Co-creating employment with Discovery

If you're exploring employment for a person with an intellectual disability, don't miss this workshop by Milton Tyree! Over 90 minutes, he explains the Discovery process: what it is, why it works, and how to get started. Download the resources underneath the video.

When it comes to work and careers, there is an abundance of opportunities for employment. But the current model of employment support services lacks the appropriate funding and training to follow a customised employment approach to develop jobs for people with intellectual disability and autism.   If adults with disability work at all, they are most likely to work in low-paid, part-time jobs, which are often insecure and offer no opportunity for growth. And they’ll most likely work exclusively alongside other people with disability in roles that don’t necessarily hold their interest or match their skills.

As a result of low societal expectations, people with intellectual disability are often trapped in economic uncertainty and hardship.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Across Australia, we’re seeing young people with intellectual disability embark on employment journeys that include

  • meaningful work experience to explore their interests
  • securing valued roles in open employment (in science labs, accounting firms, restaurants, hair salons, universities, and many other locations)
  • continuing their learning through online courses, traineeships, apprenticeships or University to build on their knowledge and improve their skills in areas that interest them
  • turning their interests and skills into income-generating micro-enterprises.

A collection of photos showing young people with disability in valued work roles including cash register operator, business owner, hairdresser's assistant, waiter, and research technician.

Plentiful, undeniable proof exists to show that people with disability can work and can make a valuable contribution to their workplaces and community.

Unfortunately, people with intellectual disability and autism often have a very limited experience of the world. This means it can be harder for the person and those around them to be able to

  • identify what lights the person up
  • know where their interests lie
  • know what they might contribute to the world of work.

That’s where the process of Discovery becomes important.

Discovery is an evidence-based and widely-used approach that helps a person with disability

  • uncover their potential skills, interests, and workplace conditions that help them to thrive and
  • share this knowledge with their family and supporters.

It’s a process that reveals employable skills that can then be matched to the needs of a workplace.

Through Discovery, people with intellectual disability are able to take on workplace roles that are highly valued and that pay at least Award wages.

And it’s a process that can start at any age (the earlier, the better, but it’s never too late).

About this workshop

This webinar was presented by Milton Tyree, a highly-respected leader in the area of Customised Employment.

You will learn

  • about the benefits of starting the employment process with the person, not the job
  • how to discover any person’s interests and potential workplace contributions – even if they communicate without words
  • about the importance of challenging conventional wisdom when it comes to disability employment
  • how to translate everyday life activities into employable traits
  • how to move from Discovery towards paid employment.

This webinar is essential viewing for anyone who wants to help a person with intellectual disability or autism enjoy all the benefits of being gainfully employed, including

  • Family members
  • Friends and colleagues
  • Educators and careers professionals
  • Employment service providers
  • Job supporters


Register to attend the free live discussion sessions about Discovery

To help families implement what they’ve learned from this workshop, we’re running two live discussion sessions. They’re free to attend, but you must register.

The sessions will be held online on

  • Thursday, 16 March, from 12:00 to 2:00 pm AEDT
  • Thursday, 6 April, from 12:00 to 2:00 pm AEST

These discussions are designed for families who have watched the webinar, Co-creating employment with Discovery. Please plan to attend both sessions. The sessions will not be recorded.

Please note that these sessions are for families only. If you are a professional who has an interest in this topic, please reach out to Fiona at before registering for these sessions.

Register for the discussion sessions here.


Download the resources mentioned in this video.

Download the presentation slides (PDF, 5MB)

Download the editable Discovery Record (Word, 47 KB)

Download an example of the Discovery Workbook in action (PDF, 112 KB)

Download the notes from the breakout room conversations (PDF, 69 KB)

Download the notes from the breakout room conversations (Word doc, 16 KB)

Your opportunity to learn about Social Role Valorisation

We’re hosting a two-day workshop about Social Role Valorisation (SRV) in Canberra in March. It’s called Towards a Better Life and will be presented by John Armstrong. Learn more and register here.

About Milton Tyree

Portrait of Milton TyreeMilton, who is based in the US, has professional and personal experience over decades of helping people with disabilities have strong work roles. He uses the principles of SRV (Social Role Valorisation) as a foundation for his work.

Milton helps individuals and organisations include, involve, and appreciate people who are so often unknown, misunderstood, and rejected.

In 2013, Milton received The Marc Gold Award for Employment. This award is presented annually to an individual who has significantly contributed to increasing access to community and integrated employment for people with significant disabilities.

Milton is a Project Associate for the University of Kentucky. He owns Milton Tyree Employment Consulting LLC.