Abstract

Little is known about the factors that shape the employment-related decisions of individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Findings from qualitative interviews with individuals, their family members, and employment-support professionals from four community rehabilitation providers throughout Massachusetts were reported. Recognizing the value of participatory action research, we also included a co-researcher with intellectual disability who participated in all facets of the research process. Findings revealed a collection of people and factors considered influential in employment-related decision-making. The family in the formative years, school-based staff and early employment experiences, the culture of the community rehabilitation providers, the job developer, and personal preferences all influenced participants' decisions. Through understanding these persuasive elements, we offer recommendations to those in the intellectual and developmental disabilities field to optimize employment choices and outcomes.

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