Oklahoma National Core Indicators
Since 2013, Drs. Jones and Gallus have contracted with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) to collect the National Core Indicators (NCI) Adult In-Person Survey. The purpose of NCI is to identify and measure core indicators related to the quality of life (e.g., safety and personal security, health and wellness, protection of and respect for individual rights) for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities receiving state-funded services. Each year, our team of undergraduate and graduate research assistants travel across the state to meet with hundreds of individuals receiving DDS services and their caregivers.
Oklahoma Project to Promote Self-Determination
In partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS), the Institute for Developmental Disabilities developed and piloted an intervention study informed by and aligned with the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI; Shogren, Raley, Burke, & Wehmeyer, 2019) to promote self-awareness and increase self-determination of individuals receiving Home and Community Based waivered services in the Stillwater area. Promoting and enhancing supports and services that foster self-determination is essential as decades of research show that self-determination is a significant predictor of valued outcomes including employment and community participation (Shogren & Shaw, 2016; Shogren, Wehmeyer, Palmer, Rifenbark, & Little, 2015; Wehmeyer & Palmer, 2003; Wehmeyer & Schwartz, 1997). Additionally, our previous research on self-determination utilizing data from the Oklahoma National Core Indicators suggests that environmental opportunities for choice and control can be identified that may impact individuals’ self-reported self-determination (Jones et al., 2018). This project explored the feasibility and effectiveness of an intervention focused on providing training on self-determination and more specifically, on teaching the skills needed to become a causal agent in one’s own life (e.g., problem solving, self-awareness, making choices) to individuals receiving Home and Community Based waivered services in the Stillwater area.
Scissortail Companion Program
The Institute for Developmental Disabilities is collaborating with Oklahoma Human Services – Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) and AbleLink Smart Living Technologies to study the feasibility and outcomes associated with the implementation of Scissortail Companion. The Scissortail Companion provides full access to Windows software and is designed to provide adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities much-needed accessible tools for communication and independence at home.
Deinstitutionalization: Transition to Community Living
In 2012, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OK-DHS) passed a resolution to close the two remaining state-funded institutions that were providing care to approximately 240 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities transitioned to living in the community, their family members became overseers of their care for the first time in at least two decades. The Deinstitutionalization Project, led by Drs. Jennifer Jones and Kami Gallus, aimed to better understand families’ experiences during the mandated transition of their relative with intellectual and developmental disabilities from institutional care to community living in Oklahoma and consisted of two phases.
Let’s Take a Walk
Let’s Take a Walk! began as an innovative research study and interdisciplinary outreach program bringing OSU students and Stillwater community members with intellectual and developmental disabilities together for a healthier, more diverse campus. In spring 2018, we explored the feasibility and outcomes of Let’s Take a Walk!. Undergraduate students were paired with community members with intellectual and developmental disabilities to walk together on campus for 45 minutes twice per week for 12 weeks. Measures assessing physical and mental health, stress and attitudes toward disability and inclusion were administered across three time points to student walkers, student controls, community walkers and caregivers. Positive outcomes were noted across the semester-long program. Community walkers reported significant decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms while student walkers expressed positive changes in attitudes toward disability and inclusion. Findings suggest Let’s Take a Walk! is an easily implemented, well-received program with long-term potential for enhancing health and diversity at OSU.