Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Brent T. Williams

Committee Member

Stephanie L. Lusk

Second Committee Member

Barbara C. Gartin

Third Committee Member

Mary A. Ramey


Psychology, Health and environmental sciences, Education, Community-based rehabilitation, Disabilities, Inclusion, Participation, Rehabilitation, Visual impairment


Young adults with a visual impairment (VI) experience less interaction with the community that impacts the way they relate to the world as they transition to the larger society where they face significant barriers of adjustment, exclusion, and work participation. Young adults with VI contend with cultural stigma, inequality, poor self-esteem caused by marginalization, a low quality of life (QOL), and lack of Social support systems that exist beyond the home. The aim of this study was to understand the perceptions of young adults with VI in Elgeyo-Marakwet and Kisumu Counties of Kenya concerning the barriers to community inclusion and work participation that they have experienced in education, health, Social, economic, and cultural settings in everyday interaction. The study sought to further understand what was perceived as barriers that young adults with VI must deal with when living with visual impairment from the perspective of a focus group composed of members of the community. This study contends that a community-based rehabilitation (CBR) strategy affords the opportunity to coordinate communities in identifying access needs and mobilize resources to address common goals within the human sociocultural environment. The concept of CBR is an effective tool in promoting Social change and enabling young adults with VI to advocate for community inclusion and work participation. CBR recognizes that disability is nested in widespread poverty, unequal distribution of resources, Social stigma, and unequal access to work participation. The theoretical framework of the study was based on the functional model of disability as defined by the International Classification of Functioning (ICF) that discounts the presumption that disability relegates productivity. The study utilized qualitative research case study design based on interviews, observation, document collection and photovoice; a community-based participatory research (CBPR) strategy in data collection. Photovoice is a focus group approach utilized whereby the participants took photographs of scenes and expressed their viewpoints by telling their stories of what those photographs represent in terms of their perceptions on non-participation, exclusion, or otherwise of young adults with VI. Data was organized into themes and presented in the form of narratives and visual representation through the use of tables.