Background: Finding and maintaining employment is a major challenge for young adults with physical disabilities and their work participation rate is lower than that of healthy peers. This paper is about a program that supports work participation amongst young adults with chronic physical disabilities. The study aims to explore their experienced barriers and facilitators for finding and maintaining employment after starting this program, the participant-perceived beneficial attributes of the program and participants' recommendations for additional intervention components.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews (n=19) were held with former intervention participations. Interviews were recorded and transcribed ad verbatim. Themes were derived using the phenomenological approach.
Results: Physical functions and capacities, supervisor's attitude, self-esteem and self-efficacy and openness and assertiveness were experienced barriers and facilitators for finding and maintaining employment. Improvement of self-promoting skills and disclosure skills through job interview-training, increased self-esteem or self-efficacy through peer-support, a suitable job through job placement, improvement of work ability through arrangement of adjusted work conditions and change of supervisor's attitude through education provided to the supervisor were perceived as beneficial attributes of the intervention. Respondents recommended to incorporate assertiveness and openness skills training into future intervention programs.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that programs supporting work participation should be designed to provide challenging, real-world experiential opportunities that provide young adults with physical disabilities with new insights, self-efficacy and life skills. Also, such programs should facilitate context centered learning. Former intervention participants, therefore, evaluated job-interview training, sharing learning and social experiences with peers, job placement, arrangement of adjusted work conditions and education as beneficial attributes of the 'At Work' program. In addition, they recommended, to incorporate more training on assertiveness and disclosure. We advise professionals to include these beneficial attributes in similar interventions in other contexts.

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Child: Care, Health and Development
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bal, M. I., Sattoe, J., van Schaardenburgh, N., Floothuis, M., Roebroeck, M., & Miedema, H. (2016). A vocational rehabilitation intervention for young adults with physical disabilities: Participants' perception of beneficial attributes. Child: Care, Health and Development, 43(1), 114–125. doi:10.1111/cch.12407