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

tcufrog

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
While I am sympathetic to your problem, I feel I must be blunt and not dance around the issue. This is one of the most unrealistic plans for moving to Florida I've ever heard. You know nothing about what program your son needs to apply for when you move that might actually get him a job or whether Disney even has a program that will hire him. I have a child who has special needs of a different sort and I worry about his ability to get and hold a job when he grows up. I've been meeting with specialists for advice for years to try to figure out how to get him there. If money is no object, then my advice to you is look online and find vocational consultants in the larger cities in your area and travel to with your son to meet with them to start formulating a plan for getting to the point where he can get and hold a job. That person should also be able to help you research which cities and states will be best suited to providing the support your son needs. He or she can also help you find a program that trains your son in other life skills he will need when you and your husband aren't around anymore. For example, your son can't drive. Can he be trained to take the same bus or train every day to a job? A lot of families with children like your son move to cities with good public transit infrastructures for that reason. Your son needs more life skill training before he tries to hold a job. You don't know if the city you plan to move to offers that social service and whether you will be able to access it.

I agree wholeheartedly with your husband. Your plan is an ill-conceived one. I think it's wonderful that you want your son to reach his full potential but this plan won't get him there.
 

BabybetterDisney

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
It did/does not appear you investigated any other options - not that WDW is your last resort

It appeared you were intending to move first, with the automatic assumption that he will get hired.

Way, way too specific. He would apply with the company, not at a specific location for a specific job.

I would expect, depending on the type or degree of disability, that few if any employers would hire except through a training program.
I feel that this thread has taken off into not so much exploration of options for my son but more a judgement of which option I should be taking in order to not waste money. So I want to explain further:

1. My question is very specific, yes, and I was hoping for a specific answer, that perhaps somebody knows about the details of hiring at the quick service food places and can tell me how someone can be hired, at a specific location if possible. But working at another quick service location is fine too. I just asked a question, I wasn't making a lifetime, unalterable commitment for my son or my family. I'm not picky, I'm not in a condition to be so! Like I said, any real job! I just want my son to have a job! And by the way, this isn't to make me feel better the way other people feel wonderful when their child becomes a doctor or CEO at Microsoft. I am not going to feel good to see my son working permanently at some low wage menial task (would you?), but I will be incredibly proud of him! Because for him, it is about as hard as becoming a doctor for somebody else.

2. Let me repeat: my family can afford to blindly move to Disney World or Disneyland or New York City, rent some luxury apartment so the family isn't suffering, look for work for my son for some months, can't find it, then move back. Seriously, money is not a problem. So even if I move and then seek work, it isn't hurting anybody or anything. Or to put it this way: if we are not look for work for my son at all, if we just feel like moving to a city like New York and living there for a few months or years for the fun of it, we can totally afford to to do so. It's just an 8 hour flight, not a 5-month covered wagon journey across dangerous terrain. It's no big deal.

3. I have zero problem with a work training program that is suitable for my son, be it working at McDonald's or Disney or anywhere. I just don't have anything my area that is suitable for my son due to our low population density. That's why I want to go somewhere else for greener pastures because I have read about training programs other states have, and they do have training or work programs suitable for my son.

4. My son is in a work program right now in high school, but they are extremely limited. For example, they don't work in the kitchens because they require you to be 18 to do that, but by the time the kid is 18, he graduates in a few months and that's the end of his training! That's why I'm training my son at home. I have him make 24 big macs on Sunday, 24 Egg McMuffins on Monday, 24 roast beef sandwiches on Tuesday, 4 quarts of potato salad and 12 pounds of chicken nuggets from scratch on Wednesday, and other stuff such pancakes, cup cakes, fruit tarts, and jello dishes the rest of the week. It takes him about 2 to 4 hours to do this after school every day. I package the food in a box and my son carries it to school the next day and share it with his class. His teachers and friends all love it and it makes him very popular:). He also made 10 lasagna last summer, most of which I gave to the neighbors being that it is too difficult to carry that to school.
 

marcyleecorgan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Table bussers have many more responsibilities than just sweeping the floor, emptying a trashcan and collecting dirty dishes. Those are Front of House tasks, there are also a lot of Back of House tasks.

