Leisure pursuits of persons with mental retardation attending sheltered workshop & supported employment

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Leisure pursuits of persons with mental retardation attending sheltered workshop & supported employment

 

Author: Wong, Pak-nam
Title: Leisure pursuits of persons with mental retardation attending sheltered workshop & supported employment
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1997
Subject: People with mental disabilities -- China -- Hong Kong
Social integration
People with mental disabilities -- Recreation
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Pages: ix, 127 p. : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1410554
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/3964
Abstract: The study aimed at exploring the social integration of young working adults with mental retardation in terms of their leisure pursuits when they progressed from sheltered workshops to supported employment. The objectives of this study were: (a) to examine the patterns of leisure participation of persons with mental retardation attending sheltered workshops and supported employment programmes; (b) to explore the extent of self-arrangement of their leisure pursuits; (c) to investigate their leisure companions; and (d) to study their enjoyment and expectations on leisure pursuits. Thirty subjects from sheltered workshops and twenty-four subjects from supported employment programmes were recruited. They were diagnosed as mild to moderate mental retardation and aged between 18 to 35 years. A questionnaire was developed for this study. The subjects were individually interviewed by the investigator of this study with the questionnaire. Besides descriptive analysis, Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare the difference between the two groups in the extent of leisure participation. Additionally, independent t test was done to compare specifically the differences in the participation in the home-based and out-of-home leisure activities. Statistical tests showed that both groups had similar patterns of leisure participation. The leisure participation of the subjects of both groups was mainly confined to the home-based leisure activities (mostly of the spectator type). Self-arrangement was mainly limited to their home-based leisure activities that did not require a high level of leisure skills. Family members were the major persons who arranged the leisure activities for the subjects and acted as their leisure companions, irrespective of the types of their employment programmes. The friendships of both groups were developed mainly with other persons with disabilities (co-workers for the sheltered workshop group and social club members for the supported employment group). Attendance at social clubs for persons with mental retardation (or other disabilities) was common for both groups. The subjects of both groups expressed enjoyment from participating in the leisure activities. Both groups mentioned physical, social, or creative / self-actualizing leisure activities as their most preferred leisure activities, rather than spectator ones. Both groups rated being entertained and social goals as the highly important goals for leisure pursuits. Killing time was rated as of low importance by both groups. The supported employment group was more concerned about personal development (acquiring skills and knowledge) than the sheltered workshop group. Dissatisfactions were found in the areas of adequacy of free time, leisure time, variety of leisure activities, and friendships. These findings indicated that both groups had their individual perceptions regarding own leisure pursuits. The findings of this study suggested that leisure pursuits of young adults with mental retardation in sheltered workshop placements and those in supported employment were similar. The progression from sheltered workshop placements to supported employment programmes did not have much impact on their leisure pursuits. The social networks were similar for both groups. As leisure pursuits was assumed to reflect the degree of social integration in the community, the present study suggested that mere supported employment did not promote the social integration for persons with mental retardation. The findings of this study suggested that improvement to the existing leisure service as well as the employment programmes would be needed. More resources should be put into the leisure service for persons with mental retardation. Leisure service needs to be geared to the social integration of persons with mental retardation through developing their leisure skills and knowledge, and providing support in leisure participation in the community. Furthermore, leisure service should facilitate development of self-determination and organization skills in leisure pursuits. Supported employment service should include social integration as its main purpose, through providing social skill training, and facilitating support and interactions with non-disabled co-workers in the workplace. On the other hand, sheltered workshop service should prepare the sheltered workshop workers for future placements in supported employment by including development of the skills and social support for independent leisure pursuits. Family members need assistance to provide opportunities and guidance for persons with mental retardation in arranging and doing their own leisure pursuits.

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