Ashley Wolfe

Ashley Wolfe, Research Liaison. Since Ashley Wolfe joined the ICI in 2008, she has gained extensive experience with doing qualitative research. As a research liaison, Ashley writes about her human research findings for peer-reviewed journals. She also works on materials for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families, and for job developers. She gets support from a job developer and a professional mentor, as well as from her supervisors. Ashley develops consent tools and interview protocols that are clear and easy to understand. She also analyzes data and helps decide on the best way to share it with different audiences. As someone with Down syndrome, Ashley is an advocate for herself and for other people with IDD. Her research at the ICI is about ways for people with IDD to succeed at school, at work, and in their communities. She has presented research findings at conferences and mentored self-advocates in Florida. Ashley works at Boston University as a peer mentor and as a professional consultant for young adults with intellectual disabilities on a youth panel. She also works with teens with IDD. Ashley was awarded the first-ever Research in Action award by The Arc in 2011. In 2014, she received the Disability Law Center’s Individual Leadership Award.

Support Through Mentorship: Accessible Supervision of Employees with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Effective supervision of employees with intellectual or developmental disabilities can be challenging for businesses that may not have experience in hiring people with diverse support requirements. This is largely due to the relatively low participation rates of people with disabilities in the workforce. This is, thankfully, changing as more businesses are seeing the value of diversifying their workforce, which includes hiring people with diverse cognitive abilities like people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Choosing Employment: Factors that Impact Employment Decisions for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Little is known about the factors that shape the employment-related decisions of individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD). This article presents findings from qualitative interviews with individuals with ID/DD, their family members and employment-support professionals from four Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) throughout Massachusetts. Recognizing the value of participatory action research, this study also included a co-researcher with ID/DD who participated in all facets of the research process.

The Influential Role of the Job Developer: Increasing Self-Determination and Family Involvement Through the Job Search

Job developers can influence decision-making during the job search and placement process. For a study exploring the employment decisions of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD), researchers interviewed 16 individuals with IDD, their family members, and professionals involved in their job search. Participants were asked what factors, circumstances, or people affected their decisions about work. The job developer was consistently named the most influential person in the job-search process.

The Power of Friendship

Friendship is important for all of us! This includes people with and without disabilities. People often feel better and happier when they have friends. As part of a research project about the choices people with disabilities make about work, we interviewed 16 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). These people also chose family members and professional staff people for us to interview. We asked them how they made decisions about working and making friends.