Knowledge Library

Social Inclusion and Community Participation of Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

As more individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities are physically included in community life, in schools, neighborhoods, jobs, recreation, and congregations, the challenge of going beyond physical inclusion to true social inclusion becomes more apparent. This article summarizes the status of the research about community participation and social inclusion, summarizes some debates and points of contention, notes emerging research issues, and highlights needed areas of research. It is clear that most research on these topics has been conducted with individuals who are in paid formal services, and there are great needs for understanding the community participation of individuals who live on their own or with their families, as well as researching social inclusion by focusing on the attitudes and experiences of community members themselves, not just individuals with disabilities and paid providers.

Participation and Intellectual Disability: A Review of the Literature

Participation is a central aspect of human functioning and a key focus of research and practice in the intellectual disability field. However, there is not an accepted definition of participation that guides research and practice. To inform the development of a definition, a scoping review of the intellectual disability literature from 2001−2015 was conducted. Findings suggest that existing research rarely uses definitions of participation, but does examine participation across multiple domains and addresses issues of access and inclusion. Less focus was placed on individual aspects of participation such as meaning, responsibility, and choice. Based on the findings, implications for future research and practice are provided.

Expanding Inclusive Educational Opportunities for Students With the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Through Personalized Supports

Progress in including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in general education environments has been unquestionably slow during the past quarter century. Systematic approaches to identifying and arranging supports are needed to accelerate this outcome. In this article, we propose an approach to understanding students by their support needs in relation to curricular demands, instructional strategies, and participation requirements as a means to enhance the capacities of schools and general education classrooms to educate all students.

The effect of different types of employment on quality of life

Despite research that has investigated whether the financial benefits of open employment exceed the costs, there has been scant research as to the effect sheltered and open employment have upon the quality of life of participants. The importance of this research is threefold: it investigates outcomes explicitly in terms of quality of life; the sample size is comparatively large; and it uses an established and validated questionnaire.
One hundred and seventeen people with intellectual disability (ID) who were employed in either open or sheltered employment by disability employment agencies were interviewed. Quality of life was assessed using the Quality of Life Questionnaire. After making an initial assessment to see whether the outcomes achieved depended on type of employment, quality of life scores were analyzed
controlling for participants’ level of functional work ability (assessed via the Functional Assessment Inventory).
The results showed that participants placed in open employment reported statistically significant higher quality of life scores. When the sample was split based upon participants’ functional work ability, the type of employment had no effect on the reported quality of life for participants with a low functional work ability. However, for those participants with a high functional work ability, those in open employment reported statistically significantly higher quality of life.
The results of this study support the placement of people with ID with high functional work ability into open employment. However, a degree of caution needs to be taken in interpreting the results presented given the disparity in income levels between the two types of employment.

Differentiated Effects of Paper and Computer-Assisted Social Stories™ on Inappropriate Behavior in Children With Autism

Despite evidence from previous studies that support using Social Stories™ for problem behaviors, research conducted with more rigorous controls is needed to examine whether or not Social Stories constitute an evidence-based practice.This study employed an ABABCBC single-subject design comparing a Social Story presented in two formats across three elementary-age students with autism. Interpretation of the results documents a decrease in the frequency of problem behavior for each participant. Outcomes were slightly better for the PowerPoint™ format than for the paper format. Results were maintained in the training setting and were generalized to another setting with a single verbal prompt. Teachers reported that the PowerPoint format was easily implemented, and students indicated that they liked the computer-assisted format.