Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Lindsay, S., Adams, T., McDougall, C., & Sanford, R. (2012). Skill development in an employment-training program for adolescents with disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation, 34 (3), 228-237.
Title:  Skill development in an employment-training program for adolescents with disabilities
Authors:  Lindsay, S., Adams, T., McDougall, C., & Sanford, R.
Year:  2012
Journal/Publication:  Disability and Rehabilitation
Publisher:  informa healthcare
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Qualitative research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Developing skills and work experience during high school can have a positive impact on future employment. Youth with disabilities may experience problems with obtaining employment due to a lack of marketable skills. Other barriers may include: discrimination, lack of accommodations and limited access to high quality employment development activities during high school.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to gather information about the skills youth with disabilities gained while participating in an employment training program and use that knowledge to inform future program development.The youth employment training program is conducted through a life skills program at a children's hospital.
Study sample:  The study sample included 18 youth with disabilities, 9 males and 9 females, who were between the ages of 15 to 21 years, and who had completed an employment training program. The main diagnosis of the participants was cerebral palsy. The majority or 12 individuals used some type of assistive device for mobility. None of the participants had ever been employed, however, 10 reported either volunteer work or co-op experience.
Control or comparison condition:  There was not control of comparison condition.
Data collection and analysis:  Youth completed a brief questionnaire prior to an in-depth interview. Self and staff assessments conducted during the program were also used. Parents also competed a questionnaire about the skills their son or daughter had learned. An inductive process of thematic analysis was use to analyze recorded and transcribed interview data. The information was analyzed using a qualitative data analysis software program, NVIVO. Codes were reviewed and advanced level coding was conducted to develop categories and identify themes. An audit trail was conducted to ensure codes and themes were relevant. Code-recode, peer examination, and member checking were performed to establish reliability of the findings.
Findings:  All youth indicated enjoying the program. A wide variety of social and communication skills were reportedly developed. Self confidence and self awareness was also enhanced. The majority reported being na├»ve about the challenges that may be faced when seeking employment. Some suggestions about improving the program included: extending the length of the program, more coaching or establishing a mentor after completion of the program and obtaining information about business that hire people with disabilities.
Conclusions:  Youth with disabilities want to work and believed their skills improved in some areas as a result of participating in an employment program. More research is needed to improve employment outcomes of youth with disabilities.

Disabilities served:  Cerebral palsy
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Transition-age youth (14 - 24)