Your description of "most lasted no more than 6 months" is what I suspect is the reason there aren't many programs for the mentally challenged; such programs aren't usually successful. Statistics show that only 10% of DD people are employed, and my son with only 50 IQ, is in the bottom 10 percent among the DD, so I am going against big odds here. My husband thinks I'm wasting my time, but I am dead set to get him that job, I've been planning this since he was born.
     

    lanejudy

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2011
    I have no idea what services might be available to your son in your area, but be sure to research the complete picture and not just near-term job prospects. We aren't there yet but I know from others that it can be very hard to relocate and get someone into a program in your new area without an extensive waiting list, whereas when he graduates locally from high school he should automatically qualify if his transition team has done what they are supposed to do. If you are rural, maybe simply a closer relocation would keep his current status intact with the state/county/local agencies but put you living somewhat closer to potential jobs.

    Good luck!


    ETA: I'm going to move this to the disABILITIES Community Forum since it isn't directly related to planning a trip.
     
  • Betty Rohrer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2010
    Thanks! That is very helpful. That is my other plan, that my son works in the local veteran's home and I will be applying when he graduates in June. It's just that I live in a small town in Montana and we have basically nothing in terms of job training for the mentally challenged. That's why I'm thinking about moving if the nursing homes and other businesses here don't want him. I want to move somewhere that has such a program. Doesn't have to be Disney World,certainly. Just any job, a real job!

    Your description of "most lasted no more than 6 months" is what I suspect is the reason there aren't many programs for the mentally challenged; such programs aren't usually successful. Statistics show that only 10% of DD people are employed, and my son with only 50 IQ, is in the bottom 10 percent among the DD, so I am going against big odds here. My husband thinks I'm wasting my time, but I am dead set to get him that job, I've been planning this since he was born.
    I know most of the ones that have come to small park I work at have stayed for the season and a number have stayed for more than one season. some have gone on to work at fast food places and a couple have gone on to nursing homes in our area. in our area the job coaches are part of the school program. I would start talking with home your talking about now and maybe set up something on weekends now to see how he works our for them. I would not wait until June but would be starting now. not the same as your son but when I started at the park our dishwasher who ran our dishwasher was blind. most of our successful disabled kids were some of our lower functioning but I do not know numbers. the ones that have failed it was not the IQ numbers but their willingness to work and do the job if you know what I mean. wish you were in our area as we have programs to do what you are looking for
     

    BabybetterDisney

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2018
    I know most of the ones that have come to small park I work at have stayed for the season and a number have stayed for more than one season. some have gone on to work at fast food places and a couple have gone on to nursing homes in our area. in our area the job coaches are part of the school program. I would start talking with home your talking about now and maybe set up something on weekends now to see how he works our for them. I would not wait until June but would be starting now. not the same as your son but when I started at the park our dishwasher who ran our dishwasher was blind. most of our successful disabled kids were some of our lower functioning but I do not know numbers. the ones that have failed it was not the IQ numbers but their willingness to work and do the job if you know what I mean. wish you were in our area as we have programs to do what you are looking for
    That is very nice to hear. I am thinking about moving to Spokane, WA, which is 4 hours drive from us, as I believe Spokane, being the largest city within 4 hours, will likely have more programs and opportunities like your area. I thought Disney World would have the most work opportunities for him, being that they have so many jobs that he can potentially do, but maybe not.
     

    BabybetterDisney

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2018
    I have researched all government or private help such as DPPHS in my area. They can't provide the help my son needs. They told me so. Their help is geared more for people whose condition is mild and just need occasional coaching or counseling, which is 90% of the special needs people. My son is likely the only one in my county who has such a low IQ and still wants a job. It doesn't make sense for DPPHS to design a program just for him. That's why I'm considering moving. I don't mind moving however far if that means getting my son a job, or at least give it our best try.

    My original question is, how do I go about doing that? How do you get hired as a quick service worker in WDW? Or a laundry worker to wash the sheets for the hotels?

    There is a possibility that my son can get a job doing laundry for the local hotel this summer. The thing is, the hotel in my town only hires laundry workers for the summer, that's all. So if my son make it through that job OK, he can go to Disney and work all year.


    3/4 of the way across a country for a maybe job is extreme. Montana DPPHS has offices in Helena, Glasgow, Great Falls, Billings, Helena, Missoula, Miles City, Bozeman, and Kalispell.
    you need to research vocational rehabilitation in your area :) that's what they are for, that's what they do.
    "3/4 of the way across a country for a maybe job is extreme." That's exactly what my husband said!
     
