ERIC Number: ED410707
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Aug
Consumer and Family Perspectives on the Meaning of Work.
Fesko, Sheila; Freedman, Ruth
Research To Practice, Aug 1995
This qualitative study examined the perspectives of people with significant disabilities (N=23) and their family members about their overall employment experiences, outcomes, and expectations. Four focus groups were convened, two groups of people with significant disabilities and two groups of family members. Disabilities represented included mental retardation, physical and psychiatric disabilities, sensory impairments, and substance abuse. Key topics discussed in both consumer and family member focus groups included: (1) job outcomes/satisfaction (both groups indicated feeling productive and keeping busy were essential aspects of work); (2) obstacles to employment (disclosure of disability status, lack of appropriate services by state vocational rehabilitation agencies, and lack of appropriate job matches); (3) support at work (supportive role of job coaches and employers); (4) relationships at work (importance of feeling important); (5) goals and expectations (dead end jobs and plans to upgrade skills); and (6) family concerns (conflicts between encouraging independence and wanting to protect from harm). Implications for professionals working with individuals with disabilities include recognizing the importance of meaningful work in the lives of people with disabilities; addressing discrimination and stigma in the workplace; providing a variety of individualized supports on the job; and encouraging consumer and family involvement in the vocational rehabilitation system. (DB)
Descriptors: Adults, Attitudes, Disabilities, Employee Attitudes, Employment Experience, Employment Potential, Family Involvement, Focus Groups, Job Satisfaction, Needs Assessment, Qualitative Research, Supported Employment
Institute for Community Inclusion, Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA 02115.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.