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Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

Positive Disability Identity Development in Adults with Down Syndrome

Maria Couline N. Gloria, LPT

Department of Psychology, De La Salle University-Manila

Author’s Note

This research proposal is presented to the Psychology Department, College of Liberal

Asrts of the De La Salle University-Taft, Manila, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the

degree Master of Science in Psychology, Major in Human Development.

Correspondence as regards this research should be addressed to Maria Couline N. Gloria,

LPT. E-mail:

Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development


Over the course of the life span, one of the prime goals of an individual is developing a

firm identity. Identity is formed through socialization processes that an individual encounters

throughout his or her lifespan (Brown, 2008). Stability in one’s identity is ideal for typical adults.

On the other hand, for individuals with disabilities, a lot of factors come into play in considering

the development of their identity in comparison to their typical counterparts. An identity roots

from one’s self, encompassing personality traits, social roles, and dynamics between an

individual and the groups he or she is exposed to (Dunn and Burcaw, 2013). More often than not,

these social interactions greatly influence how individuals with disabilities perceive themselves,

later on translating into the basis of the identities that they have been forming. In the past,

individuals with disabilities are seen as flaws to society; individuals who do not have the right to

neither live nor take part in the affairs that typical people engage in (Global Down Syndrome

Foundation). Individuals with Down Syndrome are still continually experiencing discrimination

and inferiority. In progressive countries such as Denmark, Italy, Germany, France, and

Switzerland, 90% of Down Syndrome fetuses are being aborted as soon as detected in the womb.

The goal of these countries is to be “Down Syndrome free”, as rates shoot up, already

synonymous to the Nazi genocide (Rudgard, 2018).

The present era demands acceptance and inclusion of individuals with disabilities. The

perception towards individuals with disabilities had to be amended. Through the years, there

have been numerous studies focusing on how these individuals develop cognitively, socio-

emotionally, and physically. Because of the rise of movements that champion rights for

individuals with disabilities, there has been a trend on looking into the development of their
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

identities; more commonly known as studies on disability identity formation. There have been

models such as the Social Model of Disability (Hunt and Home, 1970) and the Disability Identity

Development Model (Gibson, 2005) that aimed to justify the necessary perceptions and stages of

disability identity development. However, it has been observed that these models posit the

necessity of going through grievance or anger towards disability. From this impression arises a

need to create models that illustrate and encourage positive disability identity development

(Shakespeare, 1996; Swain and French, 2000).

The current study aims to create a Model of Positive Identity Development. Adults with

Down Syndrome have been chosen to be the prime participants of the study, as a groundbreaking

research revealed that individuals with Down Syndrome are among the happiest individuals

existent (Skotko, 2011). The study suggests that this happiness springs from their life

satisfaction. This innately positive disposition of individuals with Down Syndrome would

appropriately place the tenets that would make up a model of positive disability identity

formation. This innate trait of happiness with individuals with Down Syndrome could be

perceived as an integral influence to disability identity formation. Disability identity formation,

after all, includes the adaptation of an individual to his or her disability. It is a process that

includes all domains of development to reach an “optimal state of well-being” (Bogart, 2004).

Benchmarking this common trait of individuals with Down Syndrome as the driving variable that

could lead to a positive disability identity development model would address the need of a model

that omits negative factors such as anger and frustration (Shakespeare, 2010).
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

Review of Related Literature

The emergence of movements on acceptance of individuals with disabilities in

society called for a need to create a progressive model of identity formation (Swain and French,

2004). In this section, the definition of disability would be viewed through two lenses—the

medical perspective and the sociological perspective. Currently, research provides several

models of disability identity formation. The widely used models of identity formation are

provided in this chapter. Furthermore, details about the current state of Down Syndrome are

included to explain the necessity to create a model based on individuals with the mentioned



Disability is often seen as a factor that automatically categorizes individuals as the

“other” in society. The concept is divided into two perspectives—the medical perspective, and

the sociological perspective. Coming from the medical perspective, Lawson (2001) describes

individuals with disability as people who have intellectual and sensory impairments. It is

pictured out as a biological phenomenon that focuses on the physical differences of individuals.

