Healthy Living

Survey Helps Patients with Muscular Dystrophy and Other Disabilities Find Employment

Survey Helps Patients with Muscular Dystrophy and Other Disabilities Find Employment

In 2014, the first Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey was sent out to those with disabilities and muscular dystrophy to investigate their experiences in the workplace. And, since then, the Kessler Foundation has been looking for different approaches to help those with disabilities find and keep employment.  Questions looked into how patients:

  • Look for Work
  • Strive for Work
  • Prepare for Work
  • Overcome Barriers in the Job Search
  • Surmount Barriers in the Workplace
  • Workplace Accommodations

The findings of the survey were not so surprising. More than 68% of people with disabilities are determined to work. They are actively getting ready for employment opportunities, searching for work, having and keeping a job, and wanting to work as many hours as they can.

Americans with disabilities, including those with muscular dystrophy, are seeking ways to overcome barriers to finding employment and maintaining their jobs after hiring.

It is a fact that despite the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, unemployment rates for those with disabilities are much higher than for those without disabilities.

During the mid-2000s unemployment has reached a 30-year low. Those who wanted to work could find gainful employment.

However, people with disabilities are usually the last hired and the first fired. These same able people obtain less full-time employment than those without disabilities. Surveys have shown that of those with disabilities who were employed, 63.9% had full-time jobs while 81.5% of those without disabilities held full-time positions.

This survey sponsored by the Kessler Foundation is a positive step towards helping those with disabilities find meaningful and successful careers.

Why do a survey?

A huge step was made for those with disabilities in 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was passed. This act is a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against those with disabilities. The ADA requires covered employers to offer reasonable accommodations to those with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act also provides for accessibility requirements to public accommodations.

The Kessler survey was designed to find the strategies and resources necessary to help those with disabilities find and maintain employment. With the findings from this survey, new programs and policies to improve employment can be developed for those who deserve and want to work.

Results of the survey are published in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation entitled, “Striving to work and overcoming barriers: Employment strategies and successes of people with disabilities.”

The survey reported that 68.4% of those with disabilities are currently working or looking for employment.