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Eight P2B team member.

Pathways to Belonging Project: 2018 – 2024

Current Project

The Pathways to Belonging (P2B) research project aimed to understand how young adults with IDD find places of belonging and meaning, and what paths they take to get to these destinations. To achieve this aim, the P2B project sought the perspectives of young adults (18-35 years) with IDD and the perspectives of those who support them to navigate these path, such as their family members (e.g., parents, siblings) and service providers.

This inclusive research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) aimed to interview 15 young adults with IDD, 15 parents of young adults with IDD, and 15 service providers of young adults with IDD in the Greater Toronto Area.

Inclusive Methods

In keeping with our past projects, we used inclusive methods. Young adults with IDD, family members, and service providers were included as actively-involved members of our research team. Using a participatory toolkit, which include visual- (e.g., multimedia) and arts- (e.g., mixed media) based methods, this inclusive research project asked young adults and those in their support networks (e.g., parents and service providers) to talk about people (e.g., friends, family, co-workers, co-volunteers), activities (e.g., social, work, and leisure activities), and places (e.g., social, physical, virtual, emotional) of belonging and meaning (or not) in their lives. They were also asked to describe the pathways which connect young adults with IDD to these people and places in their lives.

Building on Previous Research

Our previous research has contributed to our understanding of what aspects of community life foster belonging with youths with IDD from their own perspective. More information about the Voices of Youths (VOY) project can be found under projects. Our current project, P2B, will further our understanding of how young adults with IDD navigate and negotiate the multiple pathways to belonging they traverse each day. The VOY project also highlighted that sometimes the paths that youths with IDD would like to take or the destinations they desire for themselves may not match the pathways their supporters (or society) have set out or expect for them.

At times, for the youths who participated in VOY, this mismatch led to roadblocks (e.g., points of tension) that created barriers to belonging and meaning for them. We wanted to engage more deeply with these potential roadblocks by interviewing (all separately) young adults, parents, and service providers to understand how these pathways are viewed from multiple vantage points. While the perspectives of young adults are still central within our inclusive research design, in order to better understand these roadblocks, we felt it is important to also hear the perspectives of others in the home and community networks of young adults with IDD.