Adolescents with Disabilities: Parental Engagement and Developing Life Skills

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As adolescents mature into adulthood, they seek support from their peers while relying less on their parents (Arnett, 2000). For adolescents with disabilities, this developmental process may present challenges as they seek this interconnectedness from their peers, but also need continued support from parents/caregivers. This study tested the hypothesis - H1: Adolescents with higher parental engagement will more likely demonstrate improved life skill acquisition while continuing program participation. The sample included 57 adolescents aged 13 to 17 years who received SSI. The intervention followed Wolf-Branigin, Schuyler, & White’s model (2007). We used the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment (ACLSA), administered to both adolescents and their parent/caregiver, and measured strength of correlations to represent the dependent variable, parental engagement. Following two years of program availability, on four of the six domains, correlations for adolescents choosing to remain active, with their parents/caregivers, were stronger than adolescents not actively participating in the program. Unlike their peers without a disability or adolescents not remaining active, the parent/caregivers of active adolescents demonstrated stronger correlations as their adolescent remained engaged.

Keywords: Adolescents with Disabilities, Parental Engagement, Health, Complex Adaptive Systems
Stream: Disability, Health
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Life Skills

Michael Wolf-Branigin

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

Michael Wolf-Branigin, is an associate professor of Social Work at George Mason University. His research focuses on complexity science and its application to social work practice. His activities include (1) applying complex adaptive systems to social program evaluation, (2) infusing digital technology and social networking into social work curriculum, and (3) analyzing the historic emergence of social programs. Applications focus on the substantive topic areas of addictions and intellectual / development disabilities. His recent projects include evaluation of efforts to combat human trafficking and employment preparedness for adolescents with disabilities. He studied economics at the University of Stockholm, and completed his MSW from the University of Michigan. After working more than 20 years in the addictions and disabilities fields, he received his Ph.D. from Wayne State University . Since that time, he held positions in governmental and non-governmental consulting and academia. He currently serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals.

Dr. Emily S. Ihara

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

Patience White

Medical Director, The Arthritis Foundation
Washington, DC, USA

Ref: D08P0050