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Stroke Smart Magazine

Fall 2009

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Finding Work
Where to Start When a New Job is Your Best Option

By Elaine Katz, MS, CCC-SLP

A 2006 study by the organization Different Strokes reported that 75 percent of 3,000 working-age stroke survivors polled wanted to return to work, but of those 48 percent did not feel fit enough. Whether you return to your current job after a stroke might depend on your health, a willing employer and your ability to perform necessary duties.

For some people, moving into a new job might be necessary. Here are some choices if you want to work, but returning to your current job is not an option.


Look beyond traditional job hunting and consider the advantages of networking — it might be the right solution for you. Here’s how:

  • Hiring decisions often are made through personal contacts.
  • Start with people in your own circle who you know well: family, close friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, clergy and counselors.
  • Get in touch with your contacts by phone or e-mail. Ask whether they know of a job opening within your community.
  • Ask if they can provide you a name of someone they think can help with your search. 

If you are shy about asking for help, use the Internet and professional networking Web sites such as LinkedIn, an online tool used by job hunters. Be sure to let others know you want to – and are ready to – return to work.

Informational Interviews

Moving into a different job or exploring a new career might also be your personal choice. Informational interviewing is an easy way to find out about job options.

Arrange to visit someone in a job you are interested in at his or her workplace. You can learn about the day-to-day tasks and the training or education that might be required. While there, you might also hear about possible job openings.

Seek Help

Many local groups can assist you with your job search:

  • Each state has an office that handles vocational rehabilitation to help people with disabilities find jobs and provide access to training, career development and assistive technology. Most states also have an Office of Disability Services, which can provide a list of local social service agencies that run employment-related programs.
  • Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are a national network that provide an array of services to people with disabilities and can assist you in finding other resources, such as accessible transportation and career fairs in your community.
  • Web sites that find jobs for people with disabilities, include accessibleemployment.org, a national job board that offers information for those who have experienced a stroke or other disabilities.
  • Disabilityinfo.gov is a federal Web site that provides information on nine different areas including employment, housing, training, education, and is a go-to source for state and local resources.

Networking, informational interviews and vocational rehabilitation can help stroke survivors be more confident as they consider returning to work and can be an important step to finding a meaningful new career. 

Employment Options

Job Listings

Employment information and networking sites


Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC-SP, is the vice president of Grant Programs and Special Initiatives at the Kessler Foundation. She holds a certificate of clinical competence in speech pathology from the American-Speech-Hearing Association. She received her master’s degree in speech pathology from Adelphi University and bachelor’s degree from Boston University in speech pathology and audiology.


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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

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