A kitchen/restaurant is a very dynamic environment with many safety hazards. Therefore, unless there is already a program in place for the disabled workers to function safely in the position, no restaurant owner or manager is going to want to risk the health and well-being of anyone in the restaurant. What happens if a co-worker misplaces a chemical bottle on the shelf, and since "the one on the far right is safe for food surfaces", the worker grabs that one, and it is unsafe? All sorts of random and unpredictable things happen in restaurants and the staff have to act accordingly. How would your son handle a fire alarm and evacuation at a restaurant? Would he be a danger to other employees or patrons by his inaction? If anyone else has to be responsible for his safety in such an event, then it is unsafe for him to be working in that environment.

As I understand, Disney exclusively hires for Food/Bev through the College Program and occasional casting calls for other positions. He is welcome to apply and interview like any other legally-working adult through those channels, but he also can be turned down for the position, like any other legally-working adult. Definitely ANYONE hiring him is going to want proof via job experience that he is capable of following directions and independent thought. So hence my suggestion to Montana voc rehab - he has to be working in Montana before any other place would hire him. Kind of like how it is always better to get a job while you're already employed. And you certainly shouldn't be considering any kind of move for his employment at this time. Work on his life skills, those are applicable whether you move to Indiana, California, Maine or Kenya. LOTS of things to consider... :)
 
  • BabybetterDisney

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2018
    While I am sympathetic to your problem, I feel I must be blunt and not dance around the issue. This is one of the most unrealistic plans for moving to Florida I've ever heard. You know nothing about what program your son needs to apply for when you move that might actually get him a job or whether Disney even has a program that will hire him. I have a child who has special needs of a different sort and I worry about his ability to get and hold a job when he grows up. I've been meeting with specialists for advice for years to try to figure out how to get him there. If money is no object, then my advice to you is look online and find vocational consultants in the larger cities in your area and travel to with your son to meet with them to start formulating a plan for getting to the point where he can get and hold a job. That person should also be able to help you research which cities and states will be best suited to providing the support your son needs. He or she can also help you find a program that trains your son in other life skills he will need when you and your husband aren't around anymore. For example, your son can't drive. Can he be trained to take the same bus or train every day to a job? A lot of families with children like your son move to cities with good public transit infrastructures for that reason. Your son needs more life skill training before he tries to hold a job. You don't know if the city you plan to move to offers that social service and whether you will be able to access it.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your husband. Your plan is an ill-conceived one. I think it's wonderful that you want your son to reach his full potential but this plan won't get him there.
    He doesn't need to take public transportation. I can commission the local taxi company to take him to work or pick him up whenever he needs it.
     

    BabybetterDisney

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2018
    Table bussers have many more responsibilities than just sweeping the floor, emptying a trashcan and collecting dirty dishes. Those are Front of House tasks, there are also a lot of Back of House tasks.

    A kitchen/restaurant is a very dynamic environment with many safety hazards. Therefore, unless there is already a program in place for the disabled workers to function safely in the position, no restaurant owner or manager is going to want to risk the health and well-being of anyone in the restaurant. What happens if a co-worker misplaces a chemical bottle on the shelf, and since "the one on the far right is safe for food surfaces", the worker grabs that one, and it is unsafe? All sorts of random and unpredictable things happen in restaurants and the staff have to act accordingly. How would your son handle a fire alarm and evacuation at a restaurant? Would he be a danger to other employees or patrons by his inaction? If anyone else has to be responsible for his safety in such an event, then it is unsafe for him to be working in that environment.

    As I understand, Disney exclusively hires for Food/Bev through the College Program and occasional casting calls for other positions. He is welcome to apply and interview like any other legally-working adult through those channels, but he also can be turned down for the position, like any other legally-working adult. Definitely ANYONE hiring him is going to want proof via job experience that he is capable of following directions and independent thought. So hence my suggestion to Montana voc rehab - he has to be working in Montana before any other place would hire him. Kind of like how it is always better to get a job while you're already employed. And you certainly shouldn't be considering any kind of move for his employment at this time. Work on his life skills, those are applicable whether you move to Indiana, California, Maine or Kenya. LOTS of things to consider... :)
    You have a point. Disney might have a huge number of safety rules that disqualifies handicapped people from working there beyond being in a training program. Thanks for mentioning that; I had not thought of it. Scratch Disney.
     

