Range of factors impact on employment decisions by people with learning disabilities


The researchers in this USA study set out to find out about the factors that shape employment-related decisions of people with learning disabilities. Working with a co-researcher with learning disabilities throughout the whole research process, they carried out qualitative interviews with people themselves, their family members and employment-support professionals from four community provider organizations in Massachusetts.

They found a range of factors that impacted on employment-related decision-making, including the influence of family in formative years, the impact of school-based staff and the nature of early employment experiences, the culture in the community providers, the role of the job developer and a range of personal preferences.

The researchers look at each of these in turn and make a number of recommendations to ensure the opportunities offered by these influences can be seized by service providers to optimise employment choices and outcomes.

Choosing employment: factors that impact employment decisions for individuals with intellectual disability, Timmons J et al., in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 49, 4, 285-299.

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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