Conceptualizing the past and present to see a new potential for the future: a UDL aligned job search strategy survey for individuals with hidden disabilities

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Lyons-MacFarlane, Margaret
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Recent graduates that identify as having a disability struggle more than their peers in obtaining employment. A cross-Canada study conducted in 2013 estimated there to be over 42,000 unemployed post-secondary graduates with disabilities. Reports on post-secondary graduate unemployment rates and studies related to university and job search experiences do not differentiate between visible and non-visible disability. The complicated history of the disability experience needs to be kept in mind when considering the needs of individuals with disabilities and ways we can take positive steps forward in an evidence-based way. There is also a need to better understand the experiences and employment rates of people with non-visible disabilities. The purpose of this thesis is to develop a tool to assess job search experiences for university graduates with non-visible disabilities, the intention is to design the tool in such a way that it can be used by the individual as well as for conducting research. By designing a duel purpose tool, it can be helping individuals with hidden disabilities now while also contributing to the research processes that will help in building a better future. A 3-part questionnaire was developed by taking the principles of universal design for learning from the classroom into the job search process. The tool consists of an interchangeable demographic section, one is meant for research while the other is designed in a more personal support way. The second section is a questionnaire meant to reflect on work and job search experiences survey. The final section is a UDL aligned checklist that is designed to scale responses. By using the principles of UDL there will be multiple means of accessing the assessment/research material, understanding the content, and expressing circumstances. This tool purpose will serve as a step toward more progressive inclusion by providing benefits to participants and providers alike combined with the multiple options for format delivery.
Hidden disability, University, Employment, Career, Universal Design for Learning