2018 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, “Be Creative - Innovative Solutions for an Inclusive Life,” reminds us to think outside the box during times of uncertainty. Creativity, innovation, and determination can pave the way for meaningful and inclusive lives for people with disabilities.

Thursday, November 29 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Making Free Time More of a Choice - A Study of Social Networks for Post-High Students

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Choice in recreation is taken for granted by most Americans. In this interview study the authors identified what post-high students and their teachers from two Midwestern programs reported with respect to the students' recreational opportunities as well as what changes they would make to ensure better access in the future. The findings from this study can suggest ideas on how we might as a community "Be Creative - Innovative Solutions for an Inclusive Life." The voices of these post-high students will we hope help others in our community to "think outside the box" and "pave the way for meaningful and inclusive lives for people with disabilities" who live in our communities with respect to accessing existing community social/recreational opportunities. Summary. Most transition frameworks emphasize social competence, participation, and relationships (Hughes & Carter, 2012; NASET, 2005); yet, family members and educators have reported that people in the community who have developmental disabilities more often than not stay home (Kleinert, Miracle, & Shephard-Jones, 2007). It is not clear whether staying home simply reflected personal preference or whether it represented a lack of access due to limited social networks, transportation barriers, financial barriers, or other barriers. While choice among existing recreation and leisure opportunities in the community is taken for granted by many Americans, it seems not to be the case for those with identified intellectual and developmental disabilities (c.f., Kunstler, Thompson, & Croke, 2013). Both the interview process as well as findings from this study will be useful in particular to high-school and post-high practitioners as will as community agency staff who work with young people who have identified developmental disabilities. Content will be relevant to post-high students, parents and family members, and teachers of students enrolled in post-high programs. Student participants were members of diverse groups (African-/European-/Latinx-American, male, female, upper class, middle and lower class). The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine what students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their post-high teachers had to say about access to community and leisure activities in their community and whether and which barriers if any remained a concern. Interviews were conducted with 10 post-high students identified as having intellectual or developmental disabilities and enrolled in school-district sponsored post-high programs. We also interviewed 5 instructors associated with the post-high programs. Participants were from two Midwestern communities - one suburban and one urban. Student and instructor participants were asked about: (a) their own or their students' preferred recreational/discretionary time activities, (b) what if anything may have prevented students from engaging in these activities, (c) a brief description of their own or their students' social networks, and (d) what changes they recommended so that any identified barriers might be eliminated in the near future. Instructor participants were also asked which social support interventions were used to facilitate friendships and peer relationships. Individual interviews were conducted in a quiet office at the post-high instructional setting. Interviewers followed the same open-ended interview protocol with each participant. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. The data were subjected to a thematic analysis using a constant comparative approach (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Member checks occurred at two junctures --- the end of the interview and during follow-up meetings with each participant. Preliminary Findings. Two of 10 post-high student participants currently accessed community or recreational activities independent of family-initiated activities. Students did "hang-out" with classmates outside of school. Reported activities included watching Netflix, listening to music, and playing with pets. For a majority of participants, families provided transportation; two participants from the urban group relied on city bus transportation. Eight students reported having Facebook accounts, 4 reported frequent (at least weekly) use of Facebook/cell phones to connect with friends and six reported infrequent (less than once/month) or no use of the same. For a majority of this group, friend connections were made during school hours or facilitated by parents/family members. Students would like to use more social media, volunteer in the community, attend sports events, spend more time in the company of friends“ at their homes or the movies, and attend more classes at the university or community college. Reported barriers included lack of transportation, lack of knowledge about available programs, and unhelpful/unprepared recreation providers. Instructors reported that students were interested in learning new forms of social media and had varied interests including sports, TV, and music. They noted students did not access community activities other than those facilitated by their families, and that sports and volunteering through faith-based organizations were likely to be of interest to students. A common barrier identified by instructors was lack of easy access to transportation. Instructors noted that their program placed significant emphasis on jobs and social skills related to jobs and less emphasis on facilitating friendships and connecting with the community for recreation. Plans are in place to work with representatives from community agencies to address identified barriers.


Thursday November 29, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Salon E - Lower Level 1401 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97201

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