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    Happyinwonerland

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2014
    It sounds like you have made up your mind about getting him a job at WDW. Maybe you could do a google search for Orlando area employment help for adults with your son's situation. I think a local employment office would also know about helping him obtain a job. I'm not sure about how to get those specific jobs, but possibly a phone call or email to corporate human resources might help. Just google their number, it is easy to find.

    What does your son think about moving across the country for a job? Does he specifically want to work for Disney?
     

    Starwind

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 7, 2014
    Since he has no work experience, getting work experience would likely be helpful, even if it is just summer experience. Among other things with would both demonstrate the actual feasibility of working (and give "experience"), as well as identify challenges with working he may face -- all of which right now, though many are anticipatable, are somewhat theoretical if he hasn't been in an actual workplace. So a summer position close to home could be a good place to start and could give a good idea on whether having a job **in the real world** is actually a feasible/realistic goal or a pie in the sky dream.

    Working in a restaurant in a capacity that prepares/serves/deals with food requires certifications [not necessarily formal], which requires taking and passing state and/or local mandated training course(s) of one kind or another [such as a food safe handling course]. This requires being able to have a certain level of understanding of the "why" of things, not just the "do" of things. From what you have described, this may be a limitation on what types of positions are suitable for your child.

    Most if not all states have sheltered workplaces. This is a list of Montana's [they are exempt from state competitive purchasing procedures, which is why there is a list] https://emacs.mt.gov/Portals/122/Sheltered_Workshops/shelteredworkshops.pdf It may be worthwhile looking into some of these programs.

    This article about a Montana program may be of assistance: https://mtstandard.com/news/local/bsw-inc-program-for-developmentally-disabled-celebrates-years/article_34ff6dd2-34e2-5f6c-9c89-034150fbfed6.html The organization's website is here: http://www.bswinc.org/index.htm

    On the flip side, an article countering the sheltered workshop model and avocating for broader options: https://www.dailyamerican.com/ourtownjohnstown/are-sheltered-workshops-on-borrowed-time/article_843ade56-aeab-11e7-bc89-97ebf11eea9a.html Also see https://www.cnbc.com/id/100834276

    Also, though you are probably already aware, https://dphhs.mt.gov/dsd/developmentaldisabilities Eligibility for targeted case management starts at 16.
     

    arminnie

    <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2003
    Easter Seals is an organization that provides job, housing, etc. The office near me does a lot.

    When my DH had a restaurant 30 years ago he often hired developmentally impaired individuals. The state subsidized the wages. I wasn’t married to him then so don’t know the details.

    I know when I was in college my wages for an on campus job were paid 90% by the government because the family income was below the poverty line. I never had any trouble having a good job because I was practically free.
     

    DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    As far as state assistance/programs for disabled adults go, Florida ranks near the bottom nationally. I would NOT move to Florida. Its possibly worse than Montana.

    We live in CA, in Orange County. It costs an arm and a leg to live here, but this state and in particular this county, has a VERY good, established program through Regional Center in partnership with hundreds of local and national businesses to provide work programs for disabled adults. Our 2 sons are autistic and will likely work through these programs when they graduate HS as well. Disneyland is, for sure, a partner in this program. They hire bus boys that work in a couple of the Disneyland quick service locations, clearing trays, mopping floors, wiping down tables. I have seen these employees numerous times over the years. They also work with large supermarket chains and hire baggers, cart retrievers, etc. Starbucks is also part of the program, as are many other companies.

    If you can literally move anywhere (income/jobs allow that), look for a place with well established work programs for disabled adults, without years long waiting lists. Massachusetts is supposed to be very good in this area, as is Minnesota. Most southern states are terrible. Texas has a good reputation as well, as does Arizona. California is good, but supposedly Oregon and Washington aren't so good. Colorado is also supposedly good. You can Google "best places to live for disabled adults" and look for the index that measures work opportunities.

    Your narrow focus on getting your son a job at WDW is not the best way to go. However, if you truly feel that where you are won't help your son reach his full potential, moving somewhere that will isn't crazy.
     

    arminnie

    <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2003
    My friend's disabled son had a job shredding papers with the state. When he was evacuated to Texas after Katrina he was lined up with a job there very quickly.

    Be careful at looking at how states are rated for services. You need to look at what individual cities offer.
     


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