Student Work

Exploring Calming Activities for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled Adults


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The purpose of this project was to analyze existing coping strategies and modify them for use by adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DDs) to help cope with abuse related trauma. Limited research has been done to help adults with I/DDs respond to abuse, and many current tools created for response fail to incorporate the voices of those with I/DDs. Our research contains three studies addressing this research gap. Study 1 analyzed transcripts from interviews previously conducted with individuals to learn what existing calming activities are known to help adults with I/DDs cope with trauma. Study 2 analyzed previously conducted interviews where adults with I/DDs piloted an application prototype containing two calming activities, and suggested improvements to increase understanding of and engagement in calming activities. Study 3 involved a focus group with three consultants providing feedback on our application prototype focusing exclusively on calming activities. All studies highlighted that incorporating a) a diversity of interactive calming activities across four categories: creative, identity-based, social, and movement, b) a wide range of accessibility controls, c) vibrant colors, d) instruction visuals, and e) using plain language were essential to creating accessible and well-liked coping strategies for adults with I/DDs. Findings emphasize a need for more tools helping adults with I/DDs self-advocate. These findings are important for employers who are tasked with providing equitable workspaces and for those part of support communities for I/DD individuals.

  • This report represents the work of one or more WPI undergraduate students submitted to the faculty as evidence of completion of a degree requirement. WPI routinely publishes these reports on its website without editorial or peer review.
  • 65116
  • E-project-042822-111515
  • 2022
Date created
  • 2022-04-28
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