The Prevocational and Early Employment Needs of Adolescents with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: The Adolescent Perspective
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Shaw, K.L., Hackett, J., Southwood, T.R. and McDonagh, J.E. (2006) ‘The prevocational and early employment needs of adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: the adolescent perspective’, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(3), pp. 98–105. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/030802260606900302.
The purpose of this study was to explore the prevocational needs of adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) from their own perspectives. A focus group discussion was undertaken with eight adolescents with JIA (14.2–16.6 years) attending one United Kingdom hospital. The topics of interest were (i) attitudes towards education, prevocational readiness and employment in relation to JIA; (ii) perceived barriers; (iii) coping strategies; and (iv) preferred sources of support. The data were analysed according to standardised procedures that included data reduction, data display, conclusion drawing and conclusion verifying. The provision of vocational support for young people with JIA was reported to be uncoordinated, limited and unresponsive to individual needs. A recurrent theme was that professionals generally underestimated adolescents' educational and vocational potential. This was felt to be true of teachers, careers advisers, admissions personnel at colleges and universities and potential employers. Most adolescents worried about discrimination and those in whom the JIA was not visible felt a dilemma about disclosure to potential employers. The current framework of careers advice appeared to have failed the adolescents in this study who, in the absence of satisfactory support, found themselves consulting health professionals instead. Greater careers advice support for adolescents and professionals is warranted.