Collaborative Research - Quality Outcomes
Collaborative Research - Quality Outcomes


The MAPS team leads research to better understand, define, and measure individual choices. The freedom to make one’s own choices is a human right reaffirmed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 3, 19). It is also at the heart of the current legislation in Ontario (Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008). Understanding how to support and respect one’s freedom to make choices is critical to inform the development and implementation of efficient services and supports.

Key Findings

  • Choices need to be made freely and without external compulsion. As defined by one member of the MAPS consumer consultation groups, choice means “no one is picking for you, it’s yourself and not someone else”.
    • Choice-making opportunities need to be available in a range of situations for choice-making to occur. “All choices are important. From what to eat to big medical decisions.” (quote from a member of the MAPS consumer consultation groups)
    • Persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities have told us that there are systemic barriers to their freedom of choice : “ODSP [Ontario Disability Support Program; a government social assistance program that provides financial and employment supports to individuals with disabilities] doesn’t give us a lot of choices, the way the rules are for work, it can get in the way.” and “Some people, such as those who live in group homes, might have fewer choices because they have to abide by government rules.”
    • A supportive environment is key to providing persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities with choice-making opportunities. A supportive environment is one that lets the individual take the risks inherent to free choices: “If you’re making bad choices, they should let you try it once so you can personally decide to stop.”


  • For educational and awareness activities, display a poster.
  • Please also visit the MAPS Person-Directed Planning webpage (left-side menu).

Current Projects

    • The project examines the family context of self-determination for adults with IDD in two complementary studies. Study 1 examines predictors of parents’ expectations that services will improve choice-making outcomes for their adult child with IDD. Study 2 uses interviews with persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to explore the way families support choice making and resolve differences of opinion during transitions in the care of their adult child with IDD.
    • No funding
    • This research is being conducted by Whitney Taylor as her PhD thesis in Clinical Psychology, under the supervision of Virginie Cobigo (2014-2017)

Past Projects

    • 2010-2013, funded by an Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, Policy Research and Analysis Branch Research Grant
    • Principal investigator: Virginie Cobigo, University of Ottawa

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MAPS Research

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