Hinckley 2018: How to foster belonging for children and adults with disabilities

Of the approximately 526,000 people who live in the Provo-Orem area, 15,000 individuals have intellectual and developmental disabilities…and about 100,000 individuals have disabilities in general.

In his 2018 Marjorie Pay Hinckley lecture “Fostering Belonging: Inclusion, Friendship, and People with Disabilities,” Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education Erik Carter invited us to see these individuals for their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses and differences. In doing this, they will truly find worth and belonging in our congregations and communities.

In his research and studies, Dr. Carter found that there is a pattern of 10 attitudes, actions, and experiences that lead to belonging.

1. To be present

In a study conducted by Dr. Carter, 87% of people with disabilities said that faith was “somewhat” or “very important” in their lives, yet only 43% of individuals with significant disabilities attend worship services at least once a month. This is not a critique of these individuals, but a critique of our church buildings and services. We must have facilities and services that serve the needs of all members of the congregation and allow them to be present. Where and how we gather say a lot about our community and how we treat the people of our community.

2. To be invited

It is one thing for an individual to be present, but quite another for them to be intentionally invited to be part of a community. And that’s the key–intention. In Dr. Carter’s study, a church leader reported that “it’s not that we deliberately exclude [individuals with disabilities]. In fact, we’re not deliberate at all. That’s the problem.”

An announcement is a good first step and it may be intentional, but it is not personal. A true invitation is personal, lets the individual know that they are personally being thought of and that their presence really matters.

3. To be welcomed

peoplewriting_hinckley 2018“[Being welcomed] is not just about what you say, but rather it is more about what is felt. The host is not the one who determines what feels welcoming. It is the guest,” shared Dr. Carter.

For the host (those who are doing the welcoming), the biggest threat to being welcoming is uncertainty. Ask about the needs of the individual and then ask about who they are. Parents of youth with disabilities say that they see a large degree of joy in their children. When you welcome that joy into your congregation, think about the joy they will give back. The charge to welcome individuals with disabilities is not only for close family, friends or a welcome committee, it is a charge for everyone.

4. To be known

When you welcome someone into your community, they should not stay a stranger for long. Getting to know people is essential, but it is how they are known that is even more important. Don’t know people by simply their name, their labels, or their strength in overcoming their disabilities; see them for who they are and their strengths. Their friendship and joy are something to be shared and appreciated.

5. To be accepted

We need to be personally involved with contacting all members of our community. This is not solely the responsibility of religious leaders, but it is again a responsibility for every member of the congregation. By embracing the person for all they are–both their attitudes of you and your attitudes of them–will be changed.

6. To be supported

Having a disability can be challenging, but even more challenging is doing it without the support of those around you. To be supportive you must show interest, ask for input, and ask good questions. Be an advocate for disability awareness efforts and an advocate for the family so that church can become the happiest and most supportive time of these individuals’ and their families’ week.

7. To be cared for

Church only lasts for a few hours but fellowship needs to continue throughout the week. Truly caring for others means that we “recognize and strive to support the spiritual, emotional, and practical needs” of members even after we leave the chapel on Sunday. This care shows that the individual matters and that they belong. Couldn’t we all be a little more caring and concerned?

8. To be befriended

Friendships are a commodity that we often take for granted. In a national study of adolescents with autism, 24% of adults with intellectual disabilities reported having no friendships or caring relationships other than those with their support staff or family members. “The relationship networks of students [and individuals] with disabilities tend to be quite different from those of students without similar labels.”

We must be intentional with our relationships and take the responsibility of being the friend that our peers and community members need.

9. To be needed

Individuals with disabilities are “indispensable members” of a congregation who bring indispensable gifts and talents that can bless everyone in a congregation. Finding ways to be ministered to by people with disabilities will truly bless individuals in our faith communities who interact and learn from individuals with disabilities.

Giving all individuals the opportunities to serve will serve us well.

10. To be loved

God sees everyone with value, worth, and love, so why should we strive to see people any differently? Loving people with disabilities and making sure that they feel belonging is not something that should be left to the experts, it is something that we should do ourselves.

