Laszlo Jakubinyi

Ashoka Fellow
Miskolc, Hungary
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Laszlo Jakubinyi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Laszlo has developed a new health care delivery system for moderately and severely disabled people. His approach facilitates the idea that people with significant autism and other mental disabilities can manage and excel in employment. To prepare intellectually disabled people for the workforce, Laszlo relies on a number of insights. Laszlo believes a multi-stage rehabilitation model is the best way to prepare intellectually disabled people for independent lives. He begins with a physical space, where people with various intellectual disabilities are integrated, including non-disabled people. When participants are ready, they enter a “sheltered” employment program where they undergo paid work for four hours a day (i.e. contracted by Laszlo’s organization), and experience on-the-job training according to their skills and capacities. Once comfortable in this environment they move on to a longer-term “transit” employment program with more stringent responsibilities (i.e. arriving to work on time and finding their own means of transportation to and from work), and undergo evaluations to prepare them for the open labor market. This staged process mimics the fundamental idea that humans first need basic shelter and food, then access to things like employment and a steady income, in order to achieve dignity and fulfillment in life.

Laszlo’s second insight is that any approach to rehabilitation should mirror life’s setbacks and successes. He therefore constructs his model so participants can retreat if needed, regain confidence, and then re-engage with the program. Emotional crises do occur, such as a death in a family or a break-up, which can jeopardize an individual’s rehabilitation progression and set them back to the sheltered stage. Therefore, participants have access to a crisis center which offers therapy, including theater and puppetry therapies, to support them during emotional set-backs.

Laszlo also insists that rehabilitation services which integrate a broad range of disabilities are much more effective than a closed community limited to one or several disabilities. His open model differs from traditional services by providing services and activities that cut across numerous disabilities, physical to intellectual, and moderate to severe—and even incorporates non-disabled persons. For example, a blind person may work with a severely autistic person to train guide-dogs.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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