Burton Blatt Institute Receives $2.5 Million Grant

October 19, 2015

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration on Community Living, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) for a new five-year project on “Understanding and Increasing Supported Decision-Making’s Positive Impact on Community Living and Participation Outcomes.” The funding is the only award of its kind in the country.

Peter Blanck

Peter Blanck

BBI, in collaboration with the University of Kansas and the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, along with other national disability organizations, aims to significantly add to evidence-based research approaches to supporting individual decision making that facilitates self-determination and enhanced quality of life outcomes, including community living and participation in daily life for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Historically, persons with such disabilities have been impacted by low expectations about their capacity to make decisions. As a result, they have been placed in substituted decision-making frameworks, such as guardianship, that often decrease self-determination and lead to diminished life outcomes, including community integration.

BBI Chairman and University Professor Peter Blanck says, “This exciting project will provide new knowledge about the ways that individual decision making positively impacts life outcomes.”

To do so, the project team will test interventions using a randomized control trial approach examining whether training individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and support networks to use a supported decision-making approach improves life satisfaction and integration in community living and daily life outcomes. The project will be conducted in cooperation with the District of Columbia Department of Disability Services.

BBI Director of Research Meera Adya, says that the project’s findings are “designed to identify policy and practices across the life course (youth in transition, working age adults, aging population) to enhance self-determination and community living.” The lead collaborators of the newly funded project also are engaged as partners on the ACL-funded National Resource Center for Supported Decision Making (NRC-SDM).