Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Hughes, C. and Avoke, S.K. (2010). The Elephant in the Room: Poverty, Disability, and Employment. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 35 (1), 5-14.
Title:  The Elephant in the Room: Poverty, Disability, and Employment
Authors:  Hughes, C. and Avoke, S.K.
Year:  2010
Journal/Publication:  Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Publisher:  TASH
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.2511/rpsd.35.1-2.5
Full text:  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2511/rpsd.35.1-2.5   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  After 40 years of legislation designed to improve education and post-education outcomes for students both with and without disabilities, a disproportionate number of adults with disabilities, especially those with experiences of poverty, are unemployed or underemployed.
Purpose:  The authors examine the source and extent of issues that lead to high poverty and unemployment rates of people with disabilities, focusing on those with severe disabilities and from culturally diverse backgrounds. They suggest that a source of the problem is the Unites States’ failure to acknowledge the extent and effects of poverty, and provide recommendations to address barriers resulting from the intersection of poverty, disability, and employment.
Setting:  United States
Findings:  The authors recommend 1) acknowledgment of the problem, 2) increased public awareness, 3) collaboration between disability and poverty researchers, 4) improved educational initiatives, 5) school accountability for post-school outcomes, 6) increased work experiences and social skill education for students, and 7), a universal definition of severe disabilities.
Conclusions:  The authors conclude that the first step toward finding a solution is to recognize that there is a problem. They encourage readers to expand their awareness of the intersection of poverty, disability, and employment and to share this information with others. In addition, they recommend collaborative efforts between federal and state policy makers, the business community, schools, adult services, and community partners.

Disabilities served:  Alcohol and drug abuse
Anxiety disorder
Arthritis
Autism / ASD
Bi-polar
Blindness
Burn
Cancer
Cerebral palsy
Cerebral vascular accident (stroke)
Chemical sensitivity
Chronic mental illness
Chronic pain
Cognitive decline / dementia
Cognitive / intellectual impairment
Deafness
Depression
Developmental disabilities
Diabetes
Down syndrome
Dual sensory impairment
Environmental
Hearing impairment
HIV / AIDS
Learning disabilities
Medical impairment
Mobility impairment
Multiple sclerosis
Muscular dystrophy
Obesity
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Orthopedic impairments
Personality disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Schizophrenia
Speech or language impairment
Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Visual impairment
Severe physical disability
Multiple disabilities
Populations served:  Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Consumers receiving federal financial assistance through TANF
SSI and SSDI recipients