Date of Conferral
Researchers have shown that the voices of parents of adults with intellectual disabilities can help build supports in the community. Research regarding the perceptions and lived experiences of these parents regarding social inclusion of adults with intellectual disabilities is limited. Guided by positive psychology, the purpose of this interpretive phenomenological study was to examine parents' lived experiences of social inclusion of adults with intellectual disabilities. Research questions were framed to understand and describe the meaning of how parents experience social inclusion with their adult children with intellectual disabilities. Data were elicited through 6 individual interviews with parents of adults with intellectual disabilities from Shelby County, Tennessee. Data was analyzed using a phenomenological and double hermeneutic approach that is consistent with the interpretative phenomenological analysis. The findings from this study were compared with existing literature indicating that parents must facilitate social inclusion for their adult children with intellectual disabilities. Another finding from the study was that parents believe that there is a need to build relationships in the community. Including the voices of parents of adults with intellectual disabilities with those of professionals could influence policy makers in designing supports for parents and families, which could have positive social change implications. Adults with intellectual disabilities may benefit from the study, in that their parents' voices are being heard and the study draws attention to the need for continual support from service providers, policy makers, and the community itself. This study also helps to fill a gap in research regarding parents' lived experiences and perceptions concerning social inclusion of their adult children with intellectual disabilities.