Promoting Family Supports for Disability-Inclusive Development
In adopting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Canada has recognized that to truly eliminate global poverty and inequality, we must make special efforts to support the human rights and inclusion of people with disabilities. Dr. Heather Aldersey, Canada Research Chair in Disability Inclusive Development, is studying the strategies and services that empower, develop, educate and integrate people with disabilities into society.
Aldersey’s research targets the gap that is created when research focuses on the individual with a disability in isolation from their family and society. Families of individuals with disabilities typically offer the first and most sustaining environments for supporting an individual’s function. In this essential role, families need support.
But family-focused research requires a community-embedded approach that integrates the tenets of both social justice and scholarship. Aldersey and her research team are accomplishing this through participatory research that identifies the capabilities and needs of families that have lived experience with disability. In partnership with these families and other stakeholders, they are developing and evaluating supports to meet those needs.
These strengths-based, solutions-driven methods will ensure the cultural relevance, uptake and sustainability of Aldersey’s research in low- and middle-income contexts. This approach has the potential to elevate the position of people with disabilities and their families globally.