The role of professionals in promoting independent living: Perspectives of self-advocates and front-line managers

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Support from professionals plays an important role in helping people with intellectual disabilities to live an independent life. This research aims to analyse the role played by support professionals based on the perceptions of the professionals and self-advocates with intellectual disabilities. The research was conducted in Catalonia (Spain). Method: A total of 33 interviews were conducted with front-line managers and 10 focus groups with 72 self-advocates. These were recorded and transcribed, and then analysed using thematic content analysis. Results: Self-advocates particularly value professionals' interpersonal skills and emotional support. Front-line managers and self-advocates highlight training actions aimed at enhancing autonomy in the home and propose fostering natural supports and increasing the involvement of people with disabilities. Conclusions: Making progress in the rights of people with intellectual disabilities to an independent life requires requires transforming the support model, promoting decision making among people with intellectual disabilities, and strengthening interpersonal skills linked to emotional support in the training of professionals ​
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