ICI and CEED Event Promotes Successful Community Living Across the Lifespan
ICI and the University's Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) co-hosted "An Engaged Lifetime: Successful Community Living Across the Lifespan" on March 2. The joint event on the St. Paul campus featured community conversations with advocates, professionals, and families about how to improve collaboration and coordination across critical life transition periods for people with disabilities. "We believe that community-engaged research seeks to address real world challenges and opportunities that people with disabilities and their families face," says Kelly Nye-Lengerman (pictured), director of the ICI Engaged Department Grant Program. "Our best work is done when we meaningfully engage our partners, allies, and professionals. These types of events inform our future research questions and give us insight into the realities of those with lived personal and professional experiences."
Facilitated by Nye-Lengerman, Jennifer Hall-Lande, Amy Gunty, Christopher Watson, and Deb Ottman, the event brought together 20 advocates, professionals, and state agency staff for an exploratory discussion on supporting an engaged life across all ages and settings. "We know that having a life in the community across the lifespan is important for many people with disabilities," says Nye-Lengerman. "The system that serves and supports people with disabilities, however, is generally broken into silos, with each group focusing on a specific life stage. We also know that the transitions between the silos, like early childhood to school or school system to adult services, can be very difficult for people with disabilities and their families. We discussed how we can better work together to support engaged lives for people with disabilities from youth to adulthood."