RehabWire - Volume 12, Number 6, Fall 2010

Transition

NIDRR's research in transition spans the Employment Outcomes and Participation and Community Living priorities.

NIDRR Grantees on the Cutting Edge.

Vocational Rehabilitation: Transition Services that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals with Blindness or Other Visual Impairments Mississippi State University (H133A070001) led by Brenda Cavenaugh. Joseph A. DePhillips, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project conducts scientifically-based research on transition services that lead to competitive employment outcomes for transition-age individuals with blindness or other visual impairments. Project 1 involves conducting an integrative (systematic) literature review to identify and synthesize research on services leading to successful employment and other postsecondary outcomes for blind youth. The review process is considered empirical research and is approached with the scientific rigor used when conducting primary research. Project 2 includes analysis of five national, cross-sectional, and longitudinal data sources to explore relationships between potential causes or influencing factors and positive transition outcomes of youth who are blind or visually impaired. Project 3 uses qualitative and quantitative methods in the collection of data from a variety of sources. Project 4 involves using knowledge gained from Projects 1, 2, and 3 to identify and develop, demonstrate, and evaluate the effectiveness of two interventions—one targeting youth who are preparing to transition from high school to employment or college, and the other targeting youth who are preparing to transition from college to employment.
Find out more at: www.blind.msstate.edu

Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders SEDL (H133A080007) led by John Westbrook, PhD. Leslie J. Caplan, PhD, Project Officer.
Abstract: For this project, SEDL partners with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of Central Florida (UCF CARD) to create a knowledge translation initiative to address the growing need for improvement in vocational rehabilitation (VR) and transition services for persons with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). SEDL and UCF CARD identify and document VR and transitional behavior management practices that are linked to employment successes for people with ASDs, to identify factors that are strongly predictive of such success, to study the activities and impact of a statewide VR service provider network, and to document examples of success among individuals with ASDs in long-term employment placements. Research activities include conducting two major systematic reviews, implementation of a rigorous process for identifying and validating VR best practices, a study of the university-based statewide network of UCF CARD centers in Florida, and case studies of individuals with ASDs and their families.
Find out more at: www.autism.sedl.org

Transition can mean many things. Here we use it to describe the process of moving from an education or special education setting into the workforce. School-to-work transition can include job training and placement, support on the job, skills training, and other programs and services that can help a young person with a disability become a successful employee.

Center for Transition to Employment for Youth with Disabilities. TransCen, Inc. (H133A100007) led by Richard G. Luecking, PhD. Leslie J. Caplan, PhD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This center provides a comprehensive, balanced, and rigorous view of the strategies, methodologies, and models of transition to employment for youth with disabilities contributing to ongoing analysis, policy development, and in-the-field practice for transition-to-employment services. Project activities include: (1) conducting a systematic review of promising practices for transitioning students with disabilities to employment; (2) conducting a risk modeling of the National Longitudinal Transition Study and developing a prediction model for successful transition to employment; (3) analyzing data from a standardized transition-to-employment program serving primarily minority urban youth to identify factors explaining work outcomes, and to identify demographic and service characteristics that predict employment success; (4) indentifying characteristics and perceptions of staff of a standardized national program serving primarily minority youth with disabilities that explain employment outcomes; (5) identifying factors that enable schools to effectively serve youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities preparing for and transitioning to on-going supported employment service; (6) implementing and studying a transition service model and applying this model across school districts and across categories of youth that features paid work, early VR case initiation, and multi-party collaboration prior to school exit; (7) producing publications of research findings; and (8) compiling, creating, and disseminating training and technical assistance materials based on the center’s research in order to address gaps in knowledge and practice.

Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood. University of Massachusetts Medical School (H133B090018) led by Maryann Davis, PhD. Leslie J. Caplan, PhD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project focuses on school-to-work transitions and develops an integrated research program examining this developmental stage for individuals with severe psychiatric disabilities. The transition to adulthood is a critical life stage when the learning that occurs, both in school and in the larger world, lays an important foundation for individuals’ future work life. Severe psychiatric disability issues can disrupt the school-to-work pathway and contribute to school dropout, psychiatric hospitalization, homelessness, and jail. The Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood Research and Training Center provides national leadership to researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and consumers and their families on the school-to-work transition of transition-age youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions. The Center develops and translates knowledge from state-of-the-art rigorous research on education and work experiences for 14-30 year olds. The research is informed by consumer and family input and is carried out in real world settings. This project contributes to new knowledge about interventions for this population who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, and improves coordination between child and adult mental health services.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures: Supporting Successful Transition for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions Portland State University (H133B090019) led by Nancy M. Koroloff, PhD. Leslie J. Caplan, PhD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project incorporates research, targeted training, and dissemination while adhering to a single conceptual framework of synthesizing research guided by intervention approach. This framework focuses on building assets in four areas: (1) self-determination and positive identity, (2) youth- and young adult-directed decision making, (3) skills for adult roles, and (4) supportive relationships with peers and adults. The eight research projects (R1-R8) employ randomized controlled trial design, focusing on testing the efficacy of an intervention and improving outcomes for transition-age youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions. R1: My Career Vision tests an approach to career planning and employment for young adults, ages 21-25, who are receiving SSI or extended special education services. R2: Better Futures tests a comprehensive intervention to assist young people in foster care with serious mental health conditions to prepare to participate in post-secondary education. R3: Achieve My Plan studies the efficacy of an approach to helping young people lead their mental health treatment planning teams, and to build service capacity to support youth engagement. Two projects develop and test assessment inventories: R4: Transition Policy Consortium develops an inventory that assesses the level of community support for transition services with a specific emphasis on measuring collaboration and continuity of care between the child and adult mental health systems; and R5: Finding Our Way furthers the development of a culturally specific self-assessment tool for American Indian/Alaskan Native youth, ages 13-19, and the tool is modified to include issues relevant to transition. Training, supervision, and coaching materials are produced to improve provider practice. R6: eHealth examines the ways youth and young adults use the Internet to find information about mental health care, conditions, symptoms, or medications. The R6 project identifies the kinds of information that young people look for, tracks their search processes, and assesses how they verify the accuracy of the information they find; then uses this information to develop and test an eHealth literacy curriculum. R7: Recovery Outcomes analyzes data from the System of Care National Evaluation related to young people’s recovery outcomes. R8: Mediators of Stigmatization analyzes data from nationally representative samples of youth and young adults, and uses this information to identify potentially effective anti-stigmatization strategies.
Find out more at www.pathwaysrtc.pdx.edu

Developing College Campuses as Transition Settings for Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities Aged 18-21 Kent State University (H133G080158) led by Robert Flexer, PhD. Joyce Y. Caldwell, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project is designed to address need for sustainable, community-based programs for students with severe and multiple disabilities (SMD) aged 18-21 by using the college campus as a transition setting. It also addresses the need for SMD transition professionals to obtain skills in the areas of person-centered planning, community partnering, and interagency collaboration. Students with SMD are enrolled in a college- level continuing education class on life planning provided by Kent State’s Career Services Center. A university instructor directs this class, and collaborating SMD professionals and Kent State students receive service learning credits for providing person-centered planning and individualized campus activities for the participating students with SMD. These planning and campus activities are coordinated with students’ individual education and employment plans (IEPs and IPEs, respectively). Students with SMD are also enrolled in at least one college-level class each semester to assure that they have access to all of Kent State’s services including career planning, health and wellness, student employment, extracurricular activities, and life-long learning opportunities. To achieve these outcomes, project staff pursue five objectives: (1) develop college classes for 30 students with SMD that engage practicing and prospective transition professionals in their life and career planning; (2) develop and implement daily campus activities for 30 students with SMD based on their life plans; (3) engage students with SMD, their teachers, university faculty, and other transition stakeholders in evaluating, refining, and supporting this model; (4) develop materials for replication of this model; and (5) disseminate and replicate this project at other universities.

Please note: These abstracts have been modified. Full, unedited abstracts, as well as any available REHABDATA citations, are available at naric.com.

