International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, Volume 55 - Chapter 6: Literature Review of Employment Outcomes for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disability

Elsevier, International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, Volume 55, 2018, Pages 213-266
Xueqin Qian, Clare Papay, Pang Chaxiong, David R.Johnson

Background: Obtaining competitive community-based employment is an important goal for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), yet only a small percentage of people with IDD are working paid jobs in an integrated setting. Therefore, understanding and developing interventions that result in employment are crucial in improving the lives of people with IDD.

Aim: The purpose of this review is to identify practices that promote integrated and competitive employment for people with IDD. In this chapter, we describe the current state of employment for people with IDD and review the level of evidence of studies that have examined the effectiveness of interventions targeting employment for adults with IDD. We also discuss the connection between postsecondary education (PSE) and employment and review the research on PSE and outcomes for individuals with IDD.

Method: We evaluated 16 correlational studies (that analyzed national datasets) and five experimental studies employing either randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-experimental designs (QEDs). Descriptive and methodological data regarding participant and study characteristics were extracted for all included studies.

Results: Our current understanding of the current state of employment for adults with IDD is mainly derived from existing national datasets and independently conducted studies by researchers. A total of five experimental studies examined employment outcomes involving individuals with IDD, primarily with transition-age youth. Effect sizes reported in these studies are mixed.

Discussion: Implications of the findings and recommendations for future work regarding employment and adults with IDD are discussed.