Patterns of employment and independent living of adult graduates with learning disabilities and mental retardation of an inclusionary high school vocational program
|Publication||Research in Developmental Disabilities|
Although employment rates for individuals with disabilities may be improving, improvement is needed. The picture for independent living is not much better. Studies have indicated that most adults with disabilities remain both single and living with their parents. They are isolated socially with few friends or meaningful relationships. Schools and school programs that facilitate the transition to adult life are needed.
The purpose of this study was to examine the employment careers of graduates in an inclusionary vocational and technology high school.
The setting for the study was an inclusionary vocational/technical high school in Ohio.
Thirty six students participated in the study. Nineteen individuals (11 males and 8 females) had been diagnosed with mild mental retardation and 17 (10 males and 7 females) with a specific learning disability by a school psychologist. All had been enrolled in full time programs for students with special needs and had an Individual education plan on file. During the last two years of high school they attended high school for two or three periods then spent the remainder of the day at a Vocational/Technology Center. Students were aged between 20 to 25 years. The majority or 26 of the students were caucasians. The subjects had been enrolled in a variety of vocational programs while attending the vocational tech center. On average, participants had exited or graduated from high school and the vocational center within the last five years at the time of the study.
A sixteen item questionnaire was used to learn more about participants' employment and living situation. Participants were contacted by telephone. After answering each question, the participant was given the opportunity to make comments. Chi-square analysis was used to determine statistical differences between the two groups.
The study included a comparison group.
Overall, the majority or 81% of the participants were employed. However, only 68% of individuals with mild mental retardation were employed as compared to 94% of those with learning disabilities. This was a significant statistical difference. There was no differences related to gender or the program the student attended at the vocational technical center. More participants with learning disabilities were employed in skilled jobs than those with mild mental retardation. Those individuals were working in service industry and factory jobs.
Overall over 81% of the graduates were employed. However, this is primarily accounted for by employment of students with specific learning disabilities (94%) as opposed to respondents with mild mental retardation (68%). However, even when this variance between the two disability types is accounted for, even the students with mild mental retardation are employed at a higher rate than other figures reported in earlier studies.
|Disabilities||Intellectual disabilities | Specific learning disabilities|
|Populations||Black / African American | White / Caucasian | Male & Female|
|NIDILRR Funded||Not Reported|