Triveni Goswami Vernal
(Registered Special Educator: A64010)

In my series on Vocational Training for neuro-diverse individuals, I have previously written about Pre-Vocational Training, Vocational Assessment and the various Types of Vocational Training and Employment, and Provisions available for Vocational Training under the RPWD Act (2016). In my blog today, I would like to share resources on Self-Employment opportunities (that can be set up for a Neurodiverse individual or a Person with Disabilities, by their family/caregivers). I will be looking at a few opportunities in this blog and a few others, in my next blog.

1) CANDLE MAKING: Candle making can be a lucrative profession, especially during the festivities of Diwali and Christmas. But it must always be done under the careful supervision of an adult or a mentor, with all the safety precautions taken. There are various types of Candles that one can make—Soy wax candles, Gel candles, Paraffin wax candles etc

There are several online courses available on Candle making: is a website that caters to a lot of the raw materials required for candle making.

2) CHOCOLOATE MAKING: Chocolate making is also another skill that can be taught to an individual, under expert supervision. Since chocolate involves working with heat and melting, proper precautions need to be taken. Chocolate making also involves several steps. So, the individual may be involved in all the steps, from chopping the ingredients, to tempering, to pouring it in the moulds, unmoulding, wrapping it in foil, labelling and packaging. Or, the individual maybe involved partially in some of the steps that he or she might be most confident in. It is important to see where the individual’s interests lie and what he/she can do, with minimal assistance over time.

Online courses on Chocolate Making: has ingredients available for chocolate making

***Do check the validity of the information shared on the websites, before deciding to enrol in any of the courses***
There are certain things that need to be kept in mind before setting up a formal business. Till the time, it is just a hobby, one can perhaps sell via word of mouth, through social media but to establish a formal business venture, steps should be taken to apply for a Trade License, a GST registration, and a MSME Registration /Udyog Aadhar. Addition to these, for Chocolate Making, the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) Registration, is mandatory.
Thus, we see that the possibilities are endless, but one needs to choose a vocation that fits the individual’s needs and interests. In my subsequent blogs, I will be looking at Baking, Block Printing, Jewellery Making, Crafts, Art based merchandise etc., as options for Self-Employment opportunities for Neurodiverse Individuals.



Author Triveni Goswami Vernal

Triveni Goswami Vernal is an Autism advocate, registered Special Educator (CRR A64010) and an Independent Researcher. Her areas of interest include Autism, Disability Rights, Gender, Art and Northeast studies. She is a mum to an 12 year old on the Autism Spectrum.

The creative representation for this blog is done by artist Kabir Vernal



-Triveni Goswami Vernal
Registered Special Educator (A64010)

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016, gave recognition to 21 disabilities namely Blindness, Low Vision, Leprosy Cured persons, Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing), Locomotor Disability, Dwarfism, Intellectual Disability, Mental Illness, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Chronic Neurological conditions, Specific Learning Disabilities, Multiple Sclerosis, Speech and Language disability, Thalassemia, Hemophilia, Sickle Cell disease, Multiple Disabilities including Deafblindness, Acid Attack Victim, and Parkinson’s Disease. Although the Act was welcomed with open arms, and there were huge expectations from it, even after 7 years, there are huge gaps in the implementation of the provisions.

Chapter IV of the RPWD Act, “Skill Development and Employment” (, lists down the following provisions:

19. Vocational training and self- employment

(1) The appropriate Government shall formulate schemes and programmes including provision of loans at concessional rates to facilitate and support employment of persons with disabilities especially for their vocational training and self-employment.
(2) The schemes and programmes referred to in sub-section (1) shall provide for—
(a) inclusion of person with disability in all mainstream formal and non-formal vocational and skill training schemes and programmes;
(b) to ensure that a person with disability has adequate support and facilities to avail specific training;
(c) exclusive skill training programmes for persons with disabilities with active links with the market, for those with developmental, intellectual, multiple disabilities and autism;
(d) loans at concessional rates including that of microcredit;
(e) marketing the products made by persons with disabilities; and
(f ) maintenance of disaggregated data on the progress made in the skill training and self-employment, including persons with disabilities.

20. Non-discrimination in employment

(1) No Government establishment shall discriminate against any person with disability in any matter relating to employment:
Provided that the appropriate Government may, having regard to the type of work carried on in any establishment, by notification and subject to such conditions, if any, exempt any establishment from the provisions of this section.
(2) Every Government establishment shall provide reasonable accommodation and appropriate barrier free and conducive environment to employees with disability.
(3) No promotion shall be denied to a person merely on the ground of disability.
(4) No Government establishment shall dispense with or reduce in rank, an employee who acquires a disability during his or her service:
Provided that, if an employee after acquiring disability is not suitable for the post he was holding, shall be shifted to some other post with the same pay scale and service benefits:
Provided further that if it is not possible to adjust the employee against any post, he may be kept on a supernumerary post until a suitable post is available or he attains the age of superannuation, whichever is earlier.
(5) The appropriate Government may frame policies for posting and transfer of employees with disabilities.

