Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Jane Finn, Education; Dr. Vicki-Lynn Holmes, Education & Mathematics

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Post-secondary school outcomes have been dismal for individuals with exceptionalities. Because of these poor outcomes, the federal law entitled the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act put into place services to help these individuals develop vocational skills, independent living proficiency, and increased community participation. The purpose of this study was to identify if the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Halloween Party helped individuals with disabilities increase their level of social engagement and community participation. We also identified if engagement in activities by Hope College students increased the desirability of the activity. Both the residents from the group homes and the Hope College students in attendance were given a survey asking about which events they were engaged in during the party and which events they enjoyed the most. When the surveys were completed, the data was analyzed to discover the individuals with disabilities’ and Hope College students’ levels of engagement, and the activities that were listed as most enjoyed by the individuals with disabilities. The results indicated that the majority of individuals with disabilities experienced high levels of engagement and community participation throughout the party and the most enjoyed activities correlated to the activities where Hope College students were the most engaged. It appears that the Hope College CEC Halloween Party helps individuals with disabilities increase their community engagement and participation skills.

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