McNaughton, D., Symons, G., Light, J., Parsons, A., (2006). “My Dream Was to Pay Taxes”: The Self-Employment Experiences of Individuals who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication. This manuscript appears in Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 2006 VOL. 25 (3), pp. 181-196. [Full Text].
Seven self-employed individuals with cerebral palsy who used augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) participated in a focus group discussion conducted on the Internet. Six themes emerged from the discussion: (a) description of employment activities, (b) benefits of self-employment, (c) negative impacts of self-employment, (d) barriers to employment, (e) supports to self-employment, and (f) recommendations for improving self-employment outcomes for individuals with cerebral palsy who use AAC. For the individuals in this study, self-employment provided financial benefits, meaningful work activities, and an opportunity to realize personal expectations for participation in society. Negative societal attitudes and limited educational experiences were identified as major barriers to employment, while personal characteristics such as a willingness to take on challenges and an interest in demonstrating personal competence were seen as important supports.