A study on the tendency of candidates in Kanagawa employment and training center for mental retardation

Tomoko SUGANO, Akiko YOSHIDA, Takeshi MATSUISHI, Harutada SAKAI

Department of Special Education, Faculty of Education and Human Sciences, Yokohama National University.

Kanagawa employment and training center was established in 1987 to help individuals with mental retardation obtain competitive employment. In this study we carried out an investigation to determine the kind of person applying to this center and qualities associated with successful application from 1988 to1991. The total number of applicants was 154 of which 120 candidates were successful.
The result of the survey showed that most of the applicants were classified as mildly mentally retarded. The average IQ of the successful candidates was 58.6. A feature of this group was that their work capacity, as estimated by GATB2 (Japanese standard test of working skill), did not correlate with their IQ score. When compared with a sample population with similar level of IQ their work capacity was significantly higher. In particular the working capacity of people with autistic disorder was significantly higher than those without the disorder.People with autistic disorder made up 30% of the total number of successful candidates within the first two years. Due to problems with social adaptation encountered by people with autistic disorder the center was forced to decrease the number of candidates with autistic disorder year by year. These problems were due to too much emphasis been placed on work capacity during the selection process and not enough attention to levels of social adaptation. While the aim of this center, which is to obtain employment, was achieved, for people with autistic disorder many problems relating to social adaptation were encountered during the training process.
In conclusion the authors emphasize of the importance of evaluating the extent of their social adaptation capacity in addition to their work capacity, in the management of the employment and occupation training of people with autistic disorder.
(originally published in Kanagawa Seishinigaku kaishi, Journal of Kanagawa Psychiatry Association, 46: 67-73, 1997)