Guided Employment - Rights and Opportunities for People with Intellectual Disabilities

By Zhgur, Erna | The Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation, January 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Guided Employment - Rights and Opportunities for People with Intellectual Disabilities


Zhgur, Erna, The Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation


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Abstract

Introduction: People with intellectual disabilities (ID) are often excluded from the labour market and face many obstacles on their way to employment.

Aim: The main aim is giving the persons with ID a possibility to participate in occasional employment, providing them suitable work skills, sustainable knowledge and competencies, as well as suitable skills for more active life.

Materials and methods: We analysed 90 evaluation questionnaires (filled out by students, mentors, parents and craftsmen), during a 3-year project (September 2013 - October 2015). The Spearman Correlation Coefficient and Chi-square test were used for statistical data analysis.

Results: We determined the level of satisfaction expressed by parents, mentors and students, related to guided employment (χ^sup 2^ = 1,07; p > 0,05; χ^sup 2^ = 0,04; p > 0,05;χ^sup 2^ = 0,04; p > 0,05). Workshops were balanced with theoretical and practical content (χ^sup 2^ = 16,58; p < 0,05).

Mentors, parents, students and craftsmen expressed similar opinions in regards to the success of individual workshops (it depended on the type of workshop); mentors (χ^sup 2^ = 16,76; p < 0,05); parents (q = 0,99, p < 0,05); students (q = 0,55; p > 0,05), craftsmen (q = 0,79; p < 0,05). Craftsmen were willing to accept students with ID even without adapting the working conditions or state incentives (χ^sup 2^ = 3,34; p > 0,05).

Conclusion: Implementation of selected workshops, related to guided employment showed that employment of people with ID is possible under professional guidance of mentors.

Keywords: guided employment, students with intellectual disabilities, workshops

Introduction

In the modern society we can observe the growing process of integration of all population segments (1). The European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education in its documents highlights the role of inclusive education (2, 3). There is a growing need for integration in all levels of education (4), training and employment, as well as for cooperation between various institutions (5). In our case study this cooperation involved economic sectors and craft activities from the local environment of Vipava valley, which, due to its natural conditions (mild climate, not extremely hot summers, plains and hills), has good conditions for the development of agricultural and horticultural production. The project of occasional guided employment was designed by the institute Cirius Vipava, for the population educated in adapted, special education programme. The institute was founded 50 years ago with the aim to provide education and training for students with ID and motor disabilities. Additionally, the implementation of prescribed curriculum includes complementary medical-therapeutic activities and programmes (basic medical care, therapeutic programmes, hydrotherapy, hippotherapy, sensory-motor integration, art therapy).

Guided employment was elaborated for students with intellectual and multiple disabilities (motor disabilities, speech and language impairment, visual impairment, hearing impairment and other sensory and perceptual impairments), educated at the institute, who do not continue their education. For this reason, the institute Cirius elaborated the project of guided employment for students with intellectual and multiple disabilities, who are educated at the institute and have capacity to do something more (they need to have the encouragement and the opportunities provided by the immediate surroundings). In Slovenia, education of children with special needs (SN) is regulated by the Placement of Children with Special Needs Act (6). The current Slovenian labour legislation does not provide forms of employment for people with severe ID who cannot continue their schooling in short-term vocational programmes. The law defines people with ID as people with mild, moderate and severe ID (6). …

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