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The Use of Interactive Focus Groups to Aid in the Identification of Perceived Service and Support Delivery Needs of Persons with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families
Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (1996)
  • John J. Wheeler, Tennessee Technological University
Abstract
A growing area of concern in the field of developmental disabilities is how to deliver and evaluate quality services and supports to persons with developmental disabilities and their families. This has been termed quality assurance. Quality assurance has been defined as a process which involves the identification and articulation of certain values and beliefs which serve as a foundation for the delivery of services and supports (Sundram, 1993). The quality assurance process is aimed at how services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are delivered and evaluated. A critical component of this process is the partnership between persons with disabilities and their families with professionals jointly participating in the assessment, implementation, and evaluation of these services and supports. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceived service and support delivery needs of persons with developmental disabilities and their families as part of a statewide needs assessment utilizing a representative sample of individuals with disabilities, family members, and professionals from the fields of special education, adult services, rehabilitation, and social services. Six regional focus groups were individually conducted, five of them were conducted using interactive technology from distant locations in an effort to minimize the effect of rural and climatic variables. The sixth focus group was conducted live for purposes of program evaluation. Three major themes resulted from the focus group activities. These themes included the areas of pre-service staff training, in-service staff training, and program delivery and development. The implications of this study with respect to quality assurance and the delivery of services and supports to persons with developmental disabilities across the lifespan are discussed.
Keywords
  • focus groups,
  • disabled persons,
  • disabilities,
  • parents,
  • professional training,
  • meetings,
  • job training,
  • professional development,
  • professional services
Publication Date
December 1, 1996
Publisher Statement
© Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities. This document was published with permission from the publisher. It was originally published in the Education and Training in Mental Retardation.
Citation Information
John J. Wheeler. "The Use of Interactive Focus Groups to Aid in the Identification of Perceived Service and Support Delivery Needs of Persons with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families" Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Vol. 31 Iss. 4 (1996) p. 294 - 303 ISSN: 1079-3917
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john-wheeler/54/