Life Skills: Parental Engagement in Developing Life Skills of Adolescents with Disabilities

By Michael Wolf-Branigin, Emily S. Ihara, Patience White and Elizabeth Shuman.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Organizations providing services to persons with disabilities typically conduct interventions where clients can choose participation through completion, participation before program completion, or non-participation. Evaluation of these interventions, however, relies typically on investigating the overall achievement of program objectives rather than the collective behavior of individuals or families. Framed through the lens of complexity theory, we compared adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities who were participating in an employment readiness program using an ecosystems model versus those choosing not to continue in the program over a two-year period. We consider an additional aspect of complex adaptive systems theory - conflict, cooperation and creativity - into their niche construction.

Keywords: Parental Engagement, Adolescents with Disabilities, Disparities, Life Skills, Complex Systems, Niche Construction

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.41-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 596.111KB).

Michael Wolf-Branigin

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia, USA

Michael Wolf-Branigin, an associate professor of social work at George Mason University, teaches courses in research methods, and social policy. Mike’s areas of specialization include developmental disabilities and addictions, with his current research interests focusing on complex systems.

Dr. Emily S. Ihara

Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Emily S. Ihara, an assistant professor of social work at George Mason University, teaches courses on social policy and social justice. Her research focuses on the role of race/ethnicity, immigration, and socioeconomic position as determinants of health; how social structure and social position influence health and mental health outcomes; and the role of health systems in perpetuating health inequities.

Patience White

Medical Director, The Arthritis Foundation, Washington, DC, USA

Patience White is the chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation. She is a professor of medicine and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences where she served as director of the Division of Adult Rheumatology and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Elizabeth Shuman

George Mason University, Virginia, USA

Elizabeth Shuman is a graduate research assistant and MSW student at George Mason University with a concertration in clinical practice. Elizabeth graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2007 with a BS in sociology with an emphasis on social inequality and a minor in psychology.


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