Wikipedia has a very short article on school to work transition. It discusses two states’ programs (Arizona and Michigan) and does not include information on research or participation. If you are a researcher or service provider who works in the area of school to work transition, think about contributing to the article at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School-to-work_transition

Current Literature: Selections from REHABDATA

Dutta, Alo; Kundu, Madan M.; Schiro-Geist, Chrisann. (2009) Coordination of postsecondary transition services for students with disabilities. Journal of Rehabilitation, 75(1), 10-17. NARIC Accession Number: J56344
Project Number: H133A031705.
Abstract: Study examined issues related to planning and delivery of individualized transition services by postsecondary institutions from the perspective of students with disabilities and Office of Disability Services (ODS) administrators. Participants were 445 students with disabilities and 4 ODS directors/coordinators at 2 universities in a southern state and 2 universities in a mid-western state. Respondents reported that there was a crucial need for collaborative service provision to eliminate duplication of efforts, campus-wide assistive technology laboratories, and assistance to minimize employment barriers. The findings, if implemented with the existing financial resources, may change the trajectory leading to low enrollment and high dropout rates and generate a more inclusive provision of transition services and accessible campus ambiance.

McDonnall, Michele C.; Crudden, Adele. (2009) Factors affecting the successful employment of transition-age youths with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 103(6), 329-241. NARIC Accession Number: J56784
Project Number: H133A070001.
Abstract: Study examined data extracted from personal interviews and vocational rehabilitation case records to determine factors that affect the successful transition of youth with visual impairment to employment. Analyses identified the following variables associated with successful work transition: work experience, academic competence, self-determination, use of assistive technology, and locus of control. Self-esteem and involvement with the counselor were not associated with employment in this study.

Curran, Jennifer. (2009) The time to begin looking for community rehabilitation programs offering vocational services is . . . now! Exceptional Parent, 39(10/11), 44-45. NARIC Accession Number: J57709
Abstract: Article provides information to help parents find a good community rehabilitation program (CRP) offering vocational services to assist students with disabilities as they transition from school to adult life. Tips include: (1) start early, (2) contact state vocational rehabilitation agencies and local CRPs, and (3) check out state, national, and international rehabilitation organizations and online resources.

Phillips, William L.; et al. (2009) Customized transitions: Discovering the best in us. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 30(1), 49-55. NARIC Accession Number: J57936
Abstract: Article focuses on using customized employment as a strategy for successful transitions from school to work for students with disabilities. Six students in rural Kentucky will be receiving resources from vocational rehabilitation and special education to create a discovery portfolio, individualized job development, and customized employment. Their transition will be part of a ten year follow-up study that will track their employment history, inclusion in their chosen community, and asset building. The goal is to place them in full-time employment that provides a living wage.

Hasnain, Rosshey; Balcazar, Fabricio. (2009) Predicting community- versus facility-based employment for transition-aged young adults with disabilities: The role of race, ethnicity, and support systems. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 31(3), 175-188. NARIC Accession Number: J57963
Project Number: H133A040007; H133P060003.
Abstract: Study examined the effects of socioeconomic, attitudinal, and support-related variables on the employment status of young adults with disabilities who participated in community-based and facility-based work settings. Data were obtained from a national survey of 1,899 young adults with disabilities, ages 18 to 26 years, from White, Black/African-American, and Latino backgrounds. Secondary analyses of the data showed that race/ethnicity, gender, education, socioeconomic level, perception of disability by respondents and family members, and the availability of formal (vocational rehabilitation service) and informal supports (family/friends) are significantly related to community-based employment. The results suggest that non-White young adults with disabilities are less likely to be employed in a community-based setting, compared with their White peers, even after controlling for other variables. The need for more effective policies and programs to support successful transition into community-based employment for members of ethnic and racial population groups is discussed.