    marcyleecorgan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2017
    You have a point. Disney might have a huge number of safety rules that disqualifies handicapped people from working there beyond being in a training program. Thanks for mentioning that; I had not thought of it. Scratch Disney.
    I admire your sense of determination and out-of-the-box thinking on your son's behalf!!!!
    There must be some internet-based support resources that you can connect to as well, because you're not alone in this. :)
     
  • kaytieeldr

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2005
    I feel that this thread has taken off into not so much exploration of options for my son but more a judgement of which option I should be taking in order to not waste money.
    We're clear now that money does not matter. Given that, are there any hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, etc, where he could volunteer? That would help with experience.
    So hence my suggestion to Montana voc rehab - he has to be working in Montana before any other place would hire him.
    Realistically, 24 Big Macs in two hours is one every six minutes. That would virtually never fly in an actual McDonald's.

    States with good programs for developmentally diisabled adults:
    https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/10/03/ranking-states-best-services/22825/
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/these-are-the-10-best-states-for-people-with-disabilities_us_55bb96fde4b0d4f33a0280ab
    https://www.elwyn.org/services/adults-21/day-programs-for-adults-with-disabilities/
    https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/federal-programs-persons-disabilities
    https://www.thearc.org/what-we-do/public-policy/policy-issues/employment

    Career suggestions
    https://www.integrityinc.org/the-best-jobs-for-people-with-developmental-disabilities-where-to-find-opportunities/
    https://www.simplyhired.com/search?q=work+with+developmentally+disabled+adults&job=UOtBfUuE5U9JDWz7Fcxs7LpU7u68amJdUSYZ_y2TJunVcG3jIHYzVw
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/11/04/the-best-jobs-for-people-with-disabilities/#2471ea5e12b5
    https://www.trade-schools.net/articles/who-are-disabled.asp
     

    lovewdwdvc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2004
    He may be able to stay in school and get job training and a job coach. In Iowa he could stay in school and the services are very good. I am not sure about Florida or if this is the way you want to go. The on the job training may make him lots more employable.
     

    lanejudy

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2011
    Montana graduates disabled kids from high school at age 18 like non disabled kids and there are no transitional programs of any kind. The vocational rehab does a little bit, but it doesn't begin to do what my son needs. What's worse, you have to wait in line until they get around to you. You also have to pay (I don't know how much) if you have money.
    I believe it’s the Federal IDEA law that allows developmentally disabled individuals to remain in high school until age 21 (or the end of the school term after their 21st birthday). The State of Montana cannot blanket deny someone that access. Now, whether you could modify his IEP at this point just a few months prior to his planned graduation, I don’t know. It probably should have been part of his educational plan for at least the past 2-3 years. It is so important for parents to know their (child’s) rights throughout the school years. I have always tried to be a step ahead — DD starts H.S. In the fall and we’ve been planning that transition for a couple of years now, and we’ve already begun some preliminary chats about post-secondary opportunities.

    You mention that you would have to pay for any services in Montana, yet insist money is no object to move. It sounds like you are willing to pay in one way but not another. Waiting lists are likely anywhere at this point, but getting him in a waitlist in your current home state would be better than waiting to move and then getting him in the bottom of a waitlist in a new community/state. Be aware what implications a move may have on his Medicaid or disability income as well — he could be bumped to the bottom of waitlists for such. Even if those are not concerns at this time, qualifying for such programs prior to age 22 can be very important for the future - unfortunately we won't be around to provide for our kids' for their entire lives.

    I have researched all government or private help such as DPPHS in my area. They can't provide the help my son needs.
    You seem focused on “the grass is greener” opinion, and that’s your prerogative. I think folks are just trying to offer some other perspectives and suggestions. I honestly don’t think you can move to FL or CA, walk into a Disney casting office, and obtain a job for your son based on home training. You really need to try and partner with a social services agency even if that doedn’t fully meet your goal — but give it a start and work from there. Change doesn’t happen by accepting the status-quo but by starting there and trying to build something. Montana has a considerably larger population than my state so I doubt your son is the absolute only person wanting/needing such services.

