The role of staff when prompting and reinforcing social connection behaviours of persons with disabilities

Thumbnail Image
Kalinowski, Katharine
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) are at an increased risk to experiencing limited social network size, dependency on paid support staff and family members, as well as behavioural deficits and excesses that serve as barriers to social inclusion (Bigby & Knox, 2009). Research has identified staff behaviours that facilitate and maintain social inclusion in the lives of individuals with IDDs, but few studies have analyzed repeated observation of actual staff behaviours shortly after support was provided. The purpose of this research was to learn from staff what they do to support social interactions by analyzing repeated self-observations of staff behaviour when supporting clients towards social inclusion. This study analyzed anonymized service data where 136 staff indicated whether they prompted, reinforced, or provided other support during social interactions of 58 clients. Data was obtained from St.Amant, a community-based service provider, and was analyzed descriptively and qualitatively to determine the prevalence, frequency, and types of various staff and client behaviours. Staff reported providing three main types of prompts in 23% of records, six main types of support in 25% of records, and three main types of reinforcement in 9% of records. Staff described clients responding to promote social connection in 74% of records. This study furthered our knowledge of the role of staff when promoting social inclusion of individuals they support by analyzing repeated self-observations made by staff to determine relevant frequencies of staff behaviour, the specific kinds of supportive behaviours performed, as well as the types of relevant behaviours clients engage in to promote social connection.
intellectual and developmental disabilities, staff behaviour, social connections, social inclusion, thematic analysis