Known for my strengths: Positive traits of transition-age youth with intellectual disability and/or autism

Erik W. Carter, Thomas L. Boehm, Elizabeth E. Biggs, Naomi H. Annandale, Courtney E. Taylor, Aimee K. Loock, Rosemary Y. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Can young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities be known for their strengths? This mixed-method study explored the strengths of 427 youth and young adults with intellectual disability and/ or autism (ages 13-21) from the vantage point of their parents. Using the Assessment Scale for Positive Character Traits-Developmental Disabilities (ASPeCT-DD), parents identified numerous strengths across multiple domains and factors. Every young person in the sample was described as having at least one strength (Mdn = 20, range 1-26), and their strength-related profiles varied widely. Higher ratings of strengths were predicted by greater involvement in community activities and use of speech as the primary mode of communication. Challenging behaviors predicted lower ratings of strengths. These findings challenge prevailing deficit-based views of young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and offer a promising alternative for describing transition-age youth in terms of the strengths they bring to activities and relationships. We offer recommendations for future research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-119
Number of pages19
JournalResearch and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2015

Keywords

  • Positive psychology
  • Severe disabilities
  • Strengths-based assessment
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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