Collaborative Research - Quality Outcomes
Collaborative Research - Quality Outcomes

Social Inclusion

The MAPS team leads research to better understand, define, and measure social inclusion, a human right reaffirmed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (articles 3, 19, 26, 29 and 30). Understanding social inclusion and its outcomes is critical to inform the development and implementation of efficient services and supports.

Key Findings

  • Persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities have told us that being socially included is when we know “people who make [us] feel important.”
    • Social inclusion is more than having a job and activities in the community; it is about contributing to the community and belonging to a social network within which one receives and contributes support. It is also about equitable access to public goods and services.


To learn more about social inclusion, read our paper.

    • For educational and awareness activities, display a poster or use a vignette.
    • To learn about the meaning of community, watch this video.
    • Read our comments on measuring belonging as a service outcome.

Current Projects

    • Natasha Plourde, a graduate student in Experimental Psychology at the University of Ottawa, are currently working with a French community-based service agency to implement a strategy to support the sexuality of adults with IDD. Through consultations with service users and agency personnel, a strategy will be selected and implemented at the agency. This thesis aims to evaluate the process of translating research knowledge into practice.
    • Casey Fulford, a graduate student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa, conducted literature reviews to gain an understanding of how individuals with IDD view friendships and intimate relationships, and identify strategies to support friendships of adults with IDD. We will soon share with you a summary of these reviews. Stay tuned! The strategies that we identified included facilitating interactions between individuals with IDD and other community members; college students partnering up with individuals with IDD; weekly workshops focused on meeting social goals; sports teams including people with and without IDD; and developing and using materials to support social interactions. Casey is currently working with service-users (adults with IDD, family caregivers, and staff) to select a friendship support strategy to implement at a community-based service agency. Casey’s thesis focuses on evaluating the process of how to take research knowledge and put it into practice in a community-based setting.
    • Casey Fulford and Natasha Plourde are conducting this research as their PhD theses under the supervision of Virginie Cobigo.

    • Technologies play a significant role in the social inclusion of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. But, what do you think of a technology that is used to ensure the safety of its users, but at the same time invades their privacy? What about a technology that could improve social inclusion and autonomy but its high price or complexity makes it inaccessible to those who would benefit the most from it? These are examples of ethical issues related to the use of technology that our project aims to better understand.
    • 2015-2018, is funded by AGE-WELL, Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
    • Principal Investigator: Virginie Cobigo and is co-led by Jeffrey Jutai, University of Ottawa
    • Co-investigators are: Jerome Bickenbach, University of Lucerne and Schweizer Paraplegiker-Forschung, Switzerland; Céline Blanchard, University of Ottawa ; Ann Cavoukian & Wendy Cukier, Ryerson University; Yves Lachapelle, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières; Johanna Lake, CAMH.
    • Collaborators and partners: Breton Ability Centre, Nova Scotia; Royal Hospital Community Mental Health Program, Ontario; JLG Health Solutions Inc. & Palmerston Bay Inc.

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
    • Co-investigators are: Roy Brown, University of Calgary, Canada and Flinders University, Australia; Yves Lachapelle, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières; Rosemary Lysaght, Hélène Ouellette-Kuntz & Heather Stuart, Queen’s University; Lynn Martin, Lakehead University

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