Pathways to Belonging: A research project about young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and belonging

Background

Social inclusion is often a key guiding principle for policy, programming, and community service organizations supporting people with disabilities. However, recent research suggests that policies, programs, and actions aimed at promoting social inclusion may not always result in the intended benefits for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Recent research suggests that they have often led to physical presence, rather than engagement, in their communities for many young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This research also highlights that a sense of belonging is essential for ensuring their meaningful engagement in community life.

Why do this research?

Currently, there is little research on belonging for these young adults. In particular, they do not yet have answers to these important questions:

  • How do young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities come to feel a sense of belonging?
  • How do particular people, groups, places, and activities, etc., promote belonging?
  • What do these young adults themselves have to say about these questions, based on their own experiences and perspectives?
  • What do their family members and service providers from community organizations have to say about these questions, based on their own experiences and perspectives?

The Pathways to Belonging (or P2B) research project aims to help answer these questions. P2B is a 3-year study funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The research team doing this project includes researchers from the University of Toronto, community organizations supporting these young adults, young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and family members.

 The study is designed to learn about:

  • How young adults come to experience a sense of belonging (or not)
  • How particular conditions and environments (e.g., relationships, people, groups, networks, places, activities, resources, and strategies) promote and support their sense of belonging (or not)

Who can participate?

  • They want to learn the perspectives and experiences on these issues from:
    • Young adults (18 -35 years) with intellectual and developmental disabilities
    • Their family members (e.g., parents, siblings)
    • Service providers from community organizations supporting these young adults (may be from formally funded or voluntary organizations)

They are now recruiting young adults (18-35 years), family members, and service providers who might like to take part in interviews for their study.

Please click on the links below for 3 posters you can hand out to young adults, families, and service providers and display in your organization. Also, feel free to circulate this information and the 3 posters to other people and organizations in your networks.

Young Adults

Families

Service Providers

Want more information about the research? Visit their website to learn more about the P2B research project.

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