McDonnall, Michele C.. (2010) The employment and postsecondary educational status of transition-age youths with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 104(5), 298-303. NARIC Accession Number: J58588
Project Number: H133A070001
Abstract: This article presents the most current data available on the employment and postsecondary educational status of youths with visual impairments. The source of the data is the National Longitudinal Transition Study, an ongoing longitudinal study that documents the experiences of a nationally representative sample of students with disabilities as they move from secondary school to adult roles. Detailed information is provided about the employment experiences of these youths while in high school; the percentages employed, by educational status; and the percentages attending postsecondary schools. Data are presented for the entire population of youths with visual impairments as their primary disability and with this group divided on the basis of the presence of additional disabilities.

Schall, Carol M. McDonough, Jennifer T. (2010) Autism spectrum disorders in adolescence and early adulthood: Characteristics and issues. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 32(2), 81-88. NARIC Accession Number: J58738
Project Number: H133B040011.
Abstract: Article describes the characteristics of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in adolescence and young adulthood and presents three case studies to illustrate the issues confronting individuals with ASD, their families, and support providers. All three case studies pose important issues related to transition to adulthood and employment. Specifically, all three individuals require higher intensity services than are typically offered to transition aged youth. Also, they require intensive services and instruction in communication and social skills.

The National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials hosts a large collection of research, reports, manuals, and guides on rehabilitation training, including items on school to work transition. As of Fall 2010 the site was under a redesign/reorganization. Check back often and you’ll be impressed by their catalog! www.ncrtm.org

Bryen, Diane N.; Chung, Yoosun; Lever, Sarah . (2010) What you might not find in a typical transition plan! Some important lessons from adults who rely on augmentative and alternative communication. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 19, 32-40. NARIC Accession Number: J58860
Project Number: H133E080011.
Abstract: Article identifies and discusses some unique challenges faced by students with complex communication needs as they transition from school to adult living, many of which are not addressed in traditional transition plans. They will have to manage the typical challenges of postsecondary education, employment, independent living, and developing and maintaining social relationships. They will also have to be prepared to manage technology, personal assistants, transportation, and a variety of other challenges. Increasingly, parents of students with complex communication needs have high expectations for life after school. To respond to these high expectations, professionals must ensure that, among other skills, these students have three key supports: (1) access to needed socially-valued adult vocabulary, (2) rich social networks, and (3) strategies to increase personal safety and to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a crime. This article provides first-person accounts of lessons learned by people who rely on augmentative and alternative communication, as well as descriptions of the results of innovative strategies developed for the acquisition of skills needed for living full, active, and socially valued adult lives.

Carter, Erik W., et al. (2009) Evaluation of a multicomponent intervention package to increase summer work experiences for transition-age youth with severe disabilities. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities RPSD, 34(2), 1-12. NARIC Accession Number: J59034
Abstract: Study examined the efficacy and social validity of a multicomponent intervention package aimed at connecting youth with severe disabilities to summer work experiences. Sixty-seven youth were randomly assigned to intervention and comparison groups within six diverse high schools. The intervention consisted of five components: community conversations, resource mapping, summer-focused planning, community connectors, and employer liaisons. The comparison group received the usual transition education. Results indicate that youth in the intervention group were 3.5 times more likely than their peers at the same school to obtain community-based work experiences during the summer and worked more hours per week. Key stakeholders generally perceived the intervention strategies to be acceptable, feasible, and effective. Recommendations are offered for improving students’ access to early work and community experiences as part of comprehensive transition education.

(2009) Successful transition models for youth with mental health needs: A guide for workforce professionals. InfoBrief, 23. NARIC Accession Number: O17625
Abstract: This brief presents model programs and strategies to help youth and young adults with mental health needs to transition successfully into the workplace. It describes the service system barriers faced by these youth, while highlighting the new models and strategies designed to break down those barriers.

