Objective: To identify the personal, family, and community factors that facilitate or hinder employment for young adults with developmental motor disabilities.
Methods: Quantitative methods with an embedded qualitative component were used. Seventy-six persons between the ages of 20 and 30 years of age (Mean = 25, SD = 3.1) with a diagnosis of either cerebral palsy or spina bifida completed questionnaires addressing factors such as depression, and participated in a semi-structured interview that allowed participants to describe their experiences with education, employment, transportation, and other services.
Results: Almost half of the participants (n = 35) were not currently employed. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that gender (females were less likely to be employed), IQ (lower IQ associated with unemployment), and transportation dependence accounted for 42% of the variance in employment. Themes emerging from content analysis of the interviews supported the findings related to transportation barriers. Social reactions to disability limited employment opportunities, and participants often felt stuck in terms of employment options with limited opportunities for advancement.
Conclusions: Transportation is a significant barrier to employment and innovative solutions are needed. Issues related to gender need to be considered when addressing employment inequities for persons with primarily motor disabilities.