(Shakespeare, 1996). There is a status quo of having differently-abled individuals categorized as

people who have incapabilities that need to be fixed. It brings about abnormalities, damages, and

impairments that need to be addressed by the medical field (Albert, 2004). This perspective,

then, causes social oppression, marginalization, and segregation amongst people within a society

(Shakespeare, 2010).
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

The sociological perspective describes disability as a social construct; categorizing

individuals according to their condition. Because of this, there has been a collective development

of a negative self-identity (Shakespeare, 2010).

Disability Identity Formation

The change of the modern times imposes a demand for complete understanding and

acceptance of individuals with disabilities. It is expected that through the continuous process of

disability identity formation, individuals with disabilities would be able to define themselves

through one perception of their personality (Fillingham, 2013). Disability identity formation has

been equated to self-concept of disabled individuals, placing self-esteem, group identity, and

self-efficacy under the umbrella of disability identity formation (Bogart, 2004; Forber-Pratt,

Lyew, Mueller, and Samples, 2004; Ittyerah and Kumar, 2007; Maxey and Beckert, 2016). In a

study that made use of a mixed-methods approach to predict self-identification with disability,

there were notable findings that emerged in the two sets of studies. The first study made use of

quantitative measures through an online questionnaire. With participants of varying disabilities,

it has been revealed that those with severe conditions were more likely to identify themselves as

disabled, as well as those who are unemployed. Furthermore, the second qualitative study

revealed the following categories: shaped, visibility, and accommodations. According to the

study, those whose identities were shaped or influenced by their condition identified with their

disability more. Participants whose disabilities were visible also easily identified themselves as

disabled. Individuals who were exposed to accommodations because of their disabilities also saw

themselves as part of the disabled community. The results from this study show that the more

that a condition is acknowledged, they develop a stronger sense of disability identity

Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

(Rottenstein, 2013). It has also been observed from the quantitative study that association with a

disability identity is constituted by negative social perceptions, consistent with the observation of

Shakespeare (2010) that disability identity formation models and processes are generally


There is a need for individuals with disabilities to construct personal narratives that speak

of their first-hand experiences to establish continuity and completion of an identity (Galvin,

2005; Ittyerah and Kumar, 2007). Fillingham (2013) identified three themes in his study on

disability self-dientity. It has been revealed that there is a need to negate a “new” identity given

their disability. The foundations of one’s self-identity are all about personal attitudes that are

formed by different interactions that encourage positive self-esteem (Kelly, n.d.; Forber-Pratt, et.

al, 2017). A study by Evans (2016) points this out as a life history methodology, looking into the

past experiences of individuals to establish the development of a person’s current state. The

aforementioned study has concluded that without exposure to an advocacy or encounters with

individuals or groups with common causes, it is more likely that an individual would perceive his

or her disability as limiting and preventing one from living a normal life (Evans, 2016).

The continuous recognition of the individuality of people who are differently abled strive

to reach the peak of normalizing perceptions towards disability (Galvin, 2005). Several models

materialized to address this need to fully understand them. This paved the way for disability

identity research. The recent emergence of the integration of persons with disabilities in society

has sparked interest in studying possible overarching processes through which these identities are


One of the dominant models of disability identity development is Forber-Pratt and Zape's

(2014) Disability Identity Development Model, which revealed themes that provide the backbone
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

in understanding disability identity. The study on college students with disabilities was

concluded with four tenets to contribute to the framework. The Acceptance Status refers to the

first turning point in the life of PWD’s wherein one who was born or who has acquired a

disability progressively recognizes and accepts him or herself having a condition. This also

includes being surrounded by support through family and friends. Relationship Status refers to

finding other people who have the same condition and connecting with them, creating

connections that would further hone their individual identities. This would then lead to the

Adoption Status wherein belonging in a group would allow these individuals to adopt

mannerisms, beliefs, and cultures. The Engagement Status talks about how a person reaches a

"peak" in his or her disability identity development. This is when one becomes a role model and

imparts to those who have the same condition, paving the way for mentorship. Murugami (2009)

enriches this model through presenting three conceptualizations in disability--focusing on

physical and intellectual defects, relativisation of individual preconditions, and disregarding

individual preconditions, respectively. This model views disability as an interaction between the

perspectives towards individuals with disabilities and the society in which the individual belongs

to (Murugami, 2009). An emphasis on the self, being a crucial factor to identity formation has

also been pointed out, positing that the essence of the self lies in choice. Individuals are free to

accept or deny identities established by those around them. In a study on the personal

constructions of disability and identity, it has been pointed out that the identities of individuals

with disability are impossible to codify, as their identities depend on their idea of self-meaning

(Johnstone, 2004). There were five identities that emerged from the study. Disempowering

identities refer to people who are confined within the social stigmas attached to their disability.

