Work is an important element in human dignity and a Down syndrome adult should work professionally when possible. Certain especially autonomous persons with a supportive family may work in an ordinary setting; but these cases are rare and things are not always simple as the workplace becomes ever more demanding.
As an adult your child can work either in an ordinary or a protected setting. The orientation depends on the CDAPH (Commission for the Rights and Autonomy of Disabled Persons); consult the French Labour Ministry website:http://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/etudes-recherche-statistiques-de,76/statistiques,78/les-travailleurs-handicapes,88/les-mots-des-travailleurs,250/commissions-des-droits-et-de-l,3347.html), which takes into account the advice of professionals caring for the young person. Working in an ordinary setting is very exceptional. It requires an adult’s long-term help and support and solid preparation on the part of the business. Most of these persons work in a protected setting, especially the ESATs (Work Assistance Establishments; consult the website Service-Public.fr :http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/F1654.xhtml). The workers there do packaging, restaurant services, gardening or other manual labour depending on the specialities offered by these centres.
For the future adult to find the work best suited for him, he must be helped from adolescence to know his preferences, to express them and to make choices. Starting from there, specialised educators can seek to develop his capacities and offer him workshops adapted to his desires and skills. Internships, towards the end of his time with the SIPFP (Section for professional initiation and pre-training; consulter the Legifrance website:http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCode.do;jsessionid=194F8D5B45191851D7CD5788AA793485.tpdjo09v_1?idSectionTA=LEGISCTA000006198705&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006074069&dateTexte=20120810), are usually very educational.
You must be aware of certain realities:
1) Work in an ESAT is sometimes very repetitive; there is no professional promotion possible and some may be disappointed after a few years.
2) Some ESATs favour economic efficiency over personal fulfilment, preferring to recruit faster workers; but if Down syndrome persons are not always very rapid they are often very meticulous in their work – advantageous for high quality work.
Some persons are not accepted by ESATs because they are not a good fit for the work offered- their behaviour isn’t right for teamwork, or they have not yet acquired the notion of productive work. It is important that they can nevertheless have a regular activity, in a day centre, for example. You need to know that often inactivity encourages regression.