Smith, Frank A.; Lugas, Jaime. (2010) Vocational rehabilitation employment outcomes for transition-age youth with autism and other disabilities. Data Note, 26. NARIC Accession Number: O17712
Project Number: H133A021503.
Abstract: This fact sheet compares vocational rehabilitation (VR) employment outcomes between 2003 and 2008 for 2 subgroups of transition-age youth: those with autism and those with all other disabilities. Four VR employment outcomes are summarized for the disability subgroups: (1) number of closures into employment, (2) rehabilitation rate, (3) average weekly hours worked, and (4) average weekly earnings. The data show that youth with autism had a higher rehabilitation rate (63 percent) than youth with all other disabilities (55.6 percent). However, in terms of weekly hours worked and earnings data, youth with autism demonstrated less favorable outcomes than youth with other disabilities, working 8 fewer hours per week and earning $120 fewer per week on average. These data suggest that analysis of VR outcomes needs to consider not only employment but also the number of hours VR customers are working and the degree to which employment offers the opportunity for greater economic self-sufficiency through earning.

O’Day, Bonnie. (2009) Project SEARCH: Opening doors to employment for young people with disabilities. Disability Policy Research Brief, (09-06). NARIC Accession Number: O17819
Project Number: H133B040013.
Abstract: This brief describes Project SEARCH, a unique work immersion model designed to help students with significant disabilities transition from school to work. Project SEARCH targets students ages 18 to 22 who have specific cognitive and/or physical disabilities such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, or autism. Only students with a strong desire for competitive employment are eligible. Students spend their entire school day at the workplace for a full school year, facilitating a seamless integration of classroom instruction and on-the-job training and support that cannot be achieved with occasional visits to the workplace or simulated work environments. The goal for students is competitive employment in an integrated setting of their choosing, with fringe benefits and opportunities to advance. Students have obtained jobs in patient transport, medical lab work, materials management/stocking/inventory control, data entry, credit card verification, filing and mailroom work, landscaping, and maintenance, among many other areas. Four primary partners are needed to implement the Project SEARCH model: a sponsoring employer, a school system, a community rehabilitation provider, and the state vocational rehabilitation agency and/or the state or local developmental disabilities agency.

Gowen, L. Kris; Aue, Nicole (Eds.) (2010) Focal point: Transitions to adulthood, 24(1). NARIC Accession Number: O17838
Project Number: H133B090019.
Abstract: The articles in this inaugural issue of the “new” Focal Point address transitions to adulthood from the perspectives of researchers, youth, family, and professionals. Topics include: moving the field of transition services forward; using developmental theory to understand the services needs of emerging adults; transitioning to independence; transition-aged youth, mental health challenges, and survival self-reliance; a parent’s perspective on helping youth transition into adulthood; one state’s efforts in supporting transition-aged youth; young adults value participation, meaningful employment, and unconditional caring; transitioning does not mean escaping; early psychosis intervention in Oregon; a holistic approach to supporting the transitions of high school students with emotional and behavioral disabilities.

Wehman, Paul; Smith, Marcia D.; Schall, Carol. (2009) Autism and the transition to adulthood: Success beyond the classroom. NARIC Accession Number: R08961
Abstract: This resource provides transition team members with a complete guide that walks through every aspect of transition planning, including planning for employment and postsecondary education for young adults with autism. It includes information on how specific social, behavioral, and cognitive characteristics of people with autism affect the transition to adulthood, exploring potential challenges and traits that can be powerful assets. Compelling stories throughout the book illustrate how successful transition planning improved the lives of 3 diverse teenagers. The practical forms, checklists, and suggested resources and links help readers put the proven strategies into action.

Luecking, Richard G.. (2009) The way to work: How to facilitate work experiences for youth in transition. NARIC Accession Number: R08989
Abstract: This practical guide was developed to help educators, transition specialists, and employment specialists facilitate individualized, meaningful work experiences and jobs for high school students and young adults with disabilities. Information is provided that will assist readers to uncover students’ strengths, needs, and interests through formal and informal assessments; recruit and retain employer partners who gladly host youth in their workplaces; help students decide when and how to disclose a disability to an employer; guide students in advocating effectively for accommodations on the job; and involve families in supporting the work experience. Chapters provide examples of model programs, stories that illustrate what works and doesn’t work, and sample forms and guidelines that can be reproduced or adapted for use in transition practice.

