The role of volunteers in the social integration of people with intellectual disabilities

Venema, E., Vlaskamp, C. & Otten, S., 2018, In : Research and practice in intellectual and developmental disabilities. 5, 2, p. 154-167 14 p.

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Direct support workers play an important role in the social integration process of people with intellectual disabilities. However, time restrictions and client-worker ratios may make improvements to even physical integration difficult, and in some cases almost impossible. This research, conducted in the Netherlands, investigated the role of volunteers in enhancing the physical integration of people with intellectual disabilities, as the first step towards social integration. Study 1 involved an exploratory inventory of volunteer tasks in a large disability service organisation; in Study 2, support workers completed a questionnaire in which they rated the tasks suitable for volunteers to undertake. Most volunteers performed activities that enabled people with intellectual disabilities to be physically integrated in the community. The most frequent of these was "assisting with group activities." Most support workers believed that supporting community-based activities was not a suitable task for volunteers. Although volunteers already play a role in the social integration of people with intellectual disabilities, support workers did not acknowledge or were unaware of this role and the associated current and future possibilities for supporting people with intellectual disabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-167
Number of pages14
JournalResearch and practice in intellectual and developmental disabilities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Intellectual disabilities, social integration, volunteers, direct support professionals, direct support workers, COMMUNITY, SUPPORT, DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION, PARTICIPATION, INCLUSION, ADULTS, MODEL, LIFE

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