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Problem statement

Since 2001, the Flemish Agency for Persons with Disabilities (VAPH) has provided personal assistance budgets (PAB) to persons with disabilities. As budget holders, they organize and pay for their own assistance. Due to the socialization of care and the introduction of person-centered budgets (PVB), there is an increasing demand for quality personal assistants who are responsible for providing support in daily life and promoting the client's quality of life and participation and inclusion. The research focuses on personal assistants without family ties in adults with intellectual disabilities

Research questions

This exploratory study maps the support provided by personal assistants without family ties to adults with intellectual disabilities. It examines the impact the personal assistant has on the budget holder's quality of life. In doing so, the support model of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is used, with a particular focus on the participation dimension.

The research focuses on the following central research question: To what extent does external personal assistance influence participation of the adult with intellectual disability?

More specifically, the following sub-questions are addressed:

  • What task or tasks does the personal assistant take on for the client and client system?
  • What expectations does the client-client system have regarding personal assistance?
  • What expectations does the personal assistant have about job content support? 
  • What does the personal assistant need to provide support to the client/client?

This is an exploratory study conducted using the responsive research approach. This approach is grounded in social constructivist knowledge theory and places narratives and dialogue about themes at its core. The research primarily follows a qualitative design. Interviews and focus groups will be conducted with the three reference groups of this study (i.e. personal assistants, clients and client system). This qualitative component will be supported by a quantitative survey (digital questionnaire) which will be distributed through various work field channels.