Bruey, Carolyn T.; Urban, Mary B. (2009) Topics in autism: The autism transition guide: Planning the journey from school to adult life. NARIC Accession Number: R09000
Abstract: Book focuses on helping adolescents with autism make a successful transition from school to adult life. Information is provided to help guide parents and professionals through the process of planning for these key areas: residential choices, postsecondary education, employment, recreation and leisure activities.

Simons, Jo Ann. (2010) Topics in Down syndrome: The Down syndrome transition handbook: Charting your child’s course to adulthood. NARIC Accession Number: R09026
Abstract: This handbook helps parents prepare their child for independent adult life. It offers practical tips and step-by-step instructions to help families envision their child’s future, develop a transition plan, and implement it. The chapters address everything families need to know and do, from meeting broad, basic needs such as finding meaningful ways to fill one’s days (work, volunteering, leisure activities, education, and exercise) and how to get around (driving versus using public transportation) to addressing specific needs such as whether to leave high school at age 21 or earlier and how to maintain eligibility for benefits by keeping income and assets within allowable limits.

McNaughton, David B.; Beukelman. (2010) Transition strategies for adolescents and young adults who use AAC. NARIC Accession Number: R09072
Abstract: This book presents concrete examples, case studies, and step-by-step instruction to provide the kind of guidance that professionals need to tailor their individualized transition planning for students and young adults who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Combining the best research-based practices from diverse fields, including special education, vocational rehabilitation, and communication disorders, this resource covers every aspect of transition planning for youth with a wide range of disabilities. Professionals will obtain the knowledge and strategies they need to help young people who use AAC to: strengthen literacy skills, succeed in secondary school, make the transition to postsecondary education, achieve self-determination, secure employment, increase autonomy and build friendships through community recreation and leisure activities, communicate effectively with personal assistants, and navigate the complex move from pediatric to adult medical and health services. Throughout the book, guidance from top experts is woven together with the personal stories of young adults who use AAC, shedding light on the challenges of transition and the research-based strategies that lead to positive outcomes.

Another Look: Self-employment and Entrepreneurship Research

Targett, P., Inge, K. (2010) START-UP/USA self-employment Q and A: Braiding and blending funding for business start-up. NARIC Accession Number: O17731.
Abstract: This fact sheet provides an overview of the funding resources that may be available to help an individual with a disability to start a small business. Discussion focuses on ways to "blend or braid funding" from an array of resources. These resources include, but are not limited to; case management assistance, employment support services, and funding specifically to help individuals with disabilities achieve employment outcomes.

Revell, G., Smith, F. (2009) An analysis of self-employment outcomes within the federal/state vocational rehabilitation system. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 31(1), 11-18. NARIC Accession Number: J57947.
Abstract: Article provides an analysis of self-employment participation and outcomes by individuals with disabilities within the federal/state vocational rehabilitation (VR) system. Through analysis of closure data contained in the Rehabilitation Services Administration 911 closure reports for fiscal year 2003 to 2007, this report: (1) presents a summary of the extent to which self-employment outcomes are occurring within the general and combined VR agencies, (2) identifies the state VR agencies with the highest percentage of self-employment outcomes among all individuals closed in employment, (3) compares the weekly and hourly earning in self-employment to earnings for all VR closures in employment, (4) compares self-employment outcomes in relation to the primary disability of the VR service recipient, and (5) identifies the level of participation in self-employment among Native Americans/American Indians.

Shaheen, G., Myhill, W. (2009) Entrepreneurship for veterans with disabilities: Lessons learned from the field. inBrief, (1). NARIC Accession Number: O17679.
Abstract: This brief examines entrepreneurship as a viable career option for veterans with disabilities, particularly those returning from the present-day conflicts in the Middle East. As entrepreneurs, veterans have an array of opportunities to customize their employment, accommodate their challenges, maximize their strengths and skills, and achieve their financial and career goals. This brief takes a close look at one program, the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, and discusses some lessons learned from the operation of this program.

