Abstract This article draws on the findings of the EU Framework 7 project DISCIT to explore the living situation of people with disabilities a decade after the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in nine European countries representing different welfare state models and different stages in the process of deinstitutionalisation. A review of the research literature, policy and available statistics was combined with interviews with key informants in each country to explore the current living situation, changes over time and the barriers to, and facilitators for change. The article focuses in particular on whether people are experiencing opportunities for social inclusion on an equal basis with others. Although a lack of available data hampered conclusions on living situation, it was clear that there had been some change in terms of policy and funding streams available to support community living. Some countries had moved slightly towards community living, while others reported more people in institutions or the development of bigger services in the community. There was evidence of continued inequality in the living situation and full inclusion of people with disabilities, with those with intellectual disability and psychosocial disabilities being the most affected. In terms of barriers (and consequently facilitators) there were three sources: 1) policy, 2) social care and support systems, and 3) awareness, attitudes and advocacy. The need to involve people with disabilities in policymaking and the need for a co-ordinated approach between all actors in the disability sector was seen as critical for achieving further change.
Despite research that has investigated whether the financial benefits of open employment exceed the costs, there has been scant research as to the effect sheltered and open employment have upon the quality of life of participants. The importance of this research is threefold: it investigates outcomes explicitly in terms of quality of life; the sample size is comparatively large; and it uses an established and validated questionnaire.
One hundred and seventeen people with intellectual disability (ID) who were employed in either open or sheltered employment by disability employment agencies were interviewed. Quality of life was assessed using the Quality of Life Questionnaire. After making an initial assessment to see whether the outcomes achieved depended on type of employment, quality of life scores were analyzed
controlling for participants’ level of functional work ability (assessed via the Functional Assessment Inventory).
The results showed that participants placed in open employment reported statistically significant higher quality of life scores. When the sample was split based upon participants’ functional work ability, the type of employment had no effect on the reported quality of life for participants with a low functional work ability. However, for those participants with a high functional work ability, those in open employment reported statistically significantly higher quality of life.
The results of this study support the placement of people with ID with high functional work ability into open employment. However, a degree of caution needs to be taken in interpreting the results presented given the disparity in income levels between the two types of employment.
For individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) work participation is a challenge, as shown by their low employment rates. The aim of this study was to investigate which factors predict work participation, finding work as well as maintaining employment, of young adults with ASD as well as ADD. We obtained data on 563 individuals with ASD and/or ADD, aged 15-27 years. The follow-up period ranged from 1.25 to 2.75 years. Being male (for ADD), living independently (for ASD), expecting to be able to work fulltime (for ASD and ADD), high perceived support from parents and perceived positive attitude of parents regarding work (for ASD and ADD) and perceived positive attitude of social environment (for ADD) predicted finding work by the young adult, while being male (for ADD) and higher age (for ASD and ADD) and positive attitude of social environment regarding work (for ASD) predicted maintaining employment. Both personal and social factors predict work outcome and should be taken into account when supporting individuals with DD in their transition to work.