Parents and siblings provide a variety of supports for their family members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Learn more about how these families give and get support, including how cultural background plays in, and how provider agencies can work with family members.
Read the brief here. We conducted an extended search of trainings provided by state agencies and service providers that are targeted towards families. Trainings in the form of written material (handbooks, brochures and computer-based courses) or given in person by service professionals, peers and others have been found to raise expectations that family members with IDD can become employed in their communities.
Attendees learned how families have modeled employment and advocated for their children to have early work experiences similar to those of their peers without disabilities. Attendees heard how the service system and families have tried to engage across language barriers and socioeconomic differences.
Youth with intellectual disabilities often face challenges when preparing to leave school settings to move into life in their communities. These young adults may experience high rates of unemployment, increased rates of poverty, and involvement in service systems that do not have the resources needed to provide quality services for all who need them.
Watch the archived webinar here...Researchers Judith Gross (University of Kansas) and Grace Francis (George Mason University) work intensively with Hispanic families in rural Kansas. They talked about the importance of engaging culturally and linguistically diverse families in services for their children with IDD. Judith and Grace discussed the barriers these families face, and offered strategies for professionals to help ensure full access to services.
Family engagement is key to successful employment and life planning, with parents and siblings often leading their family members with disabilities on the path to employment through their own role modeling and encouragement. Despite what literature says about the true importance of family engagement, many parents lack the knowledge needed to meaningfully participate in employment planning. One critical gap is thinking about financial well-being for their family member with a disability.
Job developers can influence decision-making during the job search and placement process. For a study exploring the employment decisions of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD), researchers interviewed 16 individuals with IDD, their family members, and professionals involved in their job search. Participants were asked what factors, circumstances, or people affected their decisions about work. The job developer was consistently named the most influential person in the job-search process.
With the persistently low competitive employment rate for working-age people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), a main focus area for the field of disability research has been on the interaction between the individual and the service system. Yet we know much less about the interaction between systems and families around employment.
Project Income was a joint venture between the Tennessee Microboards Association (statewide organization that supports individual microboards, which procure and oversee supports and services) and People First of Tennessee (a statewide self-advocacy organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities). The focus of the project was to educate people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) and their families about the benefits of and opportunities for community employment.
Family is important for many reasons: family members can motivate people to work, and can help them understand why work is important. Families can also have a big influence on self-determination and empowerment, helping people develop a real understanding of themselves and their place in the workplace. Their involvement is important throughout a person's life.