Presentation T O20

T O20 (Oral Presentation):
Systematic review concerning competitive employment for people with intellectual disabilities

Presented by: Joke Ellenkamp


Ellenkamp JH1, Brouwers EPM, Embregts PJCM, Weeghel J van, Joossen MCW

  1. Tilburg, Nederland



For people with an intellectual disability (ID) having employment is a significant part of their lives. Many of them have the desire to participate in work. Despite specific legislation and special employment programs the numbers of people with ID who have some form of paid employment are very low worldwide. We conducted a systematic review to identify which work environment related factors contribute in obtaining and maintaining paid work in competitive employment for workers with ID.


Data were gathered by searching Pubmed, PsychINFO, Web of Science, Embase and CINAHL (1993-2013).Qualitative and quantitative studies were reviewed independently by two independent authors. Methodological quality was evaluated and data on work environment factors that stimulated employment for people with ID were extracted and summarized into categories.


Of 1933 articles retrieved, 25 articles remained after the selection phases. The study population of the research consisted of employers, employees, co-workers and job coaches. Most articles were situated in the USA, concerned mostly qualitative research with relative small sample sizes. The jobs that were executed differed to a great extend although many belonged to unskilled or entry level jobs. Most research was focused on people with mild and moderate ID and on their collegues and job coaches. Only a few research was on employers perspectives. Five relevant themes in relation to work related environmental factors were extracted: job content and performance, interaction/integration in the workplace, support by job coaches, employers' decisions and opinions and social inclusion.


To promote competitive employment rates for people with ID, relations between employers, employees and job coaches are of great importance. Training of job coaches but also inclusive work environments with specific support and attention for job content and work culture are important. Further research is needed to understand factors that are relevant for employers to promote work for people with ID and to work towards inclusive work settings.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
13:45 - 15:15 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (T O13 - T O24 and Seminar 5)
Session: Work disability in younger workers
Room A