The role of informal networks in providingeffective work opportunities for people with an intellectual disability
Published on Jan 1, 2010
Being in paid employment is socially valued, and is linked to health, financial security and time use. Issues arising from a lack of occupational choice and control, and from diminished role partnerships are particularly problematic in the lives of people with an intellectual disability. Informal support networks are shown to influence work opportunities for people without disabilities, but their impact on the work experiences of people with disability has not been thoroughly explored. The experience of 'work' and preparation for work was explored with a group of four people with an intellectual disability (the participants) and the key members of their informal support networks (network members) in New South Wales, Australia. Network members and participants were interviewed and participant observations of work and other activities were undertaken. Data analysis included open, conceptual and thematic coding. Data analysis software assisted in managing the large datasets across multiple team members. The insight and actions of network members created and sustained the employment and support opportunities that effectively matched the needs and interests of the participants. Recommendations for future research are outlined.