Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Lindstrom, L.E., Benz M.R., & Doren, B. (2004). Expanding career options for young women with learning disabilities. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 27 (43), 43-63.
Title:  Expanding career options for young women with learning disabilities
Authors:  Lindstrom, L.E., Benz M.R., & Doren, B.
Year:  2004
Journal/Publication:  Career Development for Exceptional Individuals
Publisher:  Hammill Institute on Disabilities
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported
Research design:  Case history review

Structured abstract:

Background:  Research indicates poor post school employment outcomes and limited career advancement opportunities for young women with disabilities. Individual and envrionmental barriers have culminated into limited career choices and post school employment outcomes. There has been very little resarch on the career decision process or variables that limit or facilitate career choice for this group.
Purpose:  The study examined barriers restricting career choices and strategies to facilitate or expand career choice for young women with learning disabilities.
Setting:  The study took place in multiple interveiw settins.
Study sample:  Participants were six young women with learning disabilities who resided a northwestern state. Three wre employed in traditonal (female dominated)occupations the other three were not. Earning ranged from $6.50 to $20.00 per hour.
Intervention:  The interventions were career exploration and counseling to improve employment outcomes for young women with learning disabilities.
Control or comparison condition:  The study did not include control or comparison conditions.
Data collection and analysis:  Case study methodology was used to analyze variables influencing career choices for young women with learning disabilities. Multiple sources of information wre used to confirm, elaborate and verify collected information. This included interviews with all participants and 28 key informants. Additionally, data was collected through on the job observations, field notes, and review of special education and vocational rehabilitation records. A multistep process was used in the first phase of analysis. Descriptive codes were developed based on literature, research questions and initial review of data. Next interview transcripts and field notes were coded following a common scheme. Then coded data and file review information were used to outline the career decision making process for each participant by examining varibles that impacted each participant's career choices. In the second phase a explanatory methods were used to explore and confirm findings for each participant. Explanatory matrices wre developed that allowed comparison of information on variables across participants. Cross case analysis led to identification and verification of influences on career decision.
Findings:  The following variables seemed to influence initial career choices and post school outcomes for participants: gender roles, disability limitations, family and childhood experiences, early work experiences and career exploration and counseling. Gender roles and socialization influenced career choices. Disability limitations restricted career choice. Family and childhood experiences influenced career choices. Early work experiences played a role in shaping career options as did career counseling and exploration. Regardless of the participants chosen occupation, the influences on career choices were similar. It was also evident that occupational choices were developed and refined over time.
Conclusions:  Gender roles and difficulties from disability restricted career choices. Exposure to work through family experiences and employment in high school expanded career aspirations.

Disabilities served:  Learning disabilities