21. Equal opportunity policy

(1) Every establishment shall notify equal opportunity policy detailing measures proposed to be taken by it in pursuance of the provisions of this Chapter in the manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
(2) Every establishment shall register a copy of the said policy with the Chief Commissioner or the State Commissioner, as the case may be”.
The benchmark disability is 40%, that is only if an individual’s disability is 40% and above (certified by a certifying authority), will that individual be eligible for the benefits accorded under this Act.
The Skill Council for Persons with Disability under the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), states the following on its website, “In compliance with a specific provision in the National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, Skill Council for Persons with Disability (SCPwD) was incepted as a National Body in October 2015 to fulfil the mission of mainstreaming ‘Persons with Disability’(PwD) through skill training to enable them to earn a livelihood and lead a life of dignity in the mainstream society and in turn contribute to growing economy of the country.
Skill training is imparted at accredited training centres through trained and certified trainers. Trainers are trained on the NSQC (National Skills Qualifications Committee) approved job roles aligned for a specific disability. Trainers are also certified on disability orientation and sensitization.”
While this seems like a laudable effort to create a standardized system of delivering vocational training to PWDs, how efficiently it translates to a workable system, in implementation, remains to be seen. Previously, several training programs on various vocations, were provided for parents and caregivers, by institutes like NIEPID. But with this new system, training programs are not that easily accessible to the parents/caregivers, unless it is done via an Institute that has access to those training programs.
For example, the document for the National Occupational Standards (Occupational Standards which apply to the Indian context) for Hand Block Printer and Carpet ( lists out certain basic pre-requisites, such as, Basic literacy and Numeracy, Minimum Job Entry age of 15 yrs, Training in Hand Block Printing and Quality Appraisal etc. In this way, there is a sector wise distribution of vocational training that is available. But the biggest roadblock to this is, that not all organizations or institutes may have the trained trainers on the National Occupational Standards for all the skills listed on their website, and may have only few trainers available. So, the options available become limited. The entire list of Sector specific skills available are as follows: (one can click on the given sector to access its National Occupational Standards and the Model Curriculum).
Thus, we see that there are several provisions listed under the RPWD Act 2016 and especially, the Skill Council for Persons with Disability but what remains to be seen is how well they are put into action and implemented on the ground.


Author Triveni Goswami Vernal

Triveni Goswami Vernal is an Autism advocate, registered Special Educator (CRR A64010) and an Independent Researcher. Her areas of interest include Autism, Disability Rights, Gender, Art and Northeast studies. She is a mum to an 12 year old on the Autism Spectrum.

The creative representation for this blog is done by artist Kabir Vernal

“Vase of Colourful Flowers “
Kabir Vernal
Acrylic on Canvas
4 inch x 4 inch canvas



Triveni Goswami Vernal,
(Registered Special Educator: CRR A64010)

In my previous blogs, I had written about PRE-VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND AUTISM, Transition to Vocational Skills and had provided a brief overview of VAPS (Vocational Assessment and Programming System), a Vocational Assessment tool developed by NIMH, in the blog VOCATIONAL ASSESSMENT AND TRANSITION TO VOCATIONAL TRAINING.

In today’s blog, I will be writing about the various kinds of vocational employment available for individuals with disabilities, in the Indian context— Open Employment, Sheltered Employment and Self-Employment.

1) Open Employment: It refers to an inclusive work environment, where both neurotypical and neurodiverse individuals work together. The work profile for the neurodiverse individuals may include routine, repetitive work that they may enjoy doing and the chances of the occurrence of errors, is also less. For example, housekeeping jobs in a hotel (for eg., Lemon Tree Hotels in India employs neurodiverse individuals), jobs at chains like KFC etc., where the interface with customers is low and the individual can be employed to assemble an order, in the back end.
2) Sheltered Employment: This kind of employment is one of the most sought-after employments. It refers to a work environment, where individuals are first imparted training and then once they reach a satisfactory degree of training, the individuals are employed within the same work setting. For example, employment in a factory to assemble parts or pack products, offset printing, carpentry etc. The sheltered environment provides constant supervision and feedback to the individual.
3) Self-Employment: If the family /caregivers have the desired resources, they can also set up an independent work employment setting for the neurodiverse individual. This can take diverse forms, depending on the training that the individual has been imparted. In such a work setting, while the neurodiverse individual can do the designated task at hand, he or she will have to be amply supported by other individuals. For example, if the neurodiverse individual is imparted training on a particular skill, such as block printing and a business is set up to market the merchandise based on that skill, the other aspects of the business can be handled by the rest of the family members/people can be hired for the same. The exact nature of the employment will be largely shaped by the abilities of the neurodiverse individual to carry out the tasks at hand. Small scale enterprises are an example of this. Some options are—candle making, pottery making, art-based merchandising, block printing, handmade paper making, dry food manufacturing (with FSSAI certification), jewellery making, educational resources, handmade crafts etc.