Dr. Carter emphasized, “The core needs are not what’s different, but the supports that we have to provide to support people are different…It is through simple actions that all in a congregation will feel welcomed and a sense of ‘belonging.’”

Go here for the full lecture or see below.

2018 Hinckley Lecture: Fostering Belonging, Inclusion, and Friendships for People with Disabilities

New Year’s resolutions often focus on strengthening and improving our lives. They might include strengthening your cooking skills or your muscles, but how about strengthening your home and family?

In the name of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, the late wife of Gordon B. Hinckley, and in honor of her commitment to strengthening home and family, the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences will hold its fourteenth annual Marjorie Pay Hinckley lecture on February 8th, 2018. The topic for this year’s lecture is Fostering Belonging: Inclusion, MarjorieHinckleyFriendship, and People with  Disabilities” presented by Dr. Erik Carter of Vanderbilt University. In the past years, distinguished scholars have come to BYU to address pertinent issues such as family instability and complexity, social media, and social aggression, and factors that put children and the American future at risk.  

This year’s topic: Inclusions, friendships, and people with disabilities

Disabilities have always been a present aspect of individuals and society but have only recently received the attention and focus they need and deserve. Whether they be mental, physical, or learning disabilities, these impairments often present challenges to individuals and families who deserve the opportunities to succeed.

In his own experience and research Dr. Carter has found that educational, community and religious organizations all play powerful roles in providing opportunities that  help people with disabilities find valued roles, employment, and relationships with their local community members and peers. These relationships themselves go on to unify and strengthen the community as a whole.

During his lecture, Carter will focus on ten aspects of belonging and how attitudes and actions toward people with disabilities can create more meaningful and lasting inclusion in the community.

BYU research and experience

BYU professors have collaborated among themselves and with other scholars to form groups that research and educate on disabilities. One of these groups is Autism Connect which helps families and individuals with autism better understand the disorder and available resources through research. In addition, BYU also puts on the annual Autism Translational Research Workshop to educate on and share best practices in autism.

While research is fundamental to this field, the next step is making sure that people with disabilities and those associated with these individuals are able to receive the access and support for opportunities such as education, jobs, community, and peer relationships. In a recent article by BYU Psychology and Neuroscience professor Mikle South and Associate Clinical Professor Jonathan Cox, BYU’s own environment for supporting individuals with disabilities and autism was observed and critiqued. In order to succeed in post-secondary education, individuals with disabilities may need transitionary programs, “safe spaces” with minimal sensory stimulation where they can take tests, and have support groups or student mentors.

community

A Community of Inclusion

Success in education and in the community is something that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve. Just like no one should be excluded from receiving an education or job, no one should feel excluded in their community. It is detrimental that we look to establish friendships and relationships with people who need our support.

Learn how to foster belonging within your community through inclusion and friendship with people with disabilities by attending the fourteenth annual Marjorie Pay Hinckley Lecture on February 8th, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hinckley Assembly Hall. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Individuals from the BYU community, families, community leaders, and educators will greatly benefit from Dr. Carter’s presentation.

Instability Among Underprivileged Families: a Cause and Consequence of Poverty

We’d like to believe that the largest difficulty in a child’s life would be not finding the exact color of crayon they’d need to finish drawing a picture. But with the rise of divorce and single parent families, children are forced to live with more and more instability in their lives. “The rate of family change that we’re seeing in the first five years of life is simply overwhelming children’s ability to cope,” stated Dr. Kathryn Edin at the 2017 Hinckley Lecture.

While levels of family instability and complexity are at an all time high, these difficult situations are disproportionately found among disadvantaged families rather than the American population as a whole. The unplanned birth of children into unestablished and young relationships are both the consequence and cause of poverty.

Learn more about the trapping impact of poverty on individuals and the consequential instability in families by watching this excerpt from Dr. Edin’s lecture.

This post is one of many in a series of videos available on our BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.

