Exploring the Issue of Employment for Adults with an Intellectual Disability in Ireland

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The benefits of being in employment are well documented; however, underemployment is a critical issue for people with intellectual disability (ID). Some individuals perceive themselves as being in employment when in fact they are attending a non-work site such as a day service. The impact that this perception of employment has on other areas in life has not been investigated and research into this area could have implications for both policy makers and service providers.

Materials and Methods

The first wave of the intellectual disability Supplement to the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (IDS-TILDA) included a series of questions on employment that yielded data for a representative sample of 753 participants with intellectual disability aged 40 and over randomly selected from Ireland's National Intellectual Disability Database (NIDD).

Results and Discussion

Overall, 6.6% of the population were in real paid employment, 7.4% in perceived employment, 12% in sheltered employment and 73.5% were unemployed. Differences were identified between these two groups in relation to social activities, levels of depression and self-rated health. Further investigation is needed into the area of perceived employment.

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