Background Individuals with disabilities experience higher rates of abuse than the nondisabled. Few evidence-based prevention interventions have been published despite a need for such work. This study evaluated
Impact: Ability, a safety and self-advocacy training for individuals with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. METHODSA quasi-experimental design was used to assess change in safety and self-advocacy knowledge, confidence, and behaviors among special education high school students in Boston, MA. Instruments were interviewer-administered at 3 time points. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to compare change between the intervention (N = 21) and wait-list (N = 36) groups. Repeated measures analysis was used to test change in the complete sample (N = 57).
Results: Students were diverse (58% males, 82% nonwhite) with a range of disabilities. Significantly greater improvement in key outcomes, including safety and self-advocacy knowledge, confidence, and behavior, were observed in intervention students compared to the wait-list group. Results in the complete sample showed evidence of further improvements in students’ sense of safety and general self-efficacy.
Conclusions These findings are encouraging given the effects were demonstrated in a heterogeneous urban population.
Impact: Ability may be an effective safety and self-advocacy training for students with disabilities. Further research will be required to determine effectiveness within particular subpopulations of students.
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