Colling, K., Arnold, N. (2007) A qualitative analysis of the potential for collaboration between vocation rehabilitation agencies and small business developers. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling (JARC), 38(2), 35-41. NARIC Accession Number: J52801. Project Number: H133B030501; H133B970017.
Abstract: Article reports on a study that evaluated efforts to promote coordination between Small Business Development Centers and vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies in order to expand self-employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Focus groups were conducted using knowledgeable and experienced staff and administrators from VR agencies, community development organizations, businesses that provide job placement and related services, and people with disabilities. Results are presented according to themes that emerged from the data: current state of collaboration, reasons to collaborate, potential barriers to collaboration, problems with past collaboration, and suggestions for enhancing the collaborative process.

McNaughton, D., Symons, G. (2006) "My dream was to pay taxes": The self-employment experiences of individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 25(3), 181-196. NARIC Accession Number: J51868.
Project Number: H133E030018; H133E980026.
Abstract: Seven individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) who were self-employed and used augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) participated in an online focus group discussion. Six themes emerged from the discussion: (1) description of employment activities, (2) benefits of self-employment, (3) negative impacts of self-employment, (4) barriers to employment, (5) supports to self-employment, and (6) recommendations for improving self-employment outcomes for individuals with CP who use AAC. Self-employment provided financial benefits, meaningful work activities, and the opportunity to actively participate in society for the participants in this study. Negative public attitudes and limited educational experiences for people using AAC were identified as major barriers to employment. Personal characteristics such as a willingness to accept challenges and an interest in demonstrating personal competence were seen as important supports.

Arnold, N., Lind, P. (2006) Action summit for the advancement of capital access to entrepreneurs with disabilities. NARIC Accession Number: O16448.
Project Number: H133B030501; H133G000189.
Abstract: Report summarizes the discussions and recommendations from a conference convened to develop strategies to promote access to capital for business owners with disabilities. The Capital Access Summit activities included discussions that identified: (1) programs, policies, and resources that facilitate access to capital for people with disabilities; (2) existing issues and barriers; and (3) initial ideas or recommendations to move the capital access agenda forward and how to implement them within the programs and organizations represented.

Bell, A. (2006) Workplace accommodations policy highlights 4.05. NARIC Accession Number: O17089. Project Number: H133E020720.
Abstract: Bimonthly newsletter of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Workplace Accommodations reports policy, regulatory, and market factors relevant to integrating people with disabilities into the national workforce.
This document is available online at naric.com

Arnold, N., Ipsen, C. (2005) Self-employment policies: Changes through the decade. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 16(2), 115-122. NARIC Accession Number: J49421.
Project Number: H133B030501; H133B970017.
Abstract: Study examined changes in vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies' policies and procedures regarding self-employment for people with disabilities by comparing an analysis conducted in 1991- 1992 to one conducted in 2002. Current and prior policies were compared with an 8-component model policy developed from business development literature. Overall, current policies are much more positive toward self-employment than previous ones. The number of components addressed in the policies increased from an average of 3.7 components to an average of 6.6 components. Many agencies developed self-employment programs and published manuals specifically for counselors.

(2005) Worksupport.com e-Newsletter, October 2005. NARIC Accession Number: O17476. Project Number: H133B040011.
Abstract: Newsletter provides information, resources, and research about work and disability issues. In this issue: (1) Webcast on self-employment for people with disabilities, (2) booklet on how employment affects Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid benefits, (3) information about One-Stop Career Centers, (4) guidance on disclosing a disability to an employer, and (5) a brown bag seminar on private health coverage.
This document is available online at naric.com

Maxson, N. (2005) The rural exchange. 18(1). NARIC Accession Number: O16003. Project Number: H133G020215.
Abstract: This issue focuses on self-employment and small business ownership for people with disabilities. The keys to self-employment success are: proper support, adequate financing, and paying customers. The Self-Employment Development for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury project and its success in developing self-employment and microenterprise opportunities for people with brain injuries are also discussed.

Where Can I Find More? A quick keyword search is all you need to connect to a wealth of disability and rehabilitation research. NARIC’s databases hold more than 75,000 resources. Visit www.naric.com/research to search for literature, current and past research projects, and organizations and agencies in the US and abroad.