Overcompensating identities, on the other hand, identify individuals who overachieve to

Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

compensate for their exceptionality. There were also individuals who shift away from their

identities. Moreso, having a disability paired up with a bias in aspects such as SES, race, and

gender, brings forth Complex Identities. Those who find similarities in other people fall under

Common Identities.

Gibson's (2005) model presents the development of disability identity through different

stages. The model illustrates the early childhood years as a stage of Passive Awareness,

adolescence as a stage of Realization, and adulthood as the age of Acceptance. Although the

timeline assigns a stage of development at a certain age, it has been pointed out that individuals

can go from one stage to another. If a person with disability develops loathing or anger towards

his or her condition leading to a phenomena such as identity crisis, one may move from being at

the stage of acceptance, reacting to it through going back to the realization stage (Gibson, 2006).

Other than disability identity development, it is important to also consider the typical

identity formation process. Grotevant’s (1987) Process Model of Identity Formation is a model

that describes an individual’s identity formation as developmental, contextual, and lifelong. The

model’s framework features the process of Orientation to Engage in Exploration, the

Exploration Process that leads to Affective Outcomes and Cognitive Outcomes, Identity

Consolidation, and Identity Evaluation. Once an individual reaches the phase of evaluation, one

would go back to orientation, hence repeating the whole process (Grotevant, 1987). Similar to

models previously mentioned, factors such as individual characteristics and interdependencies

are observable among different domains.

An interesting trend among the given models is the apparent need to go through anger or

denial at some point of their lives. Present models impose that grieving over one’s disability is a
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

given (as mentioned in Bogart, 2004). The observable patterns build up on the idea that the

ultimate goal of disability identity formation is to eventually become a figure of wisdom;

providing mentorship and sharing about one’s disability and giving ways on how to cope and

accept one’s condition. Shakespeare (1996) has specifically pointed out that none of the present

narratives are “psychologically or socially healthy or progressive”, further adding that “they all

involve an element of denial or failure to come to terms: they all involve a significant element of

external definition of accepting external disempowering agendas”. The development of positive

identities has been challenged by a number of factors. One factor is the personal perception of

individuals with disabilities. Given the medical perspective, they are “socialized” to perceive

themselves as subordinate in comparison to their typical counterparts. Bogart (2014) supports

this idea, stating that forming a positive disability identity is hindered by the default isolation of

individuals with disabilities in their communities. Another factor that challenges the

development of positive disability identity is their isolation and separation from outlets of

support (Shakespeare, 1996).

Swain and French (2000) argues that there is a need to create a model that veers away

from the present research. Coining it as the affirmative model, it has been suggested that

disability would not be perceived as tragic, to further develop positive identities (Swain and

French, 2000). There are models that were formed from the focus on grief, turning a blind eye

towards personal perceptions of disabilities (Forber-Pratt, et. al., 2017). The development of a

positive disability identity is a process (Shakespeare, 1996) and the current circumstances posit a

need to review and re-assess the current identity formation processes present at the emergence of

intervention and inclusion.

Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

Down Syndrome

Today, there are approximately one billion people who have a form of disability (World

Health Organization, 2012), from which,1 in every 700 has Down Syndrome. In the Philippines

alone, there are 1 in 800 infants born with Down Syndrome, making up 1,875 cases of the

condition (Alcantara and Castronuevo, 2016). Down Syndrome is currently the most common

chromosomal disorder. Studies focusing on the causes of Down Syndrome suggest that a

mother’s age is directly correlational to the risk of possibility of a child to be born with Down

Syndrome (National Society of Genetic Counselors, n.d.). The life expectancy of individuals

with Down Syndrome has greatly increased. From having an initial life expectancy of only ten

years during the 1960’s, individuals with Down Syndrome have lived until an average of 47 in

2007 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017), and up to as old as 60 since medical

practices against Down Syndrome individuals have been eliminated (National Society of Genetic

Counselors, n.d.; Global Down Syndrome Foundation, 2018). A notable attribute of individuals

with Down Syndrome is their positive disposition. In a study involving individuals with Down

Syndrome who are 12 years of age and up, it has been revealed that although not a solid 100% of

the population of individuals with Down Syndrome are generally happy or contented with life, a

good majority have exhibited positive dispositions towards their perspective about themselves

and about others (Skotko, Levine and Goldstein, 2011).

