A recent study conducted by The National Rehabilitation Information Center, with participants ranging from people with disabilities to professionals in the vocational rehabilitation field and stakeholders in the community, concluded that involving stakeholders in community conversations resulted in more action and a greater awareness of problems their communities face.
These community stakeholders include teachers and administrators at local high schools, vocational rehabilitation staff, health professions, community employers, students with disabilities, and their parents. This group is often ignored or left out of conversations about building a better community for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities and those close to them are the ones who know best about the daily challenges and complications they experience in their communities; therefore inviting community stakeholders to discuss possible solutions to the issues they face is highly beneficial. The conversations not only lead to collaboration, but provide opportunities to create strong ideas, and a clear path forward.
Community conversations that create concrete measures and action steps to follow for people with disabilities and their affiliates, empowers the community to strive for more accessibility and awareness. Including stakeholders in community conversations enhances the outcome of these conversations by bringing up even more possible solutions.
The study saw positive outcomes in addressing challenges and engaging community members in contributing to action plans to improve outcomes. Groups who communicate in this style can contribute to their communities and decision making at a local and national scale.
Dutta, A., Kundu, M.M., Johnson, E., Chan, F., Trainor, A., Blake, R., and Christy, R. (2016) Community Conversations: Engaging stakeholders to improve employment-related transition services for youth with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 45, 43-51. This article is available from the NARIC collection under Accession Number J74430.