-Triveni Goswami Vernal
(Registered Special Educator A64010)

Vocational Training involves imparting training to develop skills that will help individuals procure jobs in the future. In other words, Vocational Training refers to work-readiness skills. For most neuro-diverse individuals, the underlying theme shaping any kind of work with them, is independence. It could be as basic as independence in Activities of Daily Living (Toileting/ Cooking/ Hygiene etc) or being financially independent and living on one’s own.

Vocational Skills have some pre-requisites, referred to as Pre-vocational skills. They include the following:
1) Concept of Time: Individuals should understand how to read time (on a digital or analog device), be able to understand the various measurements of time (minutes/hours/half an hour/quarter to/quarter past) and make an estimation of what a specific measurement of time actually translates into.
2) Literacy Skills: The individuals should have basic literacy skills—knowledge of the alphabet, write/type their names, write/type the names of the parents/caregivers, recognize and write/type the Phone numbers, home address etc. Teaching the child to type/help them to use an AAC device for communication, is very important.
3) Life skills: Ability to dial the number of the parent/caregiver, Ask for help (verbally/through sign language/AAC device /by writing it down) etc. Have a sense of direction, to make their way around, if they lose their way etc.
4) Numeracy skills (addition/subtraction): Basic understanding of addition and subtraction.
5) Concept of Money and monetary transactions: Understand the concept of Money and how transactions take place.
6) Personal Hygiene: Develop the ability to take care of themselves—independent toileting skills, bathe independently, dress on their own, groom themselves etc.
7) Expected behaviour in a social setting: Individuals may have to be trained to work with others in a group setting, listen to instructions, follow instructions, the concept of privacy (no touching genitals etc) and respect the personal space of others etc.
8) Fine motor and Gross Motor skills: The individuals may have to be trained in fine motor and gross motor skills, such that they are able to carry out various work- related tasks in the future.

Pre-Vocational Activities may include:

1) Household Chores: Making the bed, Watering the plants, Sweeping/Mopping the floor, Dusting, Folding Laundry etc.
2) Kitchen Skills: Washing the dishes, Cutting/Peeling Fruits and Vegetables, Cooking, Laying the table etc.
3) Developing Socio-Emotional Skills: This may involve teaching the individual, emotions, peer interaction, “perspective taking”, problem solving, developing inferences, making choices etc.
4) Time Management Skills
The individuals need not be perfect in any of these activities. The idea is to introduce these activities little by little, such that they can gain more independence, over time.

In my subsequent blogs, I will write about the Transition to Vocational Skills, the kinds of Vocational Assessments that are available and the various types of employments that can be created for neurodiverse individuals (Supported Employment/Open Employment/Sheltered Employment and Self-Employment). I will also write about the kind of avenues that can be worked upon to create Self Employment for the individual (with the help of the family/caregivers).

References & Resources:
Author Triveni Goswami Vernal

The author has a Professional Development Certificate in Dyscalculia (Decoding Math: Foundation course), Lord Math Education, Sep-Oct, 2023 and is also Certified in Dyslexia Teacher Training, Learning Disorders, OG Phonics, Ripples Centre for Enhanced Learning, 2019.

Artwork by artist Kabir Vernal