Using Photovoice as a participatory method to identify and strategize community participation with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

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Background: Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) experience barriers to community participation, yet their insider experiences of environmental barriers and supports to participation are largely absent from the literature. Aim/Objective: The aims of this research were to evaluate Photovoice as a participatory research method, examine environmental barriers and supports to community participation, and develop strategies to support self-determination and community participation for and with people with I/DD. Material and method: This study utilized a participatory action research (PAR) approach in which participants used Photovoice during interviews and audits of participation environments to identify high interest participation activities and document supports and barriers in these environments. Data analysis utilized an iterative, participatory approach in which researchers and participants teamed up to select, contextualize, and codify the data. Thematic analyses involved both inductive and realist approaches. Results/Findings: Participants included 146 community-dwelling adults with I/DD from three U.S. urban sites. We present a conceptual model of nine themes at microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem environmental levels. Conclusions: Using Photovoice as a participatory method to strategize community participation can help ground systems change efforts in the voices of people with I/DD. Significance: By including people with I/DD in conversations that concern them, researchers and practitioners can support this population in ways that they find meaningful.

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Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy

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