Tips on finding great jobs for people with cerebral palsy

Are you living with cerebral palsy and want to find a job?

With the level of disability caused by cerebral palsy varying widely between individuals, you may not face the same challenges as others living with cerebral palsy when it comes to finding a job. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find fulfilling and enjoyable work which suits your ability.

In this guide, you’ll find helpful information on how to find jobs for people with cerebral palsy. We’ve included tips on how to:

  • Find job opportunities
  • Write a persuasive resume
  • Prepare for job interviews
  • Manage in the workplace
  • Access support if you need it

Can I get a job with cerebral palsy?

It can be discouraging if you have been overlooked for jobs or not given a fair go. Living with symptoms such as pain, anxiety and loss of balance on a daily basis can make looking for a job feel daunting.

If the severity of your symptoms is manageable and you want to work, there is a job out there to suit you. There’s also support available to help you access training, find work and succeed in the workplace.

At APM, we help find jobs for people with cerebral palsy and we’ve seen first-hand how having a job can positively impact a life.

Working allows you to contribute to something valuable and can give you a sense of purpose. It can also help you gain more independence and improve your financial freedom.

What jobs can people with cerebral palsy do?

Suitable jobs will be different for everyone as cerebral palsy covers a wide range of movement disorders from mild to severe.

For people with diplegia whose legs are affected, using their hands for jobs like typing and answering phone calls is not a problem. Others may have one arm affected but can move around freely and complete many tasks without trouble.

People with hemiplegia and quadriplegia may be more limited physically but are still able to perform a wide range of intellectual and creative job roles. Workplace adjustments and specialised equipment can also make jobs more accessible.

Before searching for jobs, take some time to think about which roles and workplaces are right for you. Consider:

  • What are your strengths? Whether you’re good with children, know how to make others smile or have a head for numbers – you should look for a role where you can use your strengths.
  • What do you know how to do? You may have qualifications, skills or knowledge that will help you succeed in certain roles. You may also need to gain further training to make you more employable.
  • What experience do you have? If you have worked or volunteered in previous roles, think about what worked for you and what was challenging. Also consider your general life experience – is there anything that would make you stand out as a job candidate?
  • What are your limitations? For many people with cerebral palsy, mobility issues and chronic pain can make it challenging to keep up with the demands of the workplace. However, there are workplaces out there where you can be supported to do your best work.

Adjustments such as flexible scheduling, unpaid leave and specialised equipment can help you overcome some of the barriers to work.

Job ideas for people with cerebral palsy

There is no one-size-fits-all list of jobs for people with cerebral palsy. But sometimes it can help to see where others have found success in the workplace.

Talking with a professional employment consultant can also help you discover employment opportunities you may not have considered.

Here are 8 job ideas to get you started.

1. Freelance writing - If you have a knack for writing, you might enjoy working as a freelance writer, whether that’s writing for other businesses or your own blog. Freelance work can usually be done from home, giving you the flexibility to manage pain and take breaks when needed.

2. Editing/proofreading - If you’re good at English grammar and spelling but don’t have the mobility for typing, you might do well as an editor or proof-reader. Usually these roles require you to catch grammar and spelling mistakes without major typing requirements.

3. Teaching - If you’re good with children and know how to explain concepts in an easy-to-understand way, you might like teaching. There are traditional teaching roles in schools but there are also more flexible roles such as tutoring and after school classes.

4. Grocery store worker - Working in a grocery store or department store might be a good fit for you if you like interacting with other people and have an eye for details. Read about how Caley found a sustainable job that he enjoys in the fresh produce department of Woolworths.

5. IT Support - If you’re good with computers and have strong problem solving skills, you could be a great IT support worker. You’d be responsible for making sure the computer network of an organisation runs smoothly.

6. Social worker - Do you have a passion for helping others? Social workers play a valuable role assisting members of the community. You could work with vulnerable children, elderly people or people with disability – just to name a few.

7. Accounting - Accountants help maintain a company’s financial records. The role is typically not physically demanding and would suit people who are good with numbers and pay attention to details.

8. Hospitality - Although many hospitality roles are physically involved, you might enjoy working in hospitality if you like interacting with others and working in vibrant settings. A supportive workplace can give you the flexibility you need to work at your own pace and take breaks as needed.

How to find jobs when you have cerebral palsy

There are many ways to find a job including:

  • Online job boards - Search for jobs on a range of websites such as Seek, Indeed, LinkedIn and JobSearch. Set up an email alert so that you know whenever a suitable job is posted.
  • Networking - Talk to the people you know and spread the word that you are looking for a job. You might be surprised what opportunities pop up.
  • Reaching out to companies - If there is a particular company you want to work for, try visiting the workplace in person and asking if they have any job openings. Even if they tell you to apply online, they might give you some helpful tips for your job application.
  • Disability Employment Services - Sometimes all it takes is a little help. APM’s Disability Employment Services program helps people living with injury, illness or disability find meaningful employment opportunities. We can also assist with writing resumes, preparing for interviews and getting support to succeed in your new job.

How to write a resume or CV

You should put your best self forward in your resume or curriculum vitae (CV). Include information about your education, qualifications, past experience and skills.

Don’t just send the same resume and cover letter into every job application. Instead, focus on the skills, strengths and qualities that make you an excellent candidate for the specific role.

Look at the requirements of the role and the skills listed in the job description. Tailor your resume to show the employer why you’re exactly what they’re looking for.

Get more tips from APM’s guide on how to write an effective resume and cover letter.

Best job interview tips

Job interviews can be daunting, but you will feel more confident when you take time to plan, prepare and practice.

  • Plan - Take note of your specific skills and experiences that are relevant to the position. Plan some real-life examples of how you demonstrated the qualities that make you a great candidate for the job.
  • Prepare - Research the position and the company. Prepare 2-3 questions to ask the interviewer about the job.
  • Practice - Look up common interview questions and practice giving succinct answers to them. Practice speaking in a clear and confident voice.

For more information, read APM’s expert interview tips.

Managing in the workplace with cerebral palsy

Navigating the workplace can be daunting when dealing with mobility issues and chronic pain. It’s natural to feel anxious or overwhelmed in the workplace at times.

You don’t have to manage on your own. Support is available to help you stay in your job and feel confident about handling your responsibilities.

At APM, we work closely with people like you and their employers to find workplace solutions that benefit everyone.

This could include:

  • Specially designed computers or other equipment that enable you to do your job well
  • Accessible buildings and workspaces
  • Flexible hours and days off for pain management and medical appointments
  • Remote work

We understand that everyone is different when it comes to workplace needs. Our approach is personal and tailored so you can find the right solutions for you.

Need help finding a job? APM is here for you.

If you are finding it challenging to get work, you’re not alone. Every week we help thousands of jobseekers find meaningful employment. We believe there’s a job out there for you too.

When you register for the Disability Employment Services program at APM, we can help you with:

  • Finding employment opportunities
  • Writing job applications and resumes
  • Preparing for job interviews
  • Accessing training
  • Workplace support and adjustments

Ready to get moving on your journey towards employment? Let’s get to work.