    Are there local soup kitchens, programs offered through church or religious organizations, volunteering at the local library, Goodwill/Salvation Army thrift shops, etc.? All of those things can help as "job experience."

    I have him make 24 big macs on Sunday, 24 Egg McMuffins on Monday, 24 roast beef sandwiches on Tuesday, 4 quarts of potato salad and 12 pounds of chicken nuggets from scratch on Wednesday, and other stuff such pancakes, cup cakes, fruit tarts, and jello dishes the rest of the week.
    You are doing an awesome job, mama! This clearly has taken a lot of time and effort from both of you. Just don’t try to do it in your own. Push the limits of the programs available. Give them a chance realize your son’s potential and find a way to achieve that. Be his teacher and his cheerleader, just don’t make it a one-room-schoolhouse.
     

    arminnie

    <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2003
    But I believe my son will be happier and have a more fulfilled life having a real job like normal people, even if it is a menial job.
    I agree with you. But I want to tell you a cute story - when my friend's son was evacuated to Texas after Katrina, a job was found for him right away. He'd been shredding papers in an office for years and years. His new temporary job was sorting gloves at a factory. He came home from work and told his mother that he didn't like it because "I'm not a blue collar worker." His mother didn't even know that he knew that phrase.
     
  • tcufrog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2012
    He doesn't need to take public transportation. I can commission the local taxi company to take him to work or pick him up whenever he needs it.
    You’re not going to be around forever. What’s your plan for then? That’s what I was talking about. You didn’t really look at the rest of my post. You just focused on the part you thought you could negate.
     

    MrsCobraBubbles

    Life's too short to wear pants all the time
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    I can't really help with the Disney World aspect of this, I have no knowledge of how Disney hiring works except what I learned from a conversation my ex-husband had with a cast member on the monorail years ago, none of that applies to your situation, sorry.

    I live in a small, rural town so I sympathize with that isolated feeling you have. I just want to reach out and give you a hug, i can tell you love your son and want to do what is best for him and I think that is awesome! I work with children with low-functioning autism and I can recommend several agencies that can help ease his transition into adult independence here in southwestern Pennsylvania if you are interested in re-locating here. The major city that I am nearest to is Pittsburgh and I hear it's a lovely place to live! Is your son on disability? My son is on the autism spectrum and we receive SSI.
     

    arminnie

    <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2003
    A friend's Down Syndrome son (now in his early 30s) received excellent support in Portland, ME. He has a life coach who works with him. He works a few days a week at a grocery store passing out samples. He loves it and has been doing it for several years now.

    After high school he attended a residential program (I think in Boston) where he learned life skills in preparation for obtaining work. That was a tremendous help to him. It was sort of like a "college" for Down graduates with the emphasis put on life and work skills not academics.

    I do not think the program was state or federally funded, so programs like this can be expensive. But like you his parents had the financial resources and were willing to do everything they could to help their son have the best life possible. He's such a great guy. Wish I was closer. As I am now disabled I probably won't be able to make that trip any time soon.
     

    Groot

    Still recovering from the events of Endgame.
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2018
    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.
    That would be awesome to know if something like that existed. I’m also interested in working in Disney when I move to Florida and idk how I would go about applying for a job there since I’m disabled too and the past few visits saw a lot of disabled people working there.
     

    BabybetterDisney

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2018
    I should explain that 24 big macs are made from scratch. He has to cut lettuce, peel and dice onions, toast bread, slice pickels, fry the patties, slice cheese, tear wax paper to proper length. When that's all done, then he assembles the burgers and wrap them in wax paper. If you only count the assembling of the burger itself, which is what I see some do at Mcdonald's, I would say it takes him about 20 seconds per burger, or about 50% more time than a good worker.

    Nobody would take 6 minutes to assemble a burger. That'd be like an incredibly slow motion movie!
     

    BabybetterDisney

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2018
    I believe it’s the Federal IDEA law that allows developmentally disabled individuals to remain in high school until age 21 (or the end of the school term after their 21st birthday).
    Nope. Not true for Montana. The special ed teacher told me so during our last IEP meeting a month ago. I specifically asked her about it, and she said other states do it, but not Montana. And she's been teaching special ed for a long time; I doubt she's wrong.
     

