Location: Ocotillo B

Flirting Beyond Barriers: Cultivating Romantic Relationships within the IDD Community

Dillon et al. (2011) describe identity development as an ongoing process of exploring one’s sense of self regarding a set of values and beliefs. As a part of this progression, an individual examines how they would like to maintain consistency in their values, including sexual identity. Recent research has suggested that identity development takes place through adolescence and adulthood (Dillon et. al, 2011). Individuals with IDD have similar sexual desires, needs, and curiosities as those in the general population, but are consistently excluded from conversations about sex and relationships (Gougeon, 2009). There have been legislative efforts to advocate for the rights of individuals with IDD, however, Neuman (2022) notes that efforts have not adequately addressed inequities and the unique needs of IDD populations. Despite the salient role of socialization in the development of sexual identity, individuals with IDD report being told that parenthood was not an option or that their lives were already too complicated to include intimate relationships (Neuman, 2022; Booth, 2000; Booth & Booth, 2004). Given this discrepancy in education and the inequitable considerations for individuals with IDD, this project aims to amplify their voices and include them in conversations about sexuality development.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will gain an accurate understanding of the attitudes, experiences, and desires of individuals with IDD centering around relationships: Video-recorded interviews will provide an opportunity for the voices of individuals with IDD to be heard. These first-hand narratives will offer participants a new perspective of sexuality development among individuals with IDD. Participants will further their understanding of the nature of sexuality development and disrupt negative societal stereotypes.
2. Participants will be encouraged to include individuals with IDD in discussions concerning sexuality development: Adults with IDD are commonly excluded from conversations around sexual and romantic relationships. Amplifying the voices of adults with IDD will cultivate healthy environments for discussions regarding sexuality development. Accurate depictions of lived experiences among adults with IDD will encourage inclusion in formal and informal conversations concerning sexual and romantic relationships.
3. Participants will learn to disrupt harmful assumptions around human development for individuals with IDD: Participants will be encouraged to de-stigmatize societal beliefs that people with IDD are asexual or incapable of participating in a romantic relationship. Recognizing adults with IDD as sexual beings will create an environment for healthy sexuality development.

Developing the Self in a Community through Poetry and AI

While there is little research available at this time on using AI with individuals with intellectual disabilities, the presenters do have experience using AI with both university-level classrooms and current research with individuals with intellectual disabilities. In these situations, the participants have learned how to be thoughtful and intentional about their use of this technology and see it as a tool rather than a replacement for their own creativity, while also embracing the dynamics of the language, images, and concepts that it may provide. In their work, Ippolito, Yuan, Coenen, and Burnam (2022) followed professional creative writers in their use of a specific AI tool, Wordcraft, and found that these particular authors used it primarily as a search tool rather than a crafting tool, but would also ask it to describe particular scenes (a memorable moment, for instance) or used it to help with editing. Our experiences, however, have asked students to use their chosen AI tools to help them develop a more robust language usage and visualization of their work, while also using it to create deeper meaning to their own work.

Key Learning Outcomes

1) Participants in this presentation will learn skills to integrate artificial intelligence into their practice.
2) Participants in this presentation will learn about different artificial intelligence tools that will support individuals in developing language, descriptive skills, and images that are representative of their ideas.
3) Participants in this presentation will have the opportunity to see how artificial intelligence tools were used with individuals to create poetry and visualizations of that poetry to enhance their individual expression, connections to one another, and to a greater community.

Inclusive Pathways: Enhancing Higher Education for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Over the past decade, a significant expansion has occurred in national programs offering post-secondary options for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD). However, few of these programs exhibit full inclusivity and possess empirical evidence supporting their efficacy. According to Alqazlan et al. (2019), individuals with I/DD who access opportunities and support within inclusive post-secondary education (PSE) settings are poised for meaningful employment, community integration, social acceptance, and independent living (Miller et al., 2018). Additionally, peer supports, including peer mentoring, have demonstrated effectiveness in fostering positive academic, social, employment, and mental health outcomes (Wilt and Morningstar, 2020). Nevertheless, data suggests minimal opportunities and supports in Arizona to facilitate these outcomes effectively (Cawthorne, 2016; Milem et al., 2016). The Supporting Inclusive Practices in College (SIP-C) program provides comprehensive support to students with I/DD across Northern Arizona’s expansive territory. A SIP-C participant will share their firsthand experience navigating college with a learning disability, illustrating how academic and natural supports contributed to their success and positive collegiate experience.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the significance of inclusive higher education for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including its impact on employment, community integration, and independent living.

2. Explore effective peer support strategies, such as peer mentoring, in fostering positive outcomes for students with disabilities in post-secondary education.

