Employment and Volunteering for Adults With Intellectual Disability

David Trembath, Susan Balandin, Roger J. Stancliffe, Leanne Togher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Employment is a fundamental part of adult life. Adults with intellectual disability (ID) face multiple barriers to employment, however, and are underrepresented in the paid workforce. Formal volunteering has been promoted as both a stepping stone and an alternative to employment for some adults with disability. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of research findings relating to volunteering and employment for work-age adults with ID. Few studies have examined the experiences of adults with ID who volunteer. The findings indicate that volunteering alone is unlikely to lead to employment for adults with ID. However, some adults with ID view volunteering as a meaningful and desirable alternative to paid work. There is a need for further research to examine the relationship between volunteering and employment for adults with ID. In addition, there is a need for practice guidelines to ensure that the outcomes for adults with ID who volunteer, and those who seek paid employment, are successful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-238
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Competitive employment
  • Intellectual disability
  • Paid work
  • Participation
  • Volunteer


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