2017 TASH Conference has ended

Each year, the TASH Conference brings together a diverse community of stakeholders who gain information, learn about resources, and connect with others across the country to strengthen the disability field. This year’s conference theme, “Still We Rise for Equity, Opportunity, and Inclusion,” shows the resilience of individuals with disabilities and their families across the lifespan. Conference attendees will celebrate their passion for disability rights, civil rights, and human rights while exploring inclusive communities, schools, and workplaces that support people with disabilities, including those with complex support needs. Return to TASH website.

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Thursday, December 14 • 2:05pm - 2:55pm
Exploring Independent Living Through the Lens of Individuals With Disabilities FULL

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Since deinstitutionalization in the 1970s, there has been a growing emphasis on independent living for people with disabilities. However, the concept of independent living remains ambiguous. For some, it represents a residential placement, but for others it represents a philosophy and movement toward equity, opportunity, and inclusion. As a philosophy and movement, scant research explores the perspectives of people with disabilities and how they define independent living. As a residential placement, current research indicates that independent living remains elusive for many youth and adults with disabilities. The National Longitudinal Transition Study-Wave 3 data indicate that 72.6% of youth with disabilities live with their parents after high school, only 9.9% live alone, and 0.5% live in a group home or assisted living facility (Test, Mazzotti et al., 2009). Adults experience similar outcomes, with 78% living with family members, 9% in group homes of six or fewer people and 7% in their own homes or apartments. Although the majority of individuals with disabilities live at home, those that live in small agency residences, with roommates, or on their own report higher levels of life satisfaction, improved financial outcomes, and more meaningful personal relationships. New approaches are needed to better understand how people with diverse abilities and backgrounds define independent living. Additionally, more information is needed on the types of supports, resources, and services they either currently use or require to live as independently as possible. One promising approach to facilitate these discussions is community conversations (Carter et al., 2009). Community conversations use the World Café model (Brown & Isaacs, 2005) to bring diverse stakeholders together to address barriers facing their community. Attendees generate innovative, solutions-focused ideas over a series of small and large-group conversations, and build relationships to support sustainable action after the event. This presentation focuses on "community conversations"€ as a practical approach to bringing together a diverse cross-section of people with disabilities to understand their independent living perspectives, needs, and experiences. We partnered with the Tennessee Center for Independent Living (CIL), Empower Tennessee, to host community conversations in five geographically and economically diverse communities in our state. We asked attendees to answer the following questions (a) What does independent living mean to you?, (b) What resources, supports, and services are you currently using to achieve your vision of independent living?, and (c) What resources, supports, and services do you need to achieve your vision of independent living? We also gathered participant demographic data, participant perspectives on the event, and participant satisfaction with current supports in a variety of domains of independent living (e.g., transportation, employment, housing, social relationships, spiritual life, self-care, political participation). We will share our findings from these five community conversation events as well as strategies stakeholders might adopt to identify and support the independent living goals of people with disabilities in their own communities.

avatar for Jennifer L. Bumble

Jennifer L. Bumble

Doctoral Student, Vanderbilt University
Jennifer Bumble, M.Ed. is a Ph.D. Student in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a special educator in Texas and an ESL educator in South Korea. Jennifer also worked as an educational consultant with the Vanderbilt... Read More →
avatar for Erik Carter

Erik Carter

Professor, Vanderbilt University
Erik is Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He completed his doctoral work in the area of severe disabilities at Vanderbilt University and his undergraduate work in Christian Education at Wheaton College. His research... Read More →

Thursday December 14, 2017 2:05pm - 2:55pm EST
L504 265 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303