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Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

Theory of Career Development

Career development starts very early in a child’s life and by knowing the stages of growth, the support team can better gauge where a child with special needs is in relation to typically developing children. Knowledge of this process will also prevent the team from setting unrealistic expectations for their students (Levinson, 2002). While children with ASD may proceed through these stages differently than their typically developing peers, use the stages below as a guide so that you can be better prepared to support your child through the career development process.

Stage 1: Growth Stage
Fantasy Substage (0 and 10 years)
During this stage, imagination and play often revolves around work. Through play, children learn to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength (Ginsburg, 2007). However, for some of the children with whom we work, a little extra support may be needed during play activities.

You may find that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often participate better in activities that are constructive in nature. Constructive Play is characterized as manipulation of objects for the purpose of constructing or creating something (Rubin, 1984). During constructive play activities, children use materials to achieve a specific goal that requires transformation of objects into a new configuration. Activities that require children with ASD to build something (ex. blocks) or place items in a particular manner (ex. puzzles) may be more motivating and concrete than pretend play activities. When objects have a clearly defined “space” into which they belong or have a predictable function, you may find that children with autism will be more engaged and interested in participating. This is not to say that pretend play should not be introduced, you may just need to support this type of play and imagination a bit more. In addition, it is during this phase that we begin to ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Interest Substage (11 – 12 years)
At this stage of career development, children become aware of the variety of careers and begin to learn what different workers do. They also begin to identify with gender roles and often think of jobs in that way.

Capacity Substage (13 – 14 years)
During the early teen years, children begin to develop problem solving, planning and decision making skills and realize that not all jobs are the same. They also should be taking some responsibility for making their own career related decisions.

Stage 2: Exploration Stage
Tentative (15 – 17 years)
Adolescents at this stage start to become aware of their own ambitions and begin to develop tentative goals.

Transition (18 – 21 years)
Young adults are making their own career choices and learning the skills needed to obtain the desired job.

Trial (22 – 24 years)
Young adults obtain a job in their career of choice.

Levinson, E. and Palmer, E. (2005). Preparing Student with Disabilities for School-to-Work Transition and Post-school Life.

Article by: Stephanie Williams, MS, CCC-SLP

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