The Working Well with a Disability Program

Working Well with a Disability is a six-week peer-facilitated workshop that builds on the content of Living Well and considers health in the context of employment.  Participants in the workshop learn the skills to maintain life balance, manage stress, and improve their health in support of looking for or maintaining employment.

People who participate in the workshop report:

  • Improved health and capacity to work.
  • Enhanced peer support and less isolation.
  • Appreciation for the supportive peer community developed during the workshop.
  • Lasting friendships.

The Working Well With a Disability workshop follows a workbook with seven chapters:

Chapter One: Working for Your Values

Chapter one introduces participants to the idea that each of us has a unique set of physical, intellectual, spiritual, social, and emotional values that make up overall life quality.  Participants learn how their daily activities or the way they spend time contributes (or does not contribute) to the things they value.

Chapter Two: The Great Balancing Act

In Chapter Two, participants learn about the concept of life balance and that individuals who lead balanced lives experience greater health.  This workshop helps individuals develop the problem-solving skills they need to support activities that contribute to personal values and life balance.

Chapter Three: Stress and Working Well

Stress management is important for health and for seeking and maintaining employment.  In this chapter, participants learn to manage stress by changing their thought patterns and practicing relaxation techniques.

Chapter Four:The Power of Advocacy

Clear communication is fundamental to effective workplace advocacy.  During this section of the workshop, participants learn the skills to develop and deliver clear messages while also learning a step-by-step advocacy process that can be used in both the workplace and beyond.

Chapter Five: Balance through Physical Activity

Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  This chapter motivates participants to make simple life changes to include physical activity as part of a daily routine. The workbook provides suggestions and resources for becoming more physically active as well as ideas for incorporating exercise into a work schedule.

Chapter Six: Eating Well to Live Well

Using United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPlate nutrition guidelines participants learn to make healthier food choices and to monitor daily food intake. They also learn strategies for healthy eating on the go, packing healthy lunches, the dos and don’ts when eating out, and eating healthy on a tight budget.

Chapter Seven:  Maintaining a Healthy Balance

This chapter focuses on developing strategies to maintain the lifestyle changes and life balance activities participants began working on during the workshop.  Graduates of the program are encouraged to maintain the peer relationships they developed during the workshop as well as to continue reviewing and using the skills they learned.