RESEARCH

The following research articles and sources are peer-reviewed and of the highest credibility in the fields of behavior, employment, and vocational rehabilitation and cite barriers to positive outcomes and strategies and interventions for overcoming challenges in the domains of communication, independence, and employment for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities and other skill challenges. It is paramount to implement, with fidelity, evidence-based practice (EBP) strategies, interventions, and approaches with data collection and analysis guiding decision making, group and individualized programming, and effectively teaching, maintaining, and generalizing skills and behaviors to realize the most viable outcomes.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) and procedures are core to Balance MI-Skills services. Clinicians are trained, certified, and licensed in the fields of behavior, education, social skills interventions, and employment. Areas targeted for teaching include: social, soft, and relationship skills; dating and relationships; independence by teaching self-advocacy, self-monitoring, and self-management skills; application of social, relational, and soft skills in a work setting; and supported and customized integrated employment best practices. Many of the group training opportunities are based on the UCLA PEERS curriculum, one of the few evidence based social skills training program. Facilitators are certified and/or trained in the PEERS model. Training topics have been expanded while delivery aligns closely with the PEERS model.  

Communication, Social, Soft Skills

  • Agran, M., Hughes, C., Thoma, C., Scott, L. (2016). Employment social skills: What are really valued? Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 32(2), 111-120. 

    • Job are lost because of individuals with disabilities not being able to fit in work settings socially, not because they cannot do the job

    • Employers have expectations of all employees (with or without disabilities) such as getting along with co-works, not complaining or interrupting, requesting and providing assistance, and responding appropriately to constructive feedback

    • Instructional time spent on employability and technical skills at the exclusion of social skills

    • Not teaching these skills impedes future success at work and in the community

  • Lippman, L. H., Ryberg, R., Carney, R., & Moore, K. A. (2015). Workforce connections: Key “soft skills” that foster youth workforce success: Toward a consensus across fields. Child Trends. www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1865/KeySoftSkills.pdf

    • As we move to a more global world dependent on technology using non-routine tasks and dependent on team work and communication, the demand for a workforce solid in soft skills is growing​

    • Results show across the disciplines of education, vocational rehabilitation, key youth workforce success predictors are higher order thinking skills, communication, positive self-concept, self-control, and social skills (seen as critically important and predict workforce outcomes). All were interrelated.  

  • Magrin, E., Marina, E., Nicolotti, M. (2019). Employability of disabled graduates: Resources for a sustainable employment. Sustainability, 11, 5-17.

    • Individual's perception of employability and self empowerment correlated with perceived impact of disability

    • Previous work experiences increased perceived employability and may foster development of soft skills

  • PEERS Research on Social Relationship Skills for Teens and Adult--all can be found at the UCLA PEERS website

Employment

  • Magrin, E., Marina, E., Nicolotti, M. (2019). Employability of disabled graduates: Resources for a sustainable employment. Sustainability, 11, 5-17.

    • Individual's perception of employability and self empowerment correlated with perceived impact of disability

    • Previous work experiences increased perceived employability and may foster development of soft skills

  • Noel, V.A., Oulvey, E., Drake, R., Bond, G. (2017). Barriers to employment for transition-age youth with developmental and psychiatric disabilities. Adm Policy Ment Health 44, 354–358 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-016-0773-y

    • More awareness needed by employers and those training individuals with disabilities of common issues and barriers, including those related to specific disability groups, which may help anticipate employment barriers​

    • Lack of social skills was a common barrier to employment and targeted social skills training should be considered

  • Phillips, B., Reyes, A., Chan, F. (2018). Evaluating effectiveness of a multi-component demand side intervention toolkit for VR professionals to improve employment outcomes of people with physical disabilities: A randomized controlled trial study. Research Brief: Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment with People with Physical Disabilities. Retrieve source.

    • Little attention has been given to understanding achievement of social effectiveness in workforce

    • Connecting with others at an emotional level can influence perceptions of workplace social effectiveness and maintaining employment

Independence and Self-Advocacy and Employment

  • Clark, K., Test, D., Konrad, M. (2019). Teaching soft skills to students with disabilities with UPGRADE your performance. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 54(1), 41-56. Retrieve Source.

    • Post-school employment outcomes continue to be inadequate for individuals with disabilities with soft skills being a primary deficit

    • Maintenance training improved generalization of targeted soft skills between settings

    • Greater generalization when fading presence of trained interventionist and student continued to self monitor performance