This common perception of individuals with Down Syndrome as “happy people” could

be seen as an opportunity to review the need to create more affirmative models (Swain and

French, 2000) of disability identity formation. Since the emergence of early intervention in the

1960’s, the progression of identifying and recognizing one’s condition had a gradual and
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

significant effect on self-perception and identity (Shonkoff and Meisels, n.d.). Being able to

recognize one’s disability would pave the way for acceptance and positive self-perception.


The presented literature has established the context of the lack of frameworks or models

of disability identity development that presents a positive development (Shakespeare, 2010). It

has been observed that the common denoument of the processes of disabilitiy identity formation

revolves around generation and wisdom (Gibson, 2006, and Bogart, 2004), implying that the

peak of disability identity formation is acceptance of one’s disability after going through

recognition and self-evaluation. On the other hand, Grotevant (1987) suggests that typical

identity formation is a cycle. The proponent suggests that the height of disability identity

formation is reevaluation, a state wherein an individual looks into what the process of identity

formation has developed; and that one goes back to the first stage, engaging into exploration

(Grotevant, 1987).

Placing the current prominent models of disability identity formation vis-á-vis typical

identity formation processes raise the need to look into other possibilities in disability identity

development. In an era of recognition, support, and early intervention, there is a possibility that

individuals with disabilities may go through a shift in identity development. Adults with Down

Syndrome would pave the way to create firm foundations of posibility disability identity

formation research as their population are known to be naturally jovial and accepting of their

condition (Skotko, Levine, and Goldstein, 2011).

The current study will be looking into the positive disability identity formation in adults

with disabilities, particularly, adults with Down Syndrome. Apart from previous researches, this
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

study focuses on the development of disability identity considering the likelihood that an

individual need not to go through a separate stage revolving around anger, frustration, and self-

doubt; perceiving these emotions as a part of a positive progression of formation. Findings from

this research would pave the way for the recognition of the merits of early intervention and

inclusion, as well as the effects of external support and opportunities.

Conceptual Framework

Figure 1 Conceptual Framework of Positive Disability Identity Formation

This study’s goal is to come up with an updated model of Positive Disability Identity.

Guided by Gibson’s (2005) Model of Disability Identity Developement, the model depicts stages

throughwhich an individual with disability would more likely go through. Just as the emergence

of early intervention and support has become evident, the ommission of the inclusion of anger as
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

an integral part of disability identity development has been observed. The framework suggests

three stages of disability identity formation, the second stage having two variations.

Awareness takes place in the early years of one’s life. During this stage, a child with

Down Syndrome is exposed to peers with a similar condition, or is subjected to early

intervention and support. Given the environment that has been established around the child, there

is already a sense of identification as an individual who is part of an able-bodied world. The first

strand of the second stage is Intervention/Support. This strand is for children who have not

encountered any form of early intervention or support but have been made aware that they have

Down Syndrome. During middle childhood up to early adolescence or early adulthood, the

individual is given the external support and intervention that was not provided during their early

years. This may include occupational or physical therapy, speech and language pathology,

health-related sessions, and trainings and classes for individuals with Down Syndrome. It is

expected that upon providing these services and opportunities, their self-perceptions and sense of

belonging are honed into a bigger picture—that despite the demands of Down Syndrome, they

can contribute to an inclusive society. The second strand is Optimization, wherein one’s

recognition of his or her abilities and belongingness in the Down Syndrome community that has

been developed through early intervention and support is modified, honed, and applied. One’s

skills and capabilities are used through engaging in activities such as school work, taking part in

an inclusive work force, and going through daily routines. At this stage, an individual with Down

Syndrome performs tasks allowable by limitations set by their condition and further developing

these abilities to expertise. An individual with Down Syndrome has the opportunity to shape his

or her environment through self-identification, recognition of one’s disability, and presentation

of one’s self. Though this stage is optimistic in nature, the normative existence of doubt and
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

social comparison is expected but is not given emphasis. Utilization and proactivity serves as the

goal for positive disability identity formation. At this stage, adults with Down Syndrome make

full use of their developed skills and expertise to take part in society. Down Syndrome has

already grown into a normalized part of their identity, hence, it is not seen as a hindrance to

positive self-perception. Moreso, individuals may partake in proactivism through involvement in

causes related to their disability. This is reflective of the pattern of wisdom in past studies

(Bogart, 2004, and Gibson, 2006).

