People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have the potential to benefit from wireless technologies and social networking opportunities facilitated through these technologies. People with IDD, however, are often excluded from technology use and online environments. The aim of this research was to explore how wireless technology tools and software applications help people with IDD socially connect, and how people with IDD and those that support them perceive the usefulness of such tools within this population. To address this goal, a series of focus groups was conducted with adults with IDD, family members of adults with IDD, and professionals who work with people with IDD (e.g., vocational rehabilitation counselors, certified job coaches, transition coordinators in K-12 schools). Our research team coded and analyzed the focus group data following a qualitative descriptive approach. The six identified themes listed below are discussed in the research brief.
Theme 1: Hardware and Software
Theme 2: Accessibility Features
Theme 3: Reasons for Connecting Socially
Theme 4: Barriers to and Supports for Connectivity
Theme 5: Concerns or Fears About Connectivity
Theme 6: Outcomes from Social Connectedness