    BabybetterDisney

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2018
    I can't really help with the Disney World aspect of this, I have no knowledge of how Disney hiring works except what I learned from a conversation my ex-husband had with a cast member on the monorail years ago, none of that applies to your situation, sorry.

    I live in a small, rural town so I sympathize with that isolated feeling you have. I just want to reach out and give you a hug, i can tell you love your son and want to do what is best for him and I think that is awesome! I work with children with low-functioning autism and I can recommend several agencies that can help ease his transition into adult independence here in southwestern Pennsylvania if you are interested in re-locating here. The major city that I am nearest to is Pittsburgh and I hear it's a lovely place to live! Is your son on disability? My son is on the autism spectrum and we receive SSI.
    Thank you! My son receives Social Security as well, with a stipulation that if he gets a job, he loses the money. That's why my husband feels no drive to get him a job. A hug to you as well! My son doesn't have autism, just cognitive delay, but I've studied autism a lot because there are some similarities. Autism can be so tough! My son is like a walk in park compared to some that I read about. What is your son like?
     

    BabybetterDisney

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2018
    A friend's Down Syndrome son (now in his early 30s) received excellent support in Portland, ME. He has a life coach who works with him. He works a few days a week at a grocery store passing out samples. He loves it and has been doing it for several years now.

    After high school he attended a residential program (I think in Boston) where he learned life skills in preparation for obtaining work. That was a tremendous help to him. It was sort of like a "college" for Down graduates with the emphasis put on life and work skills not academics.

    I do not think the program was state or federally funded, so programs like this can be expensive. But like you his parents had the financial resources and were willing to do everything they could to help their son have the best life possible. He's such a great guy. Wish I was closer. As I am now disabled I probably won't be able to make that trip any time soon.
    Sorry to hear that now you are disabled, that is awful. And thanks for the information about the "college". Do you know if the "college" is all inclusive, that is, does it provide room and board and everything such that the kid can attend by himself, or do the parents have to go live near it so that the son can attend?
     
    Last edited:

    MrsCobraBubbles

    Life's too short to wear pants all the time
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    Thank you! My son receives Social Security as well, with a stipulation that if he gets a job, he loses the money. That's why my husband feels no drive to get him a job. A hug to you as well! My son doesn't have autism, just cognitive delay, but I've studied autism a lot because there are some similarities. Autism can be so tough! My son is like a walk in park compared to some that I read about. What is your son like?
    Thanks for asking :) My son is high-functioning, he has Aspergers. When he was younger we had issues, mainly with him having meltdowns which is a very common thing for kids on the spectrum. *knock on wood* he hasn't had a meltdown since the 6th grade, which is awesome because now that he is 16 and bigger and stronger than me I don't know what I would do! The years of therapy have helped him grow so much, his issues now are mainly with anxiety and social skills.

    I asked about the Social Security because my son has started receiving pamphlets from them in the last couple years, spelling out how the transition from dependent to independent person will work. I do think you would benefit from moving closer to a big city. I guess I take it for granted that we have all the services that we do--without having to stop and think about it, I can list 5 agencies in my area that could help your son, and I'm sure there are many more in the city. I feel blessed to live where we have so many options! We used one of the agencies for a while when he was younger and receiving so many services. He had a service coordinator which is like having your own personal social worker; she was so knowledgable and helpful in a time where we were really struggling with him, to figure out what services he needed, she even used to come to his meetings at school and advise me on how to fight for accomodations and services at his school, I don't know how we could have made it without her! I never paid a dime for his services once he was on SSI, the medicaid paid for everything. If your son is in Social Security he should recieve Medicare, correct? It might pay for most or all of a job training program. Oh, Goodwill and Salvation Army run job training programs too, do you have one of those near you?

    Anyway, with Social Security your son should be allowed to work a little bit. I believe we were told it has to be under 20 hours per week and the gross has to be under a certain dollar amount, but maybe that is different for everyone. i would make an appointment at Social Security to talk to someone about his case. Will you retain guardianship of your son? I'm not sure about the legalities of that, or how you and your husband's income affects your son's Social Security payments if he becomes your ward, but it might be time to talk to someone about that so if you do relocate you can at least have a better idea of what kind of rules you are working with.
     


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