Day-to-day choices available to former institution residents with severe/profound developmental disabilities (movers) were assessed before and after deinstitutionalization and compared with peers who remained in the same institutions (stayers). Data were gathered annually for both groups for 3 years after baseline. Personal characteristics of the two groups did not differ significantly at baseline, except that stayers exhibited more challenging behavior. This was controlled by using baseline challenging behavior as a covariate in group comparisons. Overall, movers exercised significantly more choice, although groups did not differ at baseline. Effects of deinstitutionalization did not differ with level of disability. However, the absolute level of choice available to both movers and stayers was very low.

This report was supported by Cooperative Agreement No. H133B80048 from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and endorsement by that Department should not be assumed. We thank the Minnesota Department of Human Services (Division of Developmental Disabilities), county case managers, and residential staff from state and privately operated residences for their support of and assistance with this project. We are also grateful to Mary Hayden, Barbara Polister, Tim Soulen, and other project staff for their dedicated efforts in conducting the Minnesota Longitudinal Study.

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