Methods

The toolkit framework and content is based on findings from two research activities. These are 1) expert interviews and 2) case studies.

Expert Interviews

The CLE project team conducted a series of 45- to 90-minute semi-structured telephone interviews with experts in the field of Community Life Engagement. Experts were chosen based on their level of expertise and diversity of perspectives. The team interviewed a total of 13 experts. Two were self-advocates, 5 were family members of people with IDD, 4 were service provider executives, 2 were state agency executives, and 2 were researchers. Some participants represented more than one role (e.g. both a provider executive and a parent of an adult with IDD).

Topics covered included the goals of Community Life Engagement, evidence of effective implementation of Community Life Engagement, barriers encountered and strategies used, and the role of Community Life Engagement as a support to other outcomes, including employment.

All interviews were recorded and transcribed, and the transcripts were then reviewed by the project team to identify common themes. From these expert interviews emerged the four Guideposts for Community Life Engagement.

Case Studies

Case studies of three service providers with a focus on high-quality Community Life Engagement supports were also conducted. The three service providers were selected from 38 initial nominees based on a number of factors, including number of individuals served, geographic location, quality of CLE services, and interest in participating in the research study. Across the three locations, the project team interviewed a total of 51 individuals: 23 provider administrators, managers, and direct support staff; 7 community partners; 16 individuals with IDD; and 5 family members.

Site visits were conducted at three locations:

  • WorkLink, a small San Francisco-based provider of day and employment supports to 38 individuals

  • LOQW, a larger provider of day and employment supports (600 individuals served) located in Northeast Missouri

  • KFI, a Maine-based provider of residential, day, and employment supports to 66 individuals

Use the sidebar on the left to read an overview of each provider.