Episode 122 - Bonnie Fader Wilkenfeld, Dr. Kenneth Robey, and Eileen Murray: Impact of the Arts on Identity Structures of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Monday, June 24, 2013, 9:08:54 AM

Image of Bonnie Wilkenfeld, Dr. Kenneth Robey, and Eileen Murray

In this episode, our guests discuss their study of the quality of life of persons with developmental disabilities, whose ability to engage in self-actualizing and fulfilling experiences is often limited by conventional perceptions held by service providers and caregivers. Specifically, our guests discuss their work examining the link between a facilitated arts program and the participants' sense of self.

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Average Rating: 3stars  an interesting way to empower individuals, Monday, January 27, 2014

By Amber H. :

I enjoyed hearing the perspective of the researchers who utilized creative arts as a means to help individuals with developmental disabilities form positive identity structures and express themselves. The researchers mention the importance of an individual being able to communicate and express emotion to caregivers and family members. Particularly for individuals with verbal or communication impairments, the art program seems to offer the person control over his or her environment and facilitate empowerment. However, I do wonder whether this program is truly person-centered. Although it seems to have a positive impact for the participants, it is important to ask whether the individuals involved value art as a means of expression. Based on my personal field experiences, the service system is currently incorporating a person-centered approach in which it would be a detriment to an individual's agency to assume that the arts program is the "solution" for every individual. Instead, the individual should be enabled to choose a program which he or she values, whether that be arts, athletics, volunteering, etc. While the researchers employ a very creative method for empowering people with disabilities, service providers should be cautious when assuming a one-size-fits-all approach will satisfy every individual’s needs.

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