Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Employment Trends; Capitalism; Paid Employment; Disabilities; Social Movements.

Russell, M. (2002). What disability civil rights cannot do: Employment and political economy. Disability & Society, 17(2), 117-135.


This study examines the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and claims it is both a liberal civil rights bill and a labour economics bill meant to increase the employment of disabled persons. The study suggests that the source of unemployment is in discriminatory attitudes of employers and physical barriers in the work environment. It suggests an inclusive society could be achieved for disabled people through regulations that create 'equal opportunity' in the labour market. It argues that at present, liberal reforms primarily focus on 'irrational' discriminatory attitudes and operates within an individualist framework. Furthermore, it maintains that civil rights legislation has not given sufficient attention to structural barriers, which 'rational' business practices and the economic system and class power relationships erect. This study examines the micro and macro-economic realities of U.S. capitalism, which directly impedes on disabled peoples' employment and perpetuates a disabling society. It concludes by maintaining that the failure of rights legislation to increase disabled people's employment, exposes the contradictions in promoting equal opportunity in a class-based unequal society.
KEY WORDS: Political Economy; Disabilities; Employment; Unemployment; Discrimination; Physical Barriers; Work Environments; Equal Opportunities.

Sapey, B. (2004). Disability and social exclusion in the information society. In J. Swain, S. French, C. Barnes & C. Thomas (Eds.), Disabling Barriers-Enabling Environments (pp. 273-278). London: SAGE.


This paper discusses the social model of disability as a process of marginalization, oppression, discrimination and exclusion. It views disability as a product of industrialization and claims the very specific demands of a new form of economy led to the construction of particular social responses to impairment, notably a hegemony of care and segregation. The purpose of this paper is to consider whether this particular process of disablement will continue within the information economy that began to emerge over the last quarter of the twentieth century or whether the process of exclusion will take another form.
KEY WORDS: Social Model of Disability; Industrialization; Processes of Marginalization; Segregation; Information Economy; Social Exclusion.

Schartz, K., Schartz, H. A., & Blanck, P. D. (2002). Employment of persons with disabilities in information technology jobs: Literature review for "IT works". Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 20, 637-657.


This article reviews relevant literature as to the labour pool of qualified individuals with disabilities and employment in information technology (IT) sector jobs. First, the article reviews the empirical literature on barriers to employment in IT for persons with disabilities. The examination then is extended to studies of barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities in other employment sectors. Findings illustrate the limited experiences that IT and non-IT companies have in employment and accommodating employees with disabilities. Implications are discussed for enhancing the employment of qualified workers with disabilities in IT through research, education, training, and mentoring programs.
KEY WORDS: Individuals with Disabilities; United States; Employment; Information Technology; Literature Review; Education; Training; Mentoring Programs.

Schur, L., Kruse, D., & Blanck, P. (2005). Corporate culture and the employment of persons with disabilities. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 23, 3-20.


The authors explore political implications for companies that want to create a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities. The authors explored theoretical models of treatment and attitudes toward employees with disabilities, strategies disabled employees use to shape expectations in the workforce, and the effects of organizational structures (values, practices) on the treatment of disabled employees. Shur and colleagues found that in the area of analyzing corporate culture and disability little work has been done, few definitive hypotheses exist, and little is known about the nature of the phenomenon. They identified specific areas for future study, including: collecting data in actual workplace settings; using multiple modes of analysis; conducting longitudinal and detailed case studies; and involving people with disabilities in all stages of the research process (e.g. participatory action research). They identify steps organizations can take to fully incorporate people with disabilities into organizational life, e.g. increase autonomy, review HR policies, etc.
KEY WORDS: Attitudes; Corporate Culture; Disability; Methods; Organizational Learning; Work.

Schur, L. A. (2002). Dead end jobs or a path to economic well being? The consequences of non-standard work among people with disabilities. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 20, 601-620.


This study uses data from the Current Population Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and the Lexis search of legal cases. The data reveals that temporary employment, independent contracting, and part-time employment are almost twice as likely among workers with disabilities than those without disabilities. Non-standard workers with disabilities receive lower pay and few benefits due to the types of job they hold and the disability gaps within job types, which contributes to their high poverty rates. The study found disabled workers will continue to have high poverty rates even if these pay gaps are eliminated, because they work fewer hours than non-standard workers without disabilities and are concentrated in lower-paying jobs. In attempting to improve their opportunities through disability lawsuits, non-standard workers prevail in only a small minority of cases. The study concludes by discussing several policy implications from the lawsuits.
KEY WORDS: Temporary Employment; Independent Contracting; Part-time Employment; Non-standard Workers; Workers with Disabilities; Low Earnings; Poverty; Disability.

