Character Strengths and Intellectual and Developmental Disability: A Strengths-Based Approach from Positive Psychology
Ryan M. Niemiec, Karrie A. Shogren, and Michael L. Wehmeyer
Abstract: There has been limited focus in the disability field on assessing and intervening to promote strengths of character. However, character strengths have received significant attention in the broader field of positive psychology. This paper provides an overview of the growing science of character strengths and explores why and how character strengths are relevant to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and a strengths-based perspective in the disability field. We offer key concepts, research findings, and interventions from the science of character that can provide a framework for the intellectual and developmental disabilities field to begin to build on strengths of character to enhance the systems of supports and quality of life outcomes experienced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.