Thus, we see the various forms that vocational employment can take, for neurodiverse individuals, in India. In my subsequent blogs, I will focus on the provisions for employment under the RPWD Act 2016, the various vocational skills available for Vocational Training under the Skill Council for Persons with Disability (a part of National Skill Development Corporation), and also focus on various self-employment options.

RESOURCES AND REFERENCES:,to%20an%20individual%20disabled%20person.,to%20employment%20or%20self%2Demployment.

Author Triveni Goswami Vernal

Triveni Goswami Vernal is an Autism advocate, registered Special Educator (CRR A64010) and an Independent Researcher. Her areas of interest include Autism, Disability Rights, Gender, Art and Northeast studies. She is a mum to an 11 year old on the Autism Spectrum.



Triveni Goswami Vernal
(Registered Special Educator A64010)

In my previous blog, I had written about Pre-Vocational skills and how they can be introduced to the individuals via various activities at home (household chores, socio-emotional skills, functional academics, time management skills etc). In this blog, I will write about Vocational Assessment and the transition to Vocational Training.

Vocational Training essentially tries to develop “work readiness” skills in an individual. In order to assess, whether an individual qualifies for employment, a vocational assessment has to be made. The assessment should gather information on the individual’s background, educational requirements, pre-requisite skills for the job at the hand etc. The assessment should be able to capture the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, ability to work in a group setting or not, ability to follow instructions, maintain personal hygiene, respect personal space etc.

The National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Disability (NIEPID), formerly NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), Secunderabad, developed a Vocational Assessment tool, the NIMH Vocational Assessment and Programming System for Persons with Mental Retardation (NIMH-VAPS).



The NIMH-VAPS was developed by NIMH in 1998, under the supervision of Dr. A.T. Thressia Kutty, who was a faculty member at NIMH. The objectives of this assessment were:
1) To provide information on work readiness skills
2) Identify suitable jobs in the community
3) Provide information on jobs selected.
4) Identify areas in which training is required.
5) Places emphasis on, on-the-job-training.
6) Evaluates work related skills and work behaviour
7) Targets employment for all trainees who are assessed.
8) Extends support for job retention.


VAPS includes multiple levels of assessment to be carried out—Trainee Assessment (that includes Generic Skills Assessment—Work Readiness Skills) and Community Assessment (that includes Job Identification –Specific Skills).

Very briefly, I would like to share what is included in the NIMH-VAPS:
1) Vocational Profile: This includes Identification Data of the individual (age, date of birth, marital status, level of Intellectual disability, guardian’s name and address etc),
2) Family history
3) Socio-economic status
4) Generic Readiness (Readiness skills—Personal skills, Communication, Social Behaviour, Safety, Mobility, Domestic behaviour, Functional Academics, Mobility and Hand Functioning, Occupational etc)
5) Associated Conditions: Epilepsy, Physical handicap, Psychiatric features, Visual Handicap, Hearing Handicap etc.
6) Training Received: Educational qualifications/Vocational training etc.
7) Daily Routine: The schedule followed by the individual throughout the day.
8) Experience in Employment
9) Possibilities of Employment: The extent to which the family can play a role etc.
10) Areas in which guidance is required.
11) Selection of suitable jobs (based on Generic Skills and Vocational Profile)
12) Any other remarks

Besides this, it has an extensive Generic Skills Assessment Check List (that includes detailed information on Personal skills, Communication, Social Behaviour, Safety, Mobility, Domestic behaviour, Functional Academics, Mobility and Hand Functioning, Occupational skills), followed by a section on the Generic Skills Assessment Data, a Job Analysis Format (based on Individualized Vocational Curriculum and Evaluation Procedure), Work Behaviour Assessment Checklist for Persons with Mental Retardation, followed by a section on Work Assessment Data and an Evaluation Report at the end to compile the data from the multiple levels of assessments.
Thus, we see how extensive the levels of assessments are, to gauge whether the individual has the pre-requisite work readiness skills, to actually fit in the job profile. The NIMH-VAPS is also a good example of how we must keep in mind that there must be a match between the work readiness skills in the individual, and the needs and requirements of the job, for an individual to actually be fit for the job profile.
In my next blog, I will be writing about the various types of Vocational Employment available.


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

Fireworks in Night Sky
Acrylic Painting on Watercolour Paper



-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