Skrtic, T. M. (2005). A political economy of learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 28(2), 149-155.


This article begins by reviewing the author's work on the social construction and representation of school failure as student disability an on the reconstruction of special education and public education to avoid the need for such representations. In the remaining sections, he identifies several trends in education and society and, by linking them, recommends that the field of learning disabilities join the struggle to create a strong democratic future for students and communities, a project that involves transforming education and American democracy itself and begins with a transformation of professionalism in education and special education.
KEY WORDS: Special Education; Public Education; Democracy; Learning Disabilities; Academic Failure; Educational History; Politics of Education.

Spataro, S. E. (2005). Diversity in context: How organizational culture shapes reactions to workers with disabilities and others who are demographically different. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 23, 21-38.


This article considers how an organization's culture affects the work experiences of employees who are different from the majority. Specifically, the author looks at values comprising an organization's culture to advance understanding of when and where incorporation of workers with disabilities and workers who are demographically different may have a positive impact on organizations. The author offers a model of the effects of greater diversity among employees in organizations and reviews organizational culture according to five dimensions: definition of diversity, emphasis on differences, social interaction process, reactions to policy, and general implications for diversity. Distinguishing between three types of organizational culture: culture of differentiation, culture of unity, and culture of integration, she highlights considerations for managers hoping to create a more productive, and inclusive workplace environment. She recommends workers with disabilities assess the cultural system at a potential employer's organization to get a sense of the likelihood of success within that work environment.
KEY WORDS: Disability; Diversity; Organizational Culture.

Stapleton, D. C., & Burkhauser, R. V. (Eds.). (2003). The decline in employment of people with disabilities: A policy puzzle. Washington, DC: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.


This book includes revised presentations from an October 2001 meeting of the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the Cornell Rehabilitation Research and Training Center that considered the validity of current data for measuring trends in the employment rate of people with disabilities and investigated the causes and consequences of the declining rate of employment shown in the data.
KEY WORDS: Assistive Technology; Attitudes toward Disabilities; Chronic Illness; Data Interpretation; Demography; Disabilities; Disability Discrimination; Employment Opportunities; Employment Patterns; Employment Statistics; Health Care Costs; Health Insurance; Labor Market; Policy Analysis; Policy Formation; Research Problems; Supported Employment; Trend Analysis; Validity; Work Environment; Americans with Disabilities Act 1990; Medicaid; Medicare; Social Security; Disability; Insurance.

Stephens, D. L., Collins, M. D., & Dodder, R. A. (2005). A longitudinal study of employment and skill acquisition among individuals with developmental disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 26(5), 469-486.


Recent legislation, especially the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, generated the closure of institutions for people with disabilities and inclusion into community residences and employment. It has been well documented that individuals with developmental disabilities often experience difficulties with employment including both obtaining and maintaining jobs, and many researchers have looked for ways to make employment more successful.
KEY WORDS: Employment Level; Vocational Rehabilitation; Supported Employment; Human Services; Developmental Disabilities; Longitudinal Studies; Skill Development; Job Skills; Americans with Disabilities Act 1990; Oklahoma.

Stern, D. (2002). Building the bridge between community college and work for students with learning disabilities. Perspective, 28(2), 17-20.


This paper presents information to assist students with learning disabilities (LD), counselors, and employers in building a bridge between community college and employment. It argues that students must learn to articulate how their LD affects them in a variety of situations, especially those requiring learning and performing work related tasks. Information is then provided on: (1) what students with LD need to know about themselves; (2) questions that can aid teachers, counselors, and parents in identifying the functional impact of a learning disability; (3) a three-step process for determining the need for and type of accommodations a student may require in the type of work he or she is interested in seeking; (4) the importance of disability laws and requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act; (5) tips for employers; (6) types of questions students should ask in preparing for a job interview; (7) questions students should ask in identifying barriers and accommodations early in employment situations; (8) deciding whether to disclose a disability; (9) interview tips for students with LD; (10) legal and illegal interview questions; (11) fact-finding questions students should ask of the employer during a job interview; and (12) job retention for students with LD.
KEY WORDS: Career Planning; Civil Rights Legislation; Community Colleges; Disabilities; Education Work Relationship; Employer Employee Relationship; Employment; Employment Interviews; Higher Education; Job Search Methods; Legal Responsibility; Postsecondary Education; Self Advocacy; Transitional Programs; Americans with Disabilities Act 1990; Reasonable Accommodation; Disabilities.
Steward, B. (2000). Fit to telework: The changing meaning of fitness in new forms of employment. Advances in Physiotherapy, 2(103-111).
This study looks at concepts of fitness based on the notion of an ideal body through medical and social definitions of the body's fit with employment demands. However with the advent of new forms of computer-based work done outside the centralized office, conventional definitions of fitness are changing. This study looks at teleworkers' experiences of work and health and suggests that home-based computer work changes the experiences and definition of fitness at work. Teleworkers appear not to recognize conventional criteria by which symptoms are defined as illness and so continue working when previously they would have taken sickness leave. As employee/employer relationships change and labour markets become more uncertain, teleworkers also appear to mask illnesses in fear of loosing their jobs. These responses result in them working longer into illness and returning sooner in convalescence. Also, when illness is identified, teleworkers work very long hours and take less time off work to compensate for low outputs of work. Reasons for this shift towards containment and masking are examined and the implications for therapists in relation to public health and rehabilitation.
KEY WORDS: Telework; Disability; Employment and Health.

