Exploring the impact of an arts-based, day options program for young adults with intellectual disabilities

Judith Darragh, Caroline Ellison, Fiona Rillotta, Michelle Bellon, Ruth Crocker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study explored the perceived impact of participation in Tutti Arts, an art- and music-based, day options program, on the social and emotional wellbeing of young adults with intellectual disabilities. This exploratory research gathered qualitative data from semi-guided interviews and field notes of observations during interviews. Data were analysed using thematic analysis, applying a constant comparative process to develop themes as the data were interpreted. Participants were five young adults with intellectual disabilities, aged between 21 and 27 years, who attended Tutti Arts. In addition to data gathered from these participants, the perceptions of five family members and two support workers were also obtained by interviews, and included in the analysis. Young adults with intellectual disabilities who participated in the Tutti programs experienced a range of social and artistic activities that had a positive impact on their social and emotional wellbeing. Participants reported enjoying performing publicly, developing friendships, meeting new people, receiving accolades from mainstream audiences, and being accepted as professional artists with socially valued roles. The family members and support workers confirmed these outcomes. The resources dedicated to the provision of arts-based, day option programs may assist young artists with intellectual disabilities to plan and enjoy a socially valued role. This may lead to young adults with intellectual disabilities being included in a field of endeavour that further develops their talents to contribute to the culture of the performing arts. This research provided young artists with intellectual disabilities with a voice and an opportunity to express their feelings and experiences of participation in a unique Australian arts program. It also has potential to inform funding bodies and policymakers about how music- and arts-based activities can make a positive difference in the lives of young adults with intellectual disabilities, a group which has received little attention in the literature.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-31
    Number of pages10
    JournalResearch and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
    Volume3
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2016

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