254363 Transitioning Together: Health promotion strategies for pre-employment skill building for young adults with disabilities

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Elizabeth Kemeny, PhD , Slippery Rock University of PA, Slippery Rock, PA
Robert Arnhold Jr., PhD , College of Health, Environment, and Science, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock, PA
Mentoring programs have recently been developed in a variety of contexts, such as youth development programs and education of professionals, as well as leadership development in industry. Youth development mentoring aims to promote positive growth in life skills by enabling young people to transition to community independent living and employment(DuBois, Holloway, Valentine, & Cooper, 2002). Noted by some as the most important aspect of positive youth development in communities, effective, high-quality mentoring programs allow youth to engage in productive social relations, better academic achievement, and improved self-efficacy (Rhoades, Spencer, Keller, Liang, & Noam, 2006). While the literature supports the use self-efficacy building as a means for improving physical activity (Peterson, Lowe, Peterson, Nothwehr, Janz, & Lobas, 2008), no known research explores health promotion mentoring of individuals with disabilities. Likewise, a paucity of research exists comparing physical fitness with job-skill readiness. Drum et al. (2009) suggest that very few theoretical models of health behavior have been evaluated among individuals with disabilities. This study has been conducted to investigate the effect of pre-employment skill-building mentoring in farm/animal husbandry environments on physical activity and physical fitness compared to mentoring of physical activity in traditional recreation settings on young adults with disabilities on the Autism Spectrum. Preliminary data demonstrates that youth with disabilities significantly increase fine-motor skill, flexibility, and strenth during pre-employment skill building activities in farm/animal activities. The result of this research addressing mentoring, physical activity, physical fitness, and pre-employment job-training will be discussed in greater detail.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how mentoring strategies are used in pre-employment skill-building activities for young adults with disabilities. 2. Explain the relationship between physical and motor fitness and pre-employment skills for young adults with disabilities. 3. Discuss mentor outcomes and relationships built during mentoring actiities with young adults with disabilities.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Director of the Center on Disability and Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.