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


DIS Veteran
Mar 13, 2004
You don't completely lose SSI if you start working. Social Security excludes the first twenty dollars you earn and after that they deduct one dollar for every two you earn. Social Security also excludes any money you spend on work related expenses like transportation if they are disability related. You can find more information at


DIS Veteran
Jul 18, 2012
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.
In my city, there are multiple small cafes that have hired adults with Down syndrome as table bussers. I've also seen them work at grocery stores bagging groceries and retrieving carts from parking lots. They seem to be doing a great job at those tasks. Those are definitely necessary jobs and not make work. Since there are so many working at such jobs I'm guessing that there's a community program that handles training and placement.


DIS Veteran
Feb 12, 2013
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.
She is wrong. States do not get the option to override Federal IDEA mandates. The district you are in simply wants you to believe your son has to be released from their care at 18. It has obviously worked because no one questions it. That's how they get away with not doing it.

Since you have money, hire a special education lawyer and learn the truth. The school district, by law, HAS to continue to provide services until age 22 (not in a regular school, but a district funded transition program).

It is not too late. Hire an attorney and learn your rights. You have the right to request a new IEP meeting at any time. Bring the lawyer.
  • DisneyOma

    DIS Veteran
    Jul 27, 2015
    Yeah, unfortunately, my husband is just selfish. He doesn't want to move, and he doesn't really care what's best for my son. Who is also his son, but you wouldn't know it.
    Not knowing you or your husband, I'd say you have a pretty sad marriage right now - perhaps some family counseling would help?

    She said money isn't an issue. Maybe they are independently wealthy. Maybe they are lotto winners. What does it matter?
    Perhaps they should use all that money to create a job for their child? Or put the money in a trust to take care of the child after they pass away?

    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.
    Depends on if he has passed state testing, etc. If he's earned a full diploma (not a certificate of attendance) and has met all the goals in his IEP, they do not have to keep him past graduation. If he hasn't met goals, hasn't passed testing, etc, he can stay until 21. Some states have an age of 22, but IDEA states 21.

    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.
    Or your husband believes that getting the job may eventually take him off SS - if he can be employed long enough, and well enough to not receive any money from SS, then he would be showing that he didn't need SS to begin with, right? And then down the road, when you are gone, he might have issues again and then be denied.


    DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
    Apr 6, 2004
    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.

    i live in spokane county. my son is on the spectrum and has learning disabilities. in researching our region you might want to look at services through the ARC of Spokane, DVR (department of vocational rehabilitation) and the PACE (people accessing careers and education) program at spokane falls community college. PACE in particular is a great program-

    ..."it is designed to increase employability and independent living skills. this program is designed for students to achieve and maintain successful employment. students taking classes may be referred to an employment specialist, if they are ready to become employed and have funding through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) or Spokane County Developmental Disabilities...

    students need to be 18 years of age or older to apply for services. a high school diploma is not required to participate in the program. PACE serves individuals who experience intellectual/developmental disabilities and/or psychiatric disabilities to reach their vocational and independent living goals...

    ...PACE Services offers ongoing support for students. this includes offering assessment, job development, on-the-job-training and job retention services".


    WDW lover since 1972
    Jan 19, 2002
    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.

    Hi! I admire your forward thinking about your son. I agree that having a job, being in the community, is preferable to just collecting SSI and staying home, isolated.

    Florida isn't known for its great social services and can be tricky to negotiate. But they do have programs. We looked a one through the University of Central Florida, which educations special needs students in one of a few programs, including hospitality. They have internship programs with the the surrounding theme parks and on campus.

    Here's another success story. Looks like Florida programs run the the state Vocational Rehabilitation service.

    Determination and Drive Help Young Man with a Disability Land Job with Disney
  • tobikaye

    DIS Veteran
    Dec 6, 2009
    Op, I haven’t read through all the responses, but since money is not a concern, can you think of a business not available in your area that you could start and your son could work? I have seen many parents start such businesses.

    I am in Ohio and have a sister with developmental disabilities, but leans more high functioning. So, she hasn’t had as hard a time getting jobs as some others.

    We have many friends in DD that have a wide range of abilities and many have found a job of some kind. Ohio DoDD is moving towards trying to get more of their clients jobs over just socialization.

    I also know some families that, instead of focusing on employment for their DD kids, went the volunteering route. There are even a couple of agencies in our county that does a social/volunteer group.


    DIS Veteran
    Jul 17, 2009
    One thing I thought I noticed - do you have other kids younger than your son? Are they on board with picking up their lives and moving so that their sibling can maybe get a job? As the neurotypical younger sibling of a DD man, I urge you to consider the needs of ALL your kids before you make any huge family changes.


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