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Li, J-Y. (Jen-Yi)
Chen, Der-Thanq
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The transition from school into adulthood is an important one, marked by new roles and responsibilities taken on by youth upon leaving school. Little is known of the post-school journey taken by youth with intellectual disability. This study is a qualitative investigation into the post-school quality of life of four young adults with intellectual disability. They tell their views and feelings regarding their life experiences since leaving school. This study specifically addresses the question: How do Singaporean youth with intellectual disability perceive their post-school quality of life?

This study is guided and underpinned by the theoretical framework of a quality of life (QOL) approach. Such an approach is broad-based and holistic, thus enabling an inquiry into a wide range of life aspects. Using a case study design, data was collected from the four main participants, as well as secondary participants such as parents. A fine-grained analysis of data was carried out through coding, sorting and reviewing data and constantly comparing within each case, and also across the cases. The QOL theoretical framework also guided the data analysis process. As themes emerged and were refined, rich and storied accounts of the participants’ lives, as told by them, developed. One young woman found her job gave her life meaning and enjoyment, while one young man who attended an adult centre felt disengaged and unmotivated. Another young man had a steady job, attentive parents and opportunities to travel, but had little autonomy over his life. The fourth participant, a young woman, felt stifled with having to stay home ever since she left school. All four had supportive families but few friends, and seldom made use of community facilities. Insights were gained into issues of loneliness, parental support and also constraints, and the multiple meanings of employment for these young persons, as well as the tensions in negotiating identity and autonomy upon achieving adulthood.

This study represents a platform for young people with intellectual disability to articulate their perceptions of their post-school life, which in turn provide direct and useful insights for various stake-holders in the field: families, schools, service providers, policy makers and the wider community. Issues of voice, agency and interdependence are also raised and discussed. It is hoped that this study will go some way towards enhancing the quality of life of individuals with intellectual disability.
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HV1569.3.Y68 Kri
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Appears in Collections:Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

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