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Rev. William Gaventa

“Spirituality, Quality of Life and Pathways to Inclusion and Belonging”

A core tenet of policy and practice with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families is that community inclusion and contribution are both crucial to quality of life. Quality of life tools, however, have a difficult time describing the importance of belonging and the meaning that individuals and families attribute to multiple dimensions of their lives and life in the community. Meaning includes values, beliefs, and experience, all of which are dimensions of spirituality. Spirituality, and inclusive spiritual supports, are valued dimensions of life for people from many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  Quality of life measures lack effective definitions and measures to include spirituality in assessing what people value and gives meaning to their lives. In this lecture, Bill Gaventa will explore these issues and the importance of finding ways to include spirituality in systems of assessment, planning, and supports.  Some of the material presented is in his new book, Disability and Spirituality: Recovering Wholeness, published by Baylor University Press. Rev. Gaventa is the past President of the AAIDD, and currently the Director of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability. He worked for over twenty years at New Jersey’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center.

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