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Narratives of ideal and second-option jobs among young adults with high functioning autism
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7257-0956
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6330-5640
2019 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 104-117Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The meaning of work is different for people in different social groups, and research exploring perceptions of meaningful work among adults with high-functioning autism (HFA) is scarce. The aim of this paper is to explore how narratives of satisfactory and meaningful future jobs are portrayed relative to two alternative discourses of work – the 'obligation to work' discourse, and the 'disability rights' discourse. This group of individuals are high functioning on the one hand, while at the same time holding legally-mandated special disability rights, an exploration of how this group reason about work-life and satisfactory jobs is particularly interesting. Through ethnographic fieldwork in Sweden, seven young adults with HFA were followed, and 17 interviews were conducted. The main findings and conclusions are that jobs that are individually assessed to be ‘ideal’, are put aside in favor of jobs that are more compatible with general labor market demands, as long as enjoyment and meaningfulness can still be experienced.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019. Vol. 9, no 2, p. 104-117
Keywords [en]
Citizen-worker, high functioning autism, meaningful work, vocational support, work-life
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-150586DOI: 10.1080/2156857X.2018.1484385Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85091426175OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-150586DiVA, id: diva2:1238381
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2012-1111Available from: 2018-08-13 Created: 2018-08-13 Last updated: 2023-03-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ett meningsfullt liv med arbete?: Högfungerande individer med autism mellan funktionshinder- och arbetsmarknadspolitik
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ett meningsfullt liv med arbete?: Högfungerande individer med autism mellan funktionshinder- och arbetsmarknadspolitik
2021 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to study notions of employment among high-functioning individuals with autism (HiA) and their experiences of vocational rehabilitation or work-preparatory programs and to analyze how these experiences reflect upon the labor market policy’s and disability policy’s common shared goal of supporting individuals towards a socially included life with meaningful work. This study was conducted through ethnographic fieldwork in a private company (VRP) that operated as a service provider for the Employment Service Agency, and a Swedish residential folk high school (FHS). Both of the organizations provided work-preparative programs specifically for HiA. Three of the four sub-studies are based on qualitative data consisting of individual interviews, focus group interviews, and field notes from participant observations. The fourth sub-study represents an analysis of legal documents targeting employment and health in disability policy.

The results in sub-study 1 illustrate that the narratives provided by HiA strongly address the subject position of the citizen-worker. Their suggested ideal jobs were deprioritized in favor of more available jobs on the market. The central incentives to pursue either the ideal or second-option jobs can be identified as the personal perception of attaining a sense of meaningfulness through work, which was depicted as central to the sense of self-fulfillment, identity, and wellbeing. As the second sub-study shows, the fulfillment of personal ambitions and ideas of meaningful work was not met in the case of the VRP participants. Social inclusion was not experienced as a result of the received service provisions. The results rather indicate a manifestation of the normalization principle’s basic attributes with regard to spatial integration in work-like activities (disability-worker contexts) rather than social inclusion on an equal basis with others (citizen-worker contexts). The third sub-study then showcases how social work practices were produced at the intersection of clients’ needs and personas and the organizations’ conditional premises in FHS and VRP. The analysis resulted in the conclusion that a person-centered approach was lacking in the VRP whereas highly present in the FHS. The fourth and last sub-study focuses on how Swedish disability policy is constructed to meet the objectives of the CRPD regarding active citizenship that is associated with health (engagements in private life, work-life, community life, social/family life, etc.) and thereby full participation on an equal basis with others. The results suggest that the policy area of employment, implicitly and explicitly, overshadows the policy area of health and intimately associated life-areas that are important to wellbeing.

The conclusions are that FHS and ARP both reflect a strong dedication to provide services that aim towards preparing individuals for work. However, a more holistic approach in professional practices must be practiced in VRPs if a socially included life with a sustainable work situation for HiA is strived for. With regard to a socially included life with meaningful work, the above must be accounted for in addition to individuals’ personal perceptions and notions of meaningfulness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2021. p. 131
Series
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 98
Keywords
Disability policy, ethnographic fieldwork, high-functioning individuals with autism, labour market policy, meaningful work, social inclusion, welfare services.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-183208 (URN)978-91-7855-517-8 (ISBN)978-91-7855-518-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2021-06-11, Triple Helix, Universitetsledningshuset, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2012-1111
Note

Serienummer saknas i publikationen. 

Available from: 2021-05-21 Created: 2021-05-18 Last updated: 2021-05-21Bibliographically approved

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Nouf-Latif, FatenBertilsdotter-Rosqvist, HannaMarkström, Urban

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