March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). The theme for 2017 is Life Side By Side, showcasing how people with developmental disabilities live, learn, work, and play along side family, friends, and coworkers in their communities. At the same time, the National Down Syndrome Society has launched #DSWorks, a new employment initiative whose goal is to encourage corporations and businesses to invest in hiring people with Down syndrome; and increase the number of opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome to work in meaningful and competitive employment settings. We thought this would be the perfect time to take a look at research and resources on employment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and how to create the best work environment for everyone on the job.
The Truth Comes from Us: Supporting Workers with Developmental Disabilities is a report from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Advancing Employment for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ThinkWork). This report from self-advocates outlines key steps to support employment professionals working to move people with intellectual and developmental disabilities out of poverty and fully include them in their communities.
This video, Employment and Economic Self-Sufficiency for People with I/DD, discusses goals for policy and practice in creating employment opportunity for people with I/DD. This video is from the National Goals 2015 video series from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living for people with I/DD. Researcher Derek Nord, PhD, discussed problems and solutions to meeting these goals.
The Sibling Leadership Network shared videos based on interviews with siblings of people with I/DD who talked about the importance of work for their brother or sister. The Siblings Rule stories highlight how going to work and building relationships with coworkers (with or without disabilities) improves the independence of people with I/DD.
We also dove into our REHABDATA database to see what our collection holds in the topic of employment and I/DD, particularly ways to make the workplace “work” for everyone:
We also recommend our previous post on bullying in the workplace, to help employees with disabilities feel safe, secure, and welcome on the job.
Before you go, make sure you check out our previous blog posts on resources for families and self-advocates with I/DD, NIDILRR-funded research in I/DD, and the role of siblings in supporting people with I/DD.