The educational situation and transition process to work of Austrian school leavers with an intellectual disability

Year: 2012

Author: Fasching, Helga

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


An ongoing research project at the Department of Education and Human Development of the University of Vienna funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) over a period of three years (2008-2013, attempts to gather data on the participation experiences of people with an intellectual impairment diagnosis who are undergoing the transition from school to working life or who are already participating in working life.

The aim of the research project is to reconstruct objectively identifiable as well as subjectively experienced participation in the life history of people with intellectual disability undergoing this transition process as well as their participation experiences on the labour market under special consideration of institutional preconditions in Austria.

For this purpose, a nationwide full-population survey was undertaken in 2009/10 which was targeted especially at the transition from school to working life on the level of objectively identifiable participation; this survey included two specifically designed interviewing rounds with school district superintendents and parents at two different points in time. These interviews gathered personal data on the school situation, the educational and transition process as well as the support needs of an entire age group (n=3000) which has been taught either according to the syllabus for severely disabled students or according to the syllabus for general special schools and who graduated from school at the end of the academic year 2009. The focus of the research project, however, is on capturing the subjective perspective of the persons concerned by using methods of participative research with intellectually impaired people and by working with reference groups in the process of validating qualitative research data.

In this presentation, I will only present and discuss important results on quantitative data of a nationwide full-population survey with parents concerning the educational and transition processes to work of school leavers with an intellectual disability in Austria. In doing so, I will especially concentrate on the question to what extent the school type (inclusive education or special school), the curriculum, the number of school years and career counselling affect the transition period from school to work of school leavers with an intellectual disability.