Tag: Community Living/Inclusion

Parent Panel: Lived Experiences Parenting with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities have long been excluded from parenting literature, due to antiquated beliefs of their universal unfitness to raise children. Recent literature, though, suggests that women with disabilities experience pregnancy at the same rate as women without disabilities (Horner-Johnson et al., 2017). Parents with disabilities also report struggles accessing support services (Mitra et al., 2016). Directing research activity and disability expertise toward strengthening social supports for parents with disabilities was called for to reduce disparities. The Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (ADDPC) has funded three projects to investigate differing topics within the area of parenting with disabilities, focusing on how social workers and home visitors can bridge this gap of support for parents with disabilities.

Horner-Johnson W, Darney B, Kulkarni-Rajasekhara S, Quigley B, Caughey A. Pregnancy among US women: differences by presence, type, and complexity of disability. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016;214(4):529e1-529e9.

Mitra M, Long-Bellil L, Iezzoni L, Smeltzer S, Smith L. Pregnancy among women with physical disabilities: Unmet needs and recommendations on navigating pregnancy. Disabil Health J. 2016;9(3):457-463. doi:10.1016/j.dhjo.2015.12.00

Key Learning Outcomes

1) Understand some of the positive things about being a parent with a disability and the different perspectives being a parent provides
2) Understand how parents with disabilities can parent with appropriate supports
3) Leave with a wider knowledge of the barriers parents with disabilities face

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.

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.

Powered Mobility in the Classroom

Research shows that those who used powered mobility devices showed improvements in cognitive skills, including attention, problem-solving, and spatial awareness. Research also shows that powered mobility use was associated with improvements in language skills in young children with mobility impairments. Studies also show that children who used powered mobility devices were more likely to participate in mainstream educational settings, which provided them with increased exposure to language stimulation.

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to use a kill switch to keep all students and adults in the classroom safe.
  • Understand how to toggle from attendant control and student control to use the power chair throughout the entire school day.
  • Provided integrated activities so language, mobility, literacy and AAC skills are being addressed through powered mobility.

Assistive Gaming For All!

Join Lauren Janke and Bob Sagoo for an exciting hands-on event where we explore how assistive technology can make gaming accessible to everyone! Whether you are a life-long gamer or just getting started, come learn about different innovative devices and solutions that can create more opportunities to empower individuals with disabilities! We are excited to explore a variety of adaptive controllers, resources, and set-ups so you can get yourself, or others, gaming! Delegates will learn about the latest advancements in adaptive controllers, assistive technologies, and inclusive gaming experiences. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn, engage, and game like never before!

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Delegates will gain an understanding of AT hardware solutions for gaming on several platforms.
  • How to access and navigate the accessibility options built into gaming software.
  • Identify which particular games/controllers would be best suited to the abilities of the user and also the hardware needed to support them.

Switch It Up: Creative Solutions for Play!

Play is a huge part of a child’s development and all children deserve the opportunity to engage in play regardless of their motor abilities! By providing simple solutions to assistive technology that any caregiver/therapist/parent can implement, a child with a complex motor condition can access activities with greater independence. Play-based switch adapted activities also provide another opportunity for learning and engaging in their environment. It is important to empower our children with diverse needs and using assistive technology is an incredible way to do so. From practice in our own practice we have seen the impact of implementing engaging activities with switches and the incredible outcomes that come from adapted play.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will understand what a switch is and how to place it.
2. Participants will be able to identify different types of switches as well as other switch adapted equipment.
3. Participants will be able to identify at least 10 fun ways to incorporate switches into their classroom/therapy/home!

