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Transitions in Aging

Promoting Community Participation

Other Considerations

Photo of person in wheelchair getting on bus

  • Location
    • Physical accessibility?
    • Transportation?
  • Co-participants
    • Form compatible groupings of people
    • With general public or exclusively for people with disabilities?


NEXT: Example: Community Events


Notes and References

Other things we should consider are the accessibility of the locations and how to promote social interaction between individuals with developmental disabilities and other participants.



When organizing an event or activity, we should first check if the environment is accessible for individuals with developmental disabilities. This should include whether or not the individuals with developmental disabilities have the necessary resources to travel to the location, as lack of transportation is one of the most common problems preventing this group from being more active in the community. Additionally, determine who should be included in the activity. To promote social inclusion, we should encourage older individuals with developmental disabilities to participate in activities in the community related to their interests in the community.1 To ensure that everyone can fulfill a meaningful role in the activity, we could encourage people who have similar interests into the same groups. It is not necessary for all group members to be at the same skill level, but be sure to encourage everyone in the group to share some responsibilities and contribute to the activity. We should also consider whether the activity should be exclusively for people with disabilities or include the general public. For example, should we engage someone who has Down syndrome in a bowling group exclusively for people with developmental disabilities? Involvement in a group exclusively for people with disabilities may allow individuals to share their lived experiences and useful resources with each other. However, it can also limit one's opportunity to interact with individuals who do not have a disability. When engaging both individuals with and without disabilities in the same activity, we should also be mindful not to reinforce stereotypes about people with disabilities by providing them with the proper support and assistance. That way, individuals with developmental disabilities can be a valued member in the group.

Reference:

  1. Stancliffe, R. J., Bigby, C., Balandin, S., Wilson, N. J., & Craig, D. (2015). Transition to retirement and participation in mainstream community groups using active mentoring: A feasibility and outcomes evaluation with a matched comparison group. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59(8), 703-718.