Titchkosky, T. (2003). Disability, self, and society. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


This book is written by a teacher who has dyslexia. She discusses her experiences with dyslexia at work and in her personal life which is shared with her mate who is a blind sociologist/teacher. This book attends to the cultural processes of meaning-making surrounding disability. The lived experiences of both characters in this book provides a deeper understanding of the response of disability in society and its cultural renderings.
KEY WORDS: Teachers; Disability; Employment Experiences; Cultural Processes.

Verdugo, M. A., Jordan de Urries, F. B., Jenaro, C., Caballo, C., & Crespo, M. (2006). Quality of life of workers with an intellectual disability in supported employment. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 19(4), 309-316.


This study investigates quality of workers in sheltered and supported employment in Spain. Typicalness, the degree to which the characteristics of a job are the same as those of co-workers without a disability in the same company, was considered as one of the supported employment characteristics in the analysis. Correlational analysis of the data and multivariate analysis of variance shows that there are no differences between the two groups regarding quality of life. Results indicate that in supported employment, high levels of typicalness are associated with a higher quality of life. Handling of certain characteristics of support, for example the hours of direct external support are also related to the enhancement of quality of life. Workers in supported employment show the same quality of life as those in sheltered employment centers. In Spain, the greater the typicalness of employment, the higher the quality of life.
KEY WORDS: Quality of Life; Supported Employment; General Typicalness; Job Acquisition; Job Adaptations; Residential Status.
Wehmeyer, M. L., & Rousso, H. (2006). Achieving equity: Disability and gender. In C. Skelton, B. Francis & L. Smulyan (Eds.), The Sage handbook of gender and education (pp. 392-406). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
This chapter presents an overview of existing information on the status of educational opportunities for girls and young women with disabilities. Also examined are issues that hinder or help girls and young women with disabilities to achieve greater equity. The authors focus on the experiences of girls and young women because research shows that outcomes for this population are almost universally poorer than for others, including boys with disabilities. Specifically noted later, however, are issues pertaining to being male with a disability.
KEY WORDS: Education; Human Females; Disabilities; Human Sex Differences; Human; Female; Disability; Gender; Educational Opportunities.

White, L. F. (2002). Learning disability, pedagogies, and public discourse. College Composition and Communication, 53(4), 705-738.


Analyzes the public and professional discourse of learning disability, arguing that medical models of literacy misdirect teaching by narrowing its focus to remediation. Considers how resurgent demands for behaviorist pedagogies make understanding their continuing appeal important to composition studies. Discusses implications for the college writing classroom.
KEY WORDS: Educational Improvement; Higher Education; Learning Disabilities; Literacy; Models; Politics of Education; Remedial Programs; Public Discourse.

Wilton, R. (2004). From flexibility to accommodation: Disabled workers and the reinvention of paid work. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers (New Series), 29, 420-432.


