Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Brown, L., Shiraga, B., & Kessler, K. (2006). The quest for ordinary lives: The integrated post-school vocational functioning of fifty workers with significant disabilities. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31 (2), 93-121.
Title:  The quest for ordinary lives: The integrated post-school vocational functioning of fifty workers with significant disabilities
Authors:  Brown, L., Shiraga, B., & Kessler, K.
Year:  2006
Journal/Publication:  Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Publisher:  TASH Publishing
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Case history review

Structured abstract:

Background:  More individuals with significant disabilities are entering and exiting schools and outliving their parents than ever before. As these individuals age, many are presenting more longitudinal, complicated, and expensive difficulties than their chronological age peers (Bittles and Glasson, 2004).
Purpose:  The purposes of this study are to: (1) share information about the integrated vocational functioning of 50 adults with significant disabilities, (2( celebrate their vocational achievements, and (3) affirm the feasibility of integrated vocational functioning.
Setting:  All participants were clients of Community Work Services, an employment services program in Madison Wisconsin.
Study sample:  The 50 participants were assisted into integrated jobs prior to 2005. The sample included individuals with a variety of disabilities, including autism, intellectual disabilities, and cerebra palsy. All were at least 15 years out of high school.
Intervention:  The intervention was community-integrated employment utilizing a job coach and long-term support.
Control or comparison condition:  There was no comparison condition.
Data collection and analysis:  The data consisted of service records maintained by Community Work Services during the course of services. Additional information was collected from interviews with participants, family members, employers, and others.
Findings:  Job retention ranged from 2 months to 27 years and 6 months. Job changes occurred for a variety of reasons, but primarily to enhance opportunities and create better job matches. Work hours ranged from 6 to 30.5 hr/week, with an average of 20.15 hr/week. Hourly wages averaged $5.76, six cents above the prevailing minimum wage at the time of placement.
Conclusions:  The study findings provide evidence for the feasibility of integrated employment for individuals with severe disabilities in need of long-term employment supports.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Cerebral palsy
Cognitive / intellectual impairment
Developmental disabilities
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Interventions:  Accommodations
Co-worker supports
Job coach
Job restructuring
On-the-job training and support
Post-employment services
Outcomes:  Increase in tenure