The Choice is Yours – Supported Decision-Making in Arizona

Supported Decision-Making is a tool that allows people with disabilities, including intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), to retain their decision-making capacity by choosing supporters to help them make choices. A person using SDM selects trusted advisors, such as friends, family members, or professionals to serve as volunteer supporters. These supporters agree to help the person with a disability understand, evaluate, and communicate decisions, giving the person with a disability the tools to make his or her own well-informed choices. This lively, interactive presentation about SDM will explore its fundamental elements and how it can be utilized by Arizonans with disabilities. The discussion will be led by Jon Meyers and Jason Snead of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (ADDPC), which has been a leader in the movement to expand adoption of SDM as an alternative to legal guardianship across the state.

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Provide attendees knowledge and skills to help individuals with disabilities gain greater independence.
  • Help attendees understand how Supported Decision-Making works and how it can be applied in the community.
  • Assist family members and caregivers in understanding how they can be SDM supporters.
  • Help professionals understand their roles in expanding SDM’s adoption and utilization.

Words Matter: The Language We Use to Describe People and Communities Impact Future Success

There is considerable evidence to support the concept that words and labels we use can have a positive or negative impact on the disability community. Here are a few examples:

Article: The evolution of disability language: Choosing terms to describe disability
Authors: Erin E. Andrews PsyD, ABPP a b, Robyn M. Powell PhD, JD c d, and others
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1936657422000681

In an article republished on the American Psychological Association, originally published in the Rehabilitation Psychology Journal TOC, the authors report on the impact that language has on outcomes.
Article: #SaytheWord: A disability culture commentary on the erasure of “disability.”
Author: Andrews, Erin E. Forber-Pratt, Anjali J. Mona, Linda R. Lund, Emily M. Pilarski, Carrie R. Balter, Rochelle.
https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-07468-001

In the book Words Can Change Your Brain, Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist and Mark Robert Waldman, a communications expert report that a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the importance of respectful and accurate language that honors the diversity of the disability community.
2. Discuss examples of outdated terminology and the unintentional negative impact they may have on the disability community.
3. Develop an inclusive and positive communication style that reflects an individual’s dignity and agency based on their preferences.

Pushing, Sliding, Rotating, or Pulling – Which Switch is the Best?

Adaptive switches and switch toys play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for individuals with various physical and cognitive disabilities. These devices are designed to empower users by enabling them to interact with their environment and participate in recreational activities.

Research consistently demonstrates the positive impact of adaptive switches on motor skill development and cognitive functioning. For individuals with limited motor abilities, these switches act as personalized interfaces, allowing them to control electronic devices, toys, and even communication aids. Studies have shown that the use of adaptive switches promotes fine and gross motor skills, fostering greater independence and autonomy.

Switch toys, specifically designed to be operated by adaptive switches, contribute to cognitive and sensory stimulation. Engaging with these toys encourages cognitive development, social interaction, and emotional expression. The evidence suggests that individuals, particularly children, using switch toys experience improved attention, sensory processing, and overall cognitive growth.

Furthermore, the adaptability of these switches to various devices ensures a personalized and inclusive approach to accessibility. This evidence underscores the importance of incorporating adaptive switches and switch toys into rehabilitation and educational programs, promoting holistic development and enhancing the overall well-being of individuals with disabilities.

Key Learning Outcomes

Participants will learn at least 3 things to consider when selecting a switch.
Participants will learn 3 reasons why positioning of the switch is important.
Participants will learn at least 3 different 3D printed switches.
Participants will learn basics of switch adapting toys.

Makers Making Change AZ Chapter

Makers Making Change events are based around project-based learning and connecting engineers and makers with AT users and AT professionals in the community, making them a perfect fit for an alternative at service delivery format. “It was a match made in heaven,” explains Jane. “We’re always trying to create opportunities for students at our school to give back to the community.” She noted that one student had mentioned they were inspired by the event to explore careers involving using engineering to improve life situations for persons with disabilities.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Understand what the Neil Squire Society is and MMC.
2. Define Maker, Crowdsourcing, and Open-Source AT.
3. Identify AT Maker Resources in Arizona.
4. Identify 5 3D printed tools from Makers Making Change

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