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Transition from School to Competitive Employment: Illustrations of Competence for Two Young Women with Severe Mental Retardation

by Paul Wehman, Karen Gibson, Valerie Brooke, and Darlene Unger

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In this article, two young women with severe mental retardation obtained competitive employment and were supported through the use of an employment specialist and coworkers. Although neither woman had a history of work in paid employment, both were at a transition stage from public school and needed unique specialized assistance to procure and maintain employment. There are thousands of other women with severe mental disabilities who could benefit from the supports that were provided to these two individuals in the workplace. This article provides the process and design of such supports.