Instability and Complexity in American Families

Today’s families are changing, as we’ve discussed here and here. Our School of Family Life professors are studying more and more types of families with more and more complex relationships. At our college‘s 2017 Hinckley Lecture, Dr. Kathryn Edin addressed the impact of instability and complexity on many American families. As parents break up, then re-partner, then bring new children into the family dynamic, Dr. Edin explained that “the parental roster is unstable” and “the child has multiple adults in and out of his or her life, claiming the role of mom or dad.” This dynamic is both a consequence and a cause of poverty.

Learn more about instability and complexity by watching this two-minute video, and stay tuned for new videos as we continue to explore these issues.

Dr. Edin’s full lecture is available here.

This post is thirty-fourth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.

Research Shows That People Who Get Divorced or Are Widowed Have the Worst Health

This post is eighteenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.

Research, as we’ve mentioned here and here, shows consistently that people who are married have better health. It follows, then, that divorce or widowhood can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health. Dr. Linda Waite, a sociologist at the University of Chicago and a 2010 Hinckley presenter at BYU, found that people who were married and stayed married to the same person had consistently better health than those who had remarried after a divorce or loss of a spouse, had been divorced or widowed and not remarried, and those who had never married. Interestingly, in terms of physical health, those in the second group who had been divorced or widowed and not remarried reported the worst physical health, those who had never married reported only 12% fewer negative health events, and those who had remarried after divorce or widowhood reported 27% fewer negative health events than the divorced or widowed. Still, that last group suffered 21% more incidences than the “always married.”

 

The previously married also reported worst emotional health, with those who had never married not far behind.

 

The short video below highlights the results of her research, shared in a 2010 Hinckley lecture by Waite. The full video can be viewed here.

 

 

 

What are the Health Advantages of Marriage?

This post is seventeenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.


Want to know how to be healthier? Get married! University of Chicago professor Dr. Linda Waite studied marriage and its effects on people and found that the institution improves the health of those in it. She said, in a 2010 Hinckley lecture, that it gave men confidants and purposes in life beyond themselves. Statistically speaking, she said, they also:

  • Sleep better
  • Eat better
  • Drink less
  • Smoke less

Women get different things out of marriage, namely financial stability. Because women can generally depend more on men to provide for them financially, they are able to spend more time with the children. Women who are married with kids generally spend less time working than they did when they did not have kids.

“It’s extremely important that marriage produces social connections,” Waite added. “It connects people to an intimate other and that’s probably the most important single connection and can’t really be overrated.”

The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities, social development, and single parenting.

Research Says that Marriage Makes You Live Longer

This post is sixteenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.

What’s the secret to living longer? According to Dr. Linda Waite, it’s marriage. In a 2010 Marjorie Pay Hinckley Lecture, Waite shared her research showing this. She studied 100 American couples over eighteen years, charting their marriages, divorces and, deaths. She found that women who were married lived longer than women who never married, were divorced, or widowed: “Marriage keeps women alive,” she said, and the same was true for men, to an even greater extent, all else being equal. “When you look at the most basic, most fundamental health indicator,” she said, “it’s very clear that married people are advantaged.”

Dr. Waite graduated with a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 1976. She is the Lucy Flower Professor in Urban Psychology at the University of Chicago.. She researches social demography, aging, the family, health, working families, and the link between biology, psychology, and the social world. The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair, which sponsored Waite’s lecture, was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities, “social development,” and single parenting.

Dr. Brad Bushman: Pro-social Video Games are Good

This post is twelfth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

Are all video games negative? According to Dr. Brad Bushman, a 2014 Hinckley presenter, there are negative effects of violent video games, but there are positive effects of pro-social games.

Bushman lists video games that encourage kindness and helpfulness. He studied young adults who played pro-social, neutral, or violent video games. The young adults were assigned to give another young adult a puzzle. They could pick the difficulty level. If the person could figure out a certain number of puzzles within a certain amount of time, they got ten dollars. Bushman used this experiement to understand if pro-social games help people be kind.


