Self-employment is as much an option for work experience and as a post-school outcome for students with more significant support needs as wage employment. Through self-employment an IEP team may find that they can better match the individual’s ideal conditions of employment and support needs which were identified during the Discovery process than they can through typical wage employment. Self-employment is a growing trend for all people, especially in more rural areas where limited job opportunities exist for everyone (Griffin & Hammis, in press). The strategies and principals intrinsic to self-employment also apply to a supported self-employment model. Students or adults do not need to be able to perform all components of owning and running their own business for self-employment to be considered a feasible option for them. Partial participation with needed ongoing supports for the life of the job is fine.
Lance and his brother combined their PASS plans to buy a van for their business. Vocational Rehabiltation funds made the van accessible and funded some of the initial job coaching. While Lance was still in school, the school provided a para professional as a job coach and driver of Lance’s van. Now that Lance has graduated his family provides supports for his business. The plan for long-term supports is that as the business grows, Lance could look for another person to invest as a partner or an employee. Part of this person’s job responsibilities would be to provide supports to Lance (including on-the-job support, driving the van, and some personal care), manage the business and assist with marketing and expansion of the business
Choosing Self-Employment [PDF], a monograph by Ellen Condon and Kim Brown
"Finding the Passion" , article by Cary Griffin and Dave Hammis
Griffin, C. & Hammis, D. (2003). Making self-employment
work for people with disabilities. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing
Rural Factsheet - Property Essential for Self-Support (PESS) by Marsha Katz