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Challenges for A Service System in Transition: Ensuring Quality Community Experiences for Persons with Developmental Disabilities.

M.H. Hayden & B.H. Abery (Eds)., Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes, 1994, 512 pages $35.00, soft cover.

As indicated in the preface, this edited volume represents "the second wave of community living research" in response to President Kennedy's challenge to improve not only the service delivery system, but the social conditions of people with mental retardation. Challenges for A Service System in Transition is a product of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Residential Services and Community Living, a collaborative program involving researchers from the University of Minnesota, Syracuse University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The book is divided into four sections, illustrating the following topics of the community living approach for people with developmental disabilities: a) conceptual and methodological aspects of community living research, b) community integration and social relationships, c) community services and support issues and d) enhancement of independence and autonomy.

Section I analyzes the present state of research in the field of community living and offers recommendations for future lines of inquiry. A central theme of these chapters is an acknowledgment of the complexities inherent to community living research and the justifiable need for utilizing a broad range of perspectives and designs. Alternate methods of research are examined in detail, including one chapter devoted wholly to specific applications of qualitative research. The fourth and final chapter in this section provides tangible examples of multidimensional and multivariate measurement of community adjustment and integration.

Section II focuses on the social inclusion and integration of people with developmental disabilities. Chapter 5 presents in depth analyses of these issues and concrete strategies for assessing and promoting inclusion and acceptance. Of the remaining two chapters, Chapter 6 discusses integration solely in terms of recreational environments and Chapter 7 offers methods for differentiating socially and non socially motivated challenging behaviors with additional suggestions for interventions.

Section III presents a multifaceted examination of community based service delivery. Chapter 8 delivers a detailed analysis of the characteristics of and consequences for people waiting for the delivery of services, while Chapter 9 explores methods for assessing and enhancing the quality of services from systemic and individual perspectives. The remaining four chapters in this section are devoted to examining the topics of cost effectiveness of service provision, aspects of financing and developing community services, and service personnel issues, such as compensation, recruitment, training, and retention in both direct care and residential settings.

The fourth and final section provides a variety of insightful perspectives related to the furtherment of independence and autonomy among people with developmental disabilities. The first chapter, Chapter 14, sets the stage for this section with its emphasis on individual self determination through inclusive interaction within a multi-level ecosystems framework. Chapter 15 explores the cultivation of disability inclusive neighborhoods and the establishment of support services which do not disrupt or hinder the development of family and community connections. Within a multicultural context, Chapter 16 examines interactions between social factors, minority status, disability, and service delivery. The final two chapters offer up-to-date information on aspects of legal guardianship and supported employment.

Challenges for A Service System in Transition covers a wide array of topics relevant to the community living experience of people with developmental disabilities. As a collective? the chapters provide an insightful view of the relationship between service delivery and quality of life. Contrasting examples of community and institutional living are interwoven throughout the text, providing the reader with a clear understanding of the community based service delivery. The text is further enhanced through the use of real life experiences and a concrete and abstract blend of sociological, psychological, vocational, and legal perspectives.

Perhaps one of the strongest elements of this book is the attention accorded disability research. The inclusion of an entire section devoted solely to the examination of research methodology is consistent with the heavy emphasis on research present in nearly every chapter. Although only several chapters offer original studies, the majority of the chapters provide detailed analysis of recent existing research, while backing conclusions with extensive documentation. Based on research and analysis, each chapter advances innovative concepts, solutions, or suggestions for future direction.

While Challenges for A Service System in Transition delivers a well developed, comprehensive overview of community service delivery issues, an additional chapter related to abuse prevention and treatment would be beneficial. Although physical, emotional, and sexual abuse or neglect of people with developmental disabilities is typically associated with institutional settings, recognition and prevention of its occurrence becomes highly relevant in view of the continuing shift to community living. Healing through alternative and traditional forms of treatment could be explored within the context of contemporary service delivery systems.

As a concise and readable text, Challenges for A Service System in Transition provides a wealth of information for rehabilitation professionals. Previous findings related to the delivery of service to people with developmental disabilities are not only summarized, but significantly augmented through current research and analyses of concepts, events, and systems. In sum, this book represents a strong base of professional knowledge, suitable for use as a reference or as a starting point for further research of community based delivery systems.
COPYRIGHT 1995 National Rehabilitation Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Merz, Thomas A.
Publication:The Journal of Rehabilitation
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1995
Words:855
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