As we mentioned in previous posts about his lecture on the subjects of measuring aggression in teenage boys and other effects of violent media, Dr. Bushman acknowledges that adults have the right to choose what media they consume, but he advocates making these effects on children known. Realizing that some of his findings are unpopular with mainstream channels, Bushman challenges popular conceptions by taking painstaking efforts to design his studies in accordance with the scientific method.

His studies have been published in prestigious scientific journals. He has testified in the U.S. Congress on topics related to youth violence and aggression, and has served as a member of President Obama’s committee on gun violence.

Since this topic can be controversial, we encourage viewers to watch the full lecture and the Q&A session that follows for a more complete look at these findings.

Bushman received his Bachelor’s in Psychology from Weber State in 1984 and holds an MEd in Secondary Education from Utah State University (1985), Masters in Psychology and Statistics from the University of Missouri (1987 and 1990 respectively), and a Doctorate in Social Psychology from the same school in 1989. He is the Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication at Ohio State University and teaches both psychology and communication classes. The professor has been featured in media such as BBC, NPR, and the New York Times.

The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities and single parenting.

 

Does Violent Media Desensitize You? Yes, Says Dr. Brad Bushman, Hinckley Presenter

This post is tenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

Does violent media desensitize you? According to Dr. Brad Bushman, a 2014 Hinckley presenter, it does. In research that he conducted where he examined the brain waves of video game players of both the violent and non-violent types and then showed them neutral images (such as mushrooms), negative images (such as a dead dog or a child with a birth defect), and violent images (such as a man with a gun being pushed down his throat), he found that those who played violent video games were less shocked by the violent images than those who played non-violent video games. He said, “They’ve become numb to violent images. They’re not shocking anymore.”

Bushman received his Bachelor’s in Psychology from Weber State in 1984 and holds an MEd in Secondary Education from Utah State University (1985), Masters in Psychology and Statistics from the University of Missouri (1987 and 1990 respectively), and a Doctorate in Social Psychology from the same school in 1989. He is the Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication at Ohio State University and teaches both psychology and communication classes. The professor has been featured in media such as BBC, NPR, and the New York Times.

As we mentioned in previous posts about his lecture on the subjects of measuring aggression in teenage boys and other effects of violent media, Dr. Bushman acknowledges that adults have the right to choose what media they consume, but he advocates making these effects on children known. Realizing that some of his findings are unpopular with mainstream channels, Bushman challenges popular conceptions by taking painstaking efforts to design his studies in accordance with the scientific method. His studies have been published in prestigious scientific journals. He has testified in the U.S. Congress on topics related to youth violence and aggression, and has served as a member of President Obama’s committee on gun violence.

The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities and single parenting.

Since this topic can be controversial, we encourage viewers to watch the full lecture and the Q&A session that follows for a more complete look at these findings.

Two-Minute Video on the Effects of Violent Video Games

This post is ninth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

Dr. Brad Bushman, as we mentioned last week and like various faculty members in our college, is an advocate for making the effects of video games on children known so that they and their parents can make informed decisions. Realizing that some of his findings are unpopular with mainstream channels, Bushman challenges popular conceptions by taking painstaking efforts to design his studies in accordance with the scientific method. At a 2014 Hinckley presentation, he related how he did a study on aggression in which he assigned teenage boys to play either violent or nonviolent video games, and then see how they would react when competing against each other.

A group of 14-year-old boys were randomly assigned to play a violent or non violent video game for twenty minutes. After their game-time, the boys rated how cool they thought the game character was, and how much they wanted to be like them. Then, the boys competed against each other to see who could push a button the fastest. The winners got to blast the losers with sound. The winners could chose the duration and level of sound. The winners were told that levels eight through ten could cause permanent hearing damage (though they actually would not.) Some of the winners did indeed choose to blast the losers with those levels of sound, making comments like: “I blasted him with level 10 noise because he deserved it. I know he can get hearing damage, but I don’t care.” The results of his study are reflected in 140 others.

Watch the full lecture here for more information.