This article reports on a qualitative case study with disabled workers in Hamilton, Ontario. He explores the extent to which disabled workers can exercise control in their work environments and labour processes. Unpacking the assumption that employment means liberation from state dependence, he considers how paid work constitutes a site for disciplining of disabled bodies/minds in contemporary society. Wilton identified three themes that characterized work experiences: training and multi-tasking, speed of labour process, and emotional and aesthetic labour. Wilton found respondents' frequent lack of control made obtaining accommodation at work a challenge. Respondents evaluated themselves according to embodied ideals: speed, adaptation, emotional management. Many respondents were faced with a double bind: request accommodation and risk getting labeled a 'problem worker,' or fail to meet performance norms and risk getting labeled a 'bad worker'. Withholding an accommodation request allowed workers to forge a 'normal' identity, but they risked disadvantage in a labour process modeled on a non-disabled norm. Making an accommodation request might improve a worker's labour process, but they risked getting labeled a recipient of 'special treatment' or provoking disciplinary reactions from supervisors, coworkers, or themselves. Wilton concludes, it is in employers' interests to ensure that accommodation remains constructed as a form of 'special treatment' for a minority population precisely because it threatens to disrupt existing labour processes and organizational cultures". He recommends we critically assess the value placed on employment, recognize diversity, and move from flexibility to accommodation.
KEY WORDS: Accommodation; Attitudes; Disability; Organizational Culture; Work.

Wonacott, M., E. (2003). Employment of people with disabilities. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement.


This book discusses application of the ADA's 'triple standard' of reasonable accommodations for performing essential job functions without undue hardship. The goal is to match jobs to individual abilities. Ten years after the ADA's passage, workers with disabilities are older, work fewer hours and are more likely to be single and less likely to have a college degree. They are still disproportionately represented in low-growth, low-wage occupations. Under ADA, the individual has the right to choose when or whether to disclose his or her disability or related information, but employers cannot be expected to provide reasonable accommodation for an undisclosed disability. Job seekers are advised to script and rehearse disclosure, minimizing medical terms, omitting medical treatment history and describing the disability briefly with stress on strengths and willingness to improve and ability to perform with or without accommodations. Reasonable accommodations range from simple to complex and cheap to expensive; information on them is available from many sources, including websites. The text concludes by arguing for strengthened mechanisms to help workers with disabilities and employers find appropriate matches between jobs and skills.
KEY WORDS: Assistive Technology; United States; Disabilities; Discrimination; Employment Practices; Equal Opportunities; Job Applicants; Self-disclosure; Adult Education; Employment Patterns; Salary; Labour Policy; Federal Legislation.

Wooten, L. P., & James, E. H. (2005). Challenges of organizational learning: Perpetuation of discrimination against employees with disabilities. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 23, 123-141.


Using a multi-case study using newspaper accounts of disability discrimination in the workplace, the authors explore why organizations do not comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against workers with disabilities. The authors contend that failures in eliminating disability discrimination reflect difficulties in organizational learning. Wooten and James identify five learning barriers: discriminatory organizational routines, organizational defense routes, reliance on reactive learning, Window dressing, and Lack of vicarious learning. The authors recommend leadership adopt a proactive stance; organizations take responsibility for learning how to comply with the ADA; stop window dressing to appear disability friendly; engage in reactive, reflective and vicarious learning to develop effective routines that prevent discrimination; and consider the organizational culture that values and encourages fair treatment of employees with disabilities.
KEY WORDS: Disability; Organizational Learning; Work.

Wright, A.-M. (2006). Provision for students with learning difficulties in general colleges of further education: Have we been going round in circles? British Journal of Special Education, 33(1), 33-39.


In this article, Anne-Marie Wright, lecturer at the University of Chester, considers the current situation for students with severe learning difficulties in general colleges of further education. She presents findings from a critical review of the literature and a small-scale preliminary investigation which set out to explore the idea that, despite radical changes to the special school sector and to the structure and organisation of further education, provision in colleges of further education for these students is poorly focused. Students with severe learning difficulties experience provision that is, at best, circuitous and repetitive and that, at worst, leads individuals back into dependence, unemployment and social segregation. Using the outcomes of her own interviews and the scrutiny of inspection reports, Anne-Marie Wright provides a searching critique of current practice and an interesting set of recommendations for ways in which the situation could be radically reviewed and improved.
KEY WORDS: Learning Problems; Literature Reviews; College Students; Attitudes toward Disabilities; Special Needs Students; Inclusive Schools; Foreign Countries; Criticism; Outcomes of Education; United Kingdom.




Section 5.4 Working Conditions, Stress and

Learning: Teachers and Other Workers




Abel, M. H., & Sewell, J. (1999). Stress and burnout in rural and urban secondary school teachers. Journal of Educational Research, 92(5), 287-293.
Surveys of rural and urban secondary teachers examined teacher stress and burnout. Urban teachers experienced significantly more stress from poor working conditions and staff relations. In both types of schools, student misbehavior and time pressures caused the highest stress. Working conditions and time pressures predicted burnout for rural teachers. Student misbehavior and working conditions predicted burnout for urban teachers.
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