Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  McNaughton, D., Light, J., & Arnold, K. (2002). Getting your wheel in the door: successful full-time employment experiences of individuals with cerebral palsy who use augmentative and alternative communication.. Augmentative and Alternative Communication,, 18 (2), 59-76.
Title:  Getting your wheel in the door: successful full-time employment experiences of individuals with cerebral palsy who use augmentative and alternative communication.
Authors:  McNaughton, D., Light, J., & Arnold, K.
Year:  2002
Journal/Publication:  Augmentative and Alternative Communication,
Publisher:  ISAAC
Full text:  http://mcn.ed.psu.edu/dbm/McN%20publications/McN_02_FT_Emp.pdf   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Qualitative research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Employment and independence go hand in hand however finding full-time employment is often difficult for individuals with disabilities. The experiences of individuals with severe disabilities that are competitively employed can be very insightful as to how to overcome the barriers and difficulties to finding employment. Insight into the employment experiences of individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) who use augmentative and assistive communication (AAC) is one area where light can be shed.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study is to gather information on the experiences of individuals with CP who use AAC and are competitively employed in community settings.
Study sample:  Eight individuals with CP who use AAC and were competitively employed participated in this study. All participants were male and aged from 30-57 years. Education ranged from some college credits to a doctoral degree.
Data collection and analysis:  Data was gathered through an online focus group that the 8 participants posted in at a rate and time that was convenient for them. Participants were asked to contribute to various topics and present differences of opinion in a non-critical matter. Coding was used to determine common themes that emerged.
Findings:  Factors that facilitated employed included appropriate levels of education and appropriate vocational experience. Government policies and assistive technology were identified as key to obtaining employment. Personal characteristics, supportive co-workers, assistance with personal care, and a supportive family were key for maintaining employment.
Conclusions:  This study is an important contribution to the body of literature on employment outcomes of individuals with CP. However the experiences of those working part time were not a part of this study.

Disabilities served:  Cerebral palsy