How employment support and social integration programmes are viewed by the intellectually disabled

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Supported employment is intended to facilitate and promote participation and integration of intellectually disabled citizens in society. This study investigated their view of the programme.


Q-methodology was used. Eighteen respondents with a mild intellectual disability rank-ordered 22 statements representing five main aspects of supported employment. The data were factor-analysed to group respondents according to their views. Q-methodology was a feasible approach that facilitated in-depth conversations with respondents with a mild intellectual disability in a playful manner.


Two views on the impact of supported employment on social integration were observed: ‘work as participation’ and ‘work as structure’. The first placed greater value on participation, task variety, belonging, and feeling appreciated; the second placed greater value on working independently, clear working agreements, and friendly co-workers. The views indicate two distinct approaches to effecting a positive relationship between supported employment and social integration.


From the perspective of people with an intellectual disability supported employment contributes to self-development and has a positive effect on well-being, albeit in different ways for the individual groups.

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