1. Learn about the experiences of a researcher with IDD.
2. Learn 5 strategies employers can use to support the employment of persons with IDD, and provide examples of how they have been implemented.
3. Gain knowledge about how to identify and structure workplace supports in different types of research settings (office environment, lab, and community settings).
Many studies have found that people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) want to work in the community. When individuals with IDD share the reasons they want to work, these are (a) earnings, (b) productivity, (c) the admiration of others, and (d) the quality of social relationships. People with IDD have also expressed the desire to do meaningful work, demonstrate their skills and talents, choose their own careers, and have the same opportunities for career advancement as people without disabilities.
As professionals in the disability field, we are in a unique position to support the career goals of individuals with IDD who want to work as researchers. While the literature contains rich knowledge of how employment service providers can support individuals with IDD and employers, there is limited information about how employers can support the employment of persons with IDD.
Presenters will highlight experiences supervising individuals with IDD who are employed in the field of research and who receive both individualized supported integrated employment services and natural supports at the workplace. They will cover 5 strategies including: 1) Use clear and consistent communication, 2) Be aware of who supports the employee on and off the job, 3) Get to know the individual and let the individual get to know you, 4) Facilitate building a support network of co-workers, and 5) work directly with the employee on a project. Presenters will also cover how to build in workplace supports into a research professional position from the planning to implementation stages using an in-depth example. Recommendations for how to implement these strategies will be offered. Presenters Jessica Kramer, PhD
, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University. Dr. Kramer's interests center around the involvement of children with disabilities in research and intervention planning, the development of theory-based assessments and interventions, and disability rights and culture. Her current research uses a participatory approach to evaluate the effectiveness of Project TEAM, an intervention to teach youth with disabilities to systematically evaluate environmental barriers and supports, identify needed supports, and request environmental modifications and reasonable accommodations to facilitate participation. Dr. Kramer is also partnering with youth with disabilities to develop an accessible self-report version of the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI). Contact Jessica Kramer.
Jean E. Winsor, PhD
, is a Research Associate at the Institute for Community Inclusion
at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Her work focuses on state systems and integrated employment as well as program evaluation. Through her work she has investigated the policies and practices of states with high rates of integrated employment, states that have engaged in multi-agency systems change to support the transition from school-to-work for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and states that are using Employment First agendas as a catalyst for systems change. Dr. Winsor has also engaged in research to better understand the methods states use to collect data on employment outcomes, the strategies states use to fund employment services, and the factors that impact the choices individuals with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD) make about employment.. Since 2007 she has been the coordinator of the National Survey of State Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Agencies' Day and Employment Services and is engaged in the development of strategies to support individuals with IDD to conduct qualitative research. Contact Jean Winsor. John Kramer, PhD
, works with the research team at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts at Boston on systems change, employment issues for people with disabilities, and family roles in supporting employment. He was a 2011-2012 Switzer Research Fellow sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the Department of Education. For the fellowship, his work focuses on the involvement of siblings in supporting and maintaining employment for people with disabilities. He holds a PhD in Disability Studies, with his dissertation research looking at aging issues for siblings and people with disabilities. John co-founded the Sibling Leadership Network, Massachusetts Sibling Support Network, and Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters. Contact John Kramer. Ashley Wolfe
is a Research Liaison at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Since joining the Institute in 2008, she has gained extensive experience in qualitative research. As a research liaison, Ashley writes about her human research findings for peer-reviewed journals. She also works on materials for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families, and for job developers. She gets support from a job developer and a professional mentor, as well as from her supervisors. Ashley develops consent tools and interview protocols that are clear and easy to understand. She also analyzes data and helps decide on the best way to share it with different audiences. Contact Ashley Wolfe.
As someone with Down syndrome, Ashley is an advocate for herself and for other people with IDD. Her research at the ICI is about ways for people with IDD to succeed at school, at work, and in their communities. Ashley was awarded the first-ever Research in Action award by The Arc in 2011. In 2014, she received the Disability Law Center’s Individual Leadership Award.