Research Problem

The current research aims to look into positive disability identity formation. With the

intention of omitting the common stages of anger, frustration, or disregarding present conditions

from previous models (Gibson, 2005; Murugami, 2009), adults with Down Syndrome have been

chosen to take part in the study. Individuals with Down Syndrome are perceived to be innately

happy (Skotko, 2011), hence, considered as the appropriate participants for the study. The study

aims to answer the following questions:

What are the stages of the identity formation of individuals with Down Syndrome?

a. What are the factors that contributed to the progression of their identity

development from childhood to adulthood?

Research Design

Guided by Gibson’s (2005) Model of Identity Disability and Swaine and French’s (2000)

Affirmation Model of Disability, the present study will be using a Qualitative Approach. The
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

nature of qualitative research is building up knowledge from data made available through the

study, presenting a coherent image of reality (Kielmann, Cataldo, and Seeley, 2011). The

approach is perceived to be more relevant and holistic, opening the possibilities of the study to

interpretation (Kielmann, Cataldo, and Seeley, 2011, and Crescentini, A. and Mainardi, G.,

2009). Furthermore, given the nature of the research, the use of constant comparison will be

used. Adapted from the grounded theory approach, having constant comparison requires the

identification of pertinent themes that would determine the flow of disability identity formation

(Hancock, Ockleford, and Windridge, 2004).


Participants of the study would be recruited through the following disability

organizations: Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, ABLE Store, and UniLab

Foundation. Moreso, snowball sampling or chain-referral sampling will also be utilized to gather

more respondents. This type of sampling would be done thorugh the parents and the heads of the

mentioned organizations. To qualify for the study, the participants are expected to fit the

following criteria:

1. Must be an individual with Down Syndrome,

2. Must be at least 18 years old and above,

3. Must have a mental age of at least 13 years old (as of last assessment by his or her

Developmental Pediatrician), and,

4. Must be verbal and is capable of engaging in conversation

A mental age of 13 is required for the study to ensure that the conversation between the

researcher and the participant would be stable and so that it would be easy for the participants to

address prompts and follow-up questions.

Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development


A set of questions has been prepared to serve as the guide of the researcher in data

gathering (please see Appendix A). Each question has a corresponding follow up question and

prompt that would allow the research to draw out more responses relevant to the research.

Based on Gibson’s Disability Identity Development model, the questions made investigate

through the participants’ experiences from their childhood, their adolescence, leading to their




Before the interview proper, the participants who have expressed their intentions would

be briefed about the study. This would require the researcher to introduce the topic of the study,

as well as the methodology by which the data gathered from the participants would be analyzed.

However, the desire to create a positive model would not be disclosed to avoid the masking of

responses to be in line with the research objective. Once the participants have decided to agree to

take part in the study, their demographics would be collected, and schedules for interviews

would be assigned. Their preferred medium of communication would also be determined. They

are given the choice have the interview in English or in Filipino.

Interview Proper

The researcher would be visiting the headquarters of participants from organizations to

hold the face-to-face interviews. Interviews will be done one by one, each interview allotted a

maximum of one hour and thirty minutes (1.5 hours) to accommodate multiple interviews in a
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

day. The interview would not be held in a close-door setting. It will be integrated in the usual

daily routine of the interviewees. From this time frame, there is an allotted fifteen minutes for

warm up, to make the participant familiar with the interviewer, and to establish a rapport that

could make the responses more authentic. The interview will start with an affirmation of the

demographics collected from the participant, asking basic questions like “What is your name?”

and “How old are you?”. Once the basic information have been affirmed, the researcher would

then proceed with asking the prepared questions. All the interviews will be audio recorded.

Data Analysis

The desired results of the research are patterned after the stage-by-stage progression of

disability identity formation modeled by Gibson (2005). To come up with a similar coherent set

of results, data gathered from the interview will first be transcribed and is subject to open coding.

