I am volunteering at a center for those with Down syndrome,and one of our projects is to research if there's any remote jobs for people with the condition.

It will not only boost their self-confidence, but also will help them make a living once their parents/carers are gone (they are usually placed in a special institution if they lack a carer).

My idea is to open a profile on UpWork for each of them so they can start looking for potential clients.

Now, I need some ideas. What jobs can be done remotely by people with Down syndrome?

For those who do not know about the condition, they are physically perfectly fine, but slower in thinking, as it's a mild intellectual disability.

For example, they can play chess better than me, but it takes more time for them to think of the next move.

3 Answers 3



Any job that can be done remotely is doable by someone with a mental disability, unless that disability is so severe that they cannot function adequately enough for the job*, or where they'd put someone else at risk of harm (that decision is up to their doctor).

The Ideal Situation

In the UK, it's a requirement of the Equality Act and Disability Act that businesses accommodate for people with disabilities (by way of special equipment, and so on). I've done quite a bit of work with mental healthcare specialists both in regular work and while freelancing for private mental healthcare institutions contracted out by the NHS, and the vast majority of businesses don't actually adequately provide for someone with a mental illness of any description.

Introverts and those who are slower have the potential to benefit extremely well from remote working, as they don't have people pushing them to do stuff right this second, avoiding situations that usually put them into panic mode.

The Reality

From personal experience, though, unless that person has constant contact with other people, it can end up seriously damaging them. If anyone with a mental illness wants to remote work, seriously consider having a schedule you/they stick to that involves going outside and doing other activities. I have been there before. It's not good.

Provided they have adequate care, remote working shouldn't be an issue. Just make sure they are well-supported in doing so; UpWork and so on are very unforgiving places for those less experienced, and I would strongly recommend remote working for a company as an employee, not a contractor, due to the protection offered by law for disabled persons.

* Yes, I am aware this is dodging the question slightly and is extremely subjective.

  • Thanks Amelia. The remote freelancing came up after no company here will ever employ them. We do not have such laws. All they can do here is make Xmas cards and sell them on the street. So services like Odesk and Elance are the only where we can try taking care that they are not employed for any rush job.
    – Peter MV
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 12:14
  • @PeterMV that sounds pretty bad. Ouch.
    – Amelia
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 12:44

Most software projects don't really need your physical presence if you think about it.

For example a web developer just need an FTP access to start working.

It wouldn't matter if the person behind the screen is disable or not as long as they can get the job done. And Clients don't necessary need to know that.

  • Thanks. However, I don't think that they can do any programming work.
    – Peter MV
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 10:20
  • 1
    @PeterMV I didnt say they could do anything, but you can find easier task like graphic design, does not have to be programming at all. When I say software I meant projects that don't involve hardware like a network cabling project for instance
    – meda
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 13:39
  • Oh, sorry, I misunderstood you. You have a good point - they can indeed use software.
    – Peter MV
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 13:52

As with all humans, everyone has varying degrees of intellect and abilities and you would need to evaluate based on an individuals circumstances.

I don't think it would be necessary to hide the fact that an applicant has a disability if they can prove they have experience in the field they choose to pursue.

If you are working with a group of people you could evaluate individual abilities, see if there are similar skills and empower them to work together at something.

With the right backing and leadership they could probably start their own business that caters to the skills and needs of those with disabilities.

If there are limitations such as extra time needed listed with full disclosure it would invite friendly business and weed out those that may have an issue under poor circumstances.

Potential workers also need to value their time to match the level of skills. If they decrease the price of a project to reflect the extra time needed for a project it may attract the attention of a bargain hunter.

But again it totally depends on the skill set of the people you are involved with.

If they make and sell handmade items why not set up a website and promote business that way? Expecially if someone in your group has that skill set or the ability to learn Joomla or an open source store front like PrestaShop. I believe etsy or Ebay could even be an option.

  • Thanks. Only to comment to the last part, I am not leading their sale, there are persons for that as well. I am trying to think of an Extra so they gain more profit. I will pass Etsy and Ebay idea to card guys.
    – Peter MV
    Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 11:34

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