Supported Employment for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: Social and Economic Outcomes

About the study

This study examined social, economic, and employment outcomes of individuals with intellectual disabilities who have obtained employment through supported employment. Through a review of relevant literature, the study identifies the kinds of impact supported employment initiatives have on people with intellectual disabilities.


What can be learned from this study?

• The study finds that greater socio-emotional support received from social networks, including employers and co-workers, was crucial in enhancing quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities. People with intellectual disabilities reported that meaningful employment opportunities and greater understanding and support from co-workers and supervisors have contributed to higher quality of life and greater social inclusion in the community.

• Lack of social acceptance remains a prevailing concern for people with intellectual disabilities. Service providers should place more focus on assisting their clients find placements that would provide them with adequate social and emotional support.

• Based on the literature, supported employment programs are found to be more cost-effective compared to other programs, with positive employment outcomes and reduced costs for employing people with intellectual disabilities. The study further suggests the co-worker training model as another cost-effective option to supported employment, as there was minimal difference in employment outcomes between those who received support from a co-worker and those who had a job coach.

• In comparison to men, women with intellectual disabilities were found to be working fewer hours and receiving lower wages. More research should be done on gender differences to empower women with developmental disabilities to work in the same type of occupations as their male counterparts.

• The study notes that while people with intellectual disabilities who worked saw their use of mental health services decrease, their use of supported employment programs increased, while those who remained unemployed or had been working for more than one year saw their use of supported employment services decrease.


What method(s) did the study use?

Literature review