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Recommendations to Improve Transition Outcomes for Students with Deaf-Blindness and Additional Disabilities


Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act

The ABLE Act, passed in 2014, allows individuals who have incurred a significant disability before age 26 to establish ABLE savings accounts for disability-related expenditures without affecting their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other public benefits. (1) For more information, visit Road Map to Enrollment.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

ADA Title II regulations require public entities to “administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to meet the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.” An integrated setting is an environment that “enables individuals with disabilities to interact with nondisabled persons to the fullest extent possible.” (2) This regulation also applies to vocational service providers, thus protecting the rights of youth and adults with disabilities to receive training towards employment in competitive and integrated settings. (3)

Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE)

CIE is employment that offers competitive compensation in an integrated environment. Employees with disabilities perform tasks equal to nondisabled peers in settings where most employees do not exhibit disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are provided and employees with disabilities are paid directly from the employer at a rate of minimum wage or higher, with room for advancement. (4)

Customized Employment

Customized employment is competitive integrated employment for individuals with significant disabilities. It’s based on an individualized determination of strengths, needs, and interests and is designed to match the specific abilities of a job seeker with the business needs of an employer. (4) 


Discovery is a process that gets to know job seekers as deeply as possible. It provides a foundation for developing customized jobs for individuals with significant disabilities. The fundamental question is, “Who is this person?” The information gathered is used to determine conditions they will need to be successful, match their interests to the job market, and identify contributions they can offer to potential employers. (5) 

Employment First

Employment First is framework that encourages employment in an integrated community as the priority placement for job seekers with disabilities. (6) Initiatives vary by state. Visit this map for information about Employment First in your state. 

Center for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) Final Settings Rule

The Final Settings Rule ensures that services for persons with disabilities paid for by Home and Community Based Waivers take place in the most integrated or inclusive settings. States have until 2020 to comply with the rule. (7) 

Supported Employment

Supported employment is competitive employment in an integrated setting with ongoing vocational support services. It’s particularly beneficial for individuals for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred or has been interrupted or intermittent because of a severe disability. (8) 

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)

Pre-ETS provided by vocational rehabilitation agencies to students with disabilities to prepare them for competitive integrated employment. The five required areas of Pre-ETS include: job exploration counseling, work-based learning experiences, workplace readiness training, instruction in self-advocacy, and counseling on opportunities for enrollment in  comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs. (4) 

Section 511

Section 511 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act prohibits anyone under the age of 24 from being paid subminimum wage without proof that competitive integrated employment options were offered though Pre-ETS, vocational rehabilitation, or career counseling services. (9) 

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

WIOA legislation passed in 2014. It increases services for youth and adults with disabilities in the workplace and mandates collaboration between schools and vocational rehabilitation agencies. (10) 


  1. ABLE National Resource Center. (2018). What are ABLE accounts? Retrieved from
  2. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2005). The ADA: Your employment rights as an individual with a disability. Retrieved from
  3. U.S. Department of Justice. (2011). Statement of the Department of Justice on enforcement of the integration mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. Retrieved from
  4. U.S. Dept of Education. (2017). A transition guide to postsecondary education and employment for students and youth with disabilities. Retrieved from
  5. Callahan, M. (2012). The critical importance of customized employment and discovery. Retrieved from
  6. Association for People Supporting Employment First. (2015). APSE fact sheet: Employment First. Retrieved from
  7. Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. (2014). Final rule Medicaid HCBS. Retrieved from
  8. Wehman, P. (2012). Supported Employment: What is it? Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 37, 139-142.
  9. U.S. Department of Labor. (2016). Wage and hour division. Retrieved from
  10. U.S. Department of Labor. (2016). Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Retrieved from