Once open coding has been done, progressive focusing would be performed to further condense

the categories to center the study’s results (Hancock, Ockleford, and Windridge, 2009). Simple

thematic analysis would be used to detect broader implications of the themes from the data. Themes that

have emerged would be gathered and defined (University of Auckland). Once the categories have been

finalized, the researcher would be summarizing and interpreting findings to come up with a

coherent model of positive disability identity development. In the event that there would not be

no dominant models from the data, additional participants would be requested to take part of the

study, with a maximum of 20 total participants to saturate the results (Hancock, Ockleford, and

Windridge, 2009).
Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

Methodological Limitations

Placing the responses of the participant and the interpretation of the researcher in

juxtapose, there may be a possible risk in the partiality of the intended model (Shai, n.d.). This

impending issue would be addressed through the prepared questions for the interviews. Follow

up queries and prompts are already provided for each main question to minimize the

establishment of a bias towards responses that could result to a halo effect.

The prescribed sample size of the approach is at a maximum of 10 participants (Creswell,

2014). Though perceived as the appropriate sample size for this type of research, there may be

troubleshooting cases once responses are interpreted. There may be a big margin of variability

that would result to not having a coherent set of chronological stages or categories to come up

with the model. Should this instance occur, more participants would be asked to participate in the


Ethical Considerations

One of the critical elements in qualitative research is ethics. Qualitative researchers are

expected to explore, examine, and describe individuals in their natural milieu (Orb, Eisenhauer,

and Wynaden, 2000). There are three primary issues that arise in qualitative research; researcher-

participant relationship, researcher data interpretation, and the research’s design in itself (Ramos,

1989, as mentioned in Orb, Eisenhauer, and Wynaden, 2000). Apart from the initial issues

brought up by qualitative research, the advent of studies revolving around individuals with

disabilities demands a need for a specialized and inclusive set of guidelines. Qualitative research

that includes individuals with disabilities is crucial in revealing issues that should be given more

attention concerning policies, program evaluations and services, and socio-economic interactions
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(National Disability Authority). Ethics in disability research posits core values that would serve

as a guide as the study progresses.

The value of dignity refers to the recognition of various interdependent rights and

interests that would pave the way for accommodation and respect among the participants of a

study. Autonomy establishes the appropriate acknowledgment and validation of the participants,

as they can provide independent decisions and responses. Equality in eligibility constitutes the

value for representative and inclusive data, suggesting that materials and instruments to be used

in a study are for everyone. This may also include other factors such as consideration for

necessary breaks during data gathering, accessible locations and venues for interviews, and

accommodation for the individual needs of participants. Guidance for good practice promotes

inclusion in pursuing a study. Participants should be oriented of the goal of the research and

informed of research findings. Given that qualitative research creates a personal dynamic

between the researcher and the participant, there are instances wherein in-depth, semi-structural

interviews may cause heavy emotional reactions for participants. Participants who have ebbed

capabilities to comprehend parts of the research should be allowed support, as suggested by the

value of support to capacity to consent (National Disability Authority).

In order to address these ethical considerations, a proposal was submitted to the research

adviser. In pursuing the research, participants and/or their guardians would be given a brief

overview of the research to assure that participation in the research is completely voluntary and

is dependent on their intent to take part in the process. They would also be informed that they are

allowed to withdraw their participation from the research at any time. From this, informed

consent would be gathered from the participants. Upon collection of informed consent,

interviews would be scheduled in accordance to the participant’s availability.

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Running head: Positive Identity Development

A short briefing would be given to the participants prior to the interview. They would be

given the allotted timeframe for the interview, an introduction to the semi-structured questions

that would be asked, as well as their right to put the interview on hold for short breaks (e.g. need

to go to the rest room, need to take a quick snack, etc.) or for time to collect themselves to be in

response to a certain question. The participants’ past experiences may be sensitive and upsetting,

that is why the researcher would be rephrasing certain questions for specific participants to avoid

provoking traumatic thoughts.

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Appendix A

Interview Questions for Data Gathering

Positive Disability Identity Development

Running head: Positive Identity Development

1. How do you describe yourself as a person? Can you give words that describe you?

2. What are the notable events that you have ecperienced that made you describe yourself

that way?