3. Gain insights into the challenges and opportunities of inclusive practices in higher education, focusing on the SIP-C program in Northern Arizona and its role in supporting student success.

Including a Co-Teacher with an Intellectual Disability in a University Class: Meet Justice and John

There is not a lot of research on this subject but we are going to highlight feedback from our students both formally and informally that will demonstrate how Justice has had a positive impact on the class.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will be encouraged to think outside-the-box in what kinds of jobs people with intellectual disabilities can do during work transition programs and beyond.
2. Participants will learn specific strategies on how to co-teach with someone with an intellectual disability in a university setting.
3. Participants will understand that including a co-teacher with an intellectual disability helps the teacher with ID learn valuable work and leadership skills while also helping to enrich the classroom and give the students direct access to the lived disability experience.

Analysis of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Transition-age Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Arizona

To answer the questions posed by the ADDPC regarding how well is Arizona’s VR program performing in helping transition-age youth (ages 14–24) with IDD obtain their employment goals, the authors of the report: reviewed Arizona policy documents that currently guide their VR services, reviewed Arizona’s data regarding employment outcomes for transition-age youth with disabilities and adults with IDD, and conducted interviews and focus groups with individuals who were knowledgeable about Arizona VR. The authors used a constant comparative method of analyzing the data from within and across data types to identify themes (Charmaz, 2000; Degeneffe & Olney, 2010; Dellve et al., 2000; Kendall, 1999; Mactavish & Schleien, 2004). We assigned each document to at least one unit of analysis. Examples of units of analysis might include “high satisfaction” or “low satisfaction” with VR services for youth and family, promising practices, and particular demographic characteristics, including racial/ethnic group or other differences that emerged through the quantitative analysis and were further explored in qualitative interviews.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will understand the methodology behind the report and how the authors came to their conclusions.
2. Participants will learn about both the current strengths and weaknesses of Arizona’s VR system in serving transition-aged youth.
3. Participants will learn about effective strategies to better help Arizona VR serve transition-aged youth, including youth from culturally diverse backgrounds, that they can promote in their communities.

Building Capacity for Diverse Voices in Disability-Related Research

The evidence informing this presentation is a combination of lived experiences and literature. To illustrate, a recent research project exploring pregnancy in multiple marginalized communities shared with the lead presenter that they struggle to recruit participants which may be attributed to a lack of understanding on where these multiply marginalized communities (MMC) “look” for information related to research opportunities. Posting recruitment materials in churches, grocery stories, etc. may increase the number of participant responses. Additionally, given the NIH’s 2023 decision, we anticipate there will be an increase in the amount of funded research opportunities available to institutions, individuals, and organizations. Providing these entities with pragmatic strategies for building capacity and creating intentional research designs that incorporate the perspectives of MMCs, as determined by multiply marginalized individuals, is essential to ensure an intersectional framework is included in all phases of the research process, from recruitment to dissemination.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Attendees will be able to identify systemic barriers (racism, sexism, ableism, etc.) that negatively impeded implementation of culturally-responsive disability-related research projects in multiply marginalized communities.
2. Attendees will explore varied empowering methodologies and theories that support culturally-responsive disability-related research that focus on capacity building and outreach in multiply marginalized communities.
3. Attendees will explore pragmatic, evidence-informed strategies for conducting culturally-responsive disability-related research within multiply marginalized communities.

Open Roads: Resilience and Collaboration of a TPSID Program Serving Different Spectrums of Rural Arizona

Supporting Inclusive Practices in Colleges (SIP-C) is a postsecondary transition program for young adults with intellectual disabilities. SIP-C services rural Arizona, including border communities, throughout their northwest, northeast, and southwest zones. SIP-C provides tailored services to program participants as they develop the skills necessary for higher education, employment, and successful integration into their communities. A pillar of SIP-C is collaboration with community partners ranging from tribal and state agencies, community and tribal colleges, and high school districts. Through this collaborative, tailored approach, SIP-C promotes inclusivity, empowerment, and independence for individuals with intellectual disabilities in rural Arizona.This presentation will focus on the intersection of disability and geography, highlighting the experiences of SIP-C staff and students as they strive for collaborative success in diverse rural settings.

Key Learning Outcomes

Key Learning Outcomes:
Participants can identify distinct barriers to post-secondary education that rural Arizona regions face, and how achievement of college aged students with intellectual and developmental disabilities is impacted by the barriers in each region.
Participants will gain insight into current innovations in the area of improving outcomes for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who transition to post-secondary education in rural Arizona, the goals of current initiatives, and the community partners that provide support.
Participants will recognize the importance of continued collaboration in fostering resiliency and success in post-secondary students with I/DD, demonstrated through student and staff success stories.

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