"Home is at work and work is at home": Telework and individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication.

Work (Reading, Mass.)

PubMedID: 24763351

McNaughton D, Rackensperger T, Dorn D, Wilson N. "Home is at work and work is at home": Telework and individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication. Work. 2014;.
BACKGROUND
Telework, the use of distance communication technologies to participate in the workforce, has been suggested as a promising employment strategy for individuals with disabilities.

OBJECTIVE
The goal of this study was to obtain a better understanding of the benefits and negative impacts of telework, as well as the supports and challenges to telework activities, for persons who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).METHODS: This study used a series of focus group discussions, conducted on the internet, to examine the employment experiences of nine individuals with disabilities who used AAC and who held jobs that involved the use of telework.

RESULTS
Four major themes emerged from the discussion: (a) benefits of telework, (b) negative impacts of telework, (c) strategies for addressing negative impacts of telework, and (d) recommendations for improving employment outcomes for individuals who use AAC.

CONCLUSIONS
In summary, while participants identified the elimination of travel time and flexible work schedules as key strengths of telework, concerns were expressed regarding feelings of isolation and the difficulty in separating home and work environments. The participants also emphasized the important role of educational programs in supporting the acquisition of literacy and self-advocacy skills, and the need for post-secondary programs to support the school-to-workplace transition.