The meaning of vocational training for mentally retarded individuals

Silvia Márcia Ferreira MELETTI

ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to investigate the meaning of vocational training for mentally retarded individuals with and without competitive job experience. Six individuals participated, of whom five were clients of a sheltered workshop and one was a former client who, at the time of the study, was holding a job at the community. Interviews were conducted during which the participants talked about their work. These conversations were tape recorded, and later were transcribed and analyzed. The contents were organized in the format of texts and presented to the participants in the course of the interviews. Data analyses started with the identification of the utterances to be accounted for, taking as basis the expressed contents of the interviews, the topics brought about by each of the participants and their relevance to the main objective of the study. This was followed by the identification of the dominant themes which were taken from the specific utterances and their context. Next, the utterances were grouped around each of the themes and were accordingly grouped in sub-themes, categories and sub-categories. The data showed that the meaning of vocational rehabilitation is a path for production relations; a means to pursue continued education; to experience work in the form of sub-contracts; an alternative to unemployment and idleness; a form to show good behavior; to be recognized as a person and professionally; but was also shown that vocational rehabilitation means a path for being stigmatized.

KEYWORDS: Mental deficiency; vocational training; Special Education.

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