Examining the relationship between readiness for advocacy and the attainment of participation and advocacy goals in Project TEAM
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The purpose of this study is to understand if readiness for advocacy is associated with attainment of participation and advocacy goals for youth with developmental disabilities transitioning into adulthood. The transtheoretical model is used to conceptualize youth’s readiness to act when new knowledge and advocacy skills are gained through Project TEAM (Teens making Environmental and Activity Modification). Project TEAM is a 12-week group curriculum that teaches a problem-solving approach to identify and resolve environmental barriers to participation. Parents (n=17) and youth (n=12) ages 14-20 with developmental disabilities each rated the youth’s readiness for advocacy at initial, outcome and six week follow-up. Initial responses were grouped into preaction (precontemplation, contemplation and preparation) and action (action and maintenance). Each youth set a participation goal prior to Project TEAM for which the primary interventionist and principal investigator wrote goal attainment scaling (GAS) levels. Attainment of this participation goal and the application of three advocacy knowledge goals were evaluated at outcome. At outcome, GAS T-scores were calculated based on the attainment of the four goals. No significant difference was found in the GAS T-score between youth who began Project TEAM at the preaction versus the action stage. Youth with varying levels of readiness for advocacy at initial achieved their goals at outcome. Parents reported a significant increase in the youth’s readiness for advocacy between initial and outcome, and youth showed a similar, statistically non- significant trend. There appeared to be no relationship between attainment of a participation goal and change in readiness for advocacy; some youth who have no change in readiness for advocacy still achieved a participation goal, and youth who do not attain a participation goal still had changes in their readiness for advocacy. Results point to the potential benefits of Project TEAM to support changes in readiness for advocacy and attainment of a participation goal for youth with varying levels of readiness for change.
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