Reconciling the Past and Changing the Future

Reconciling the Past and Changing the Future
Reconciling the Past and Changing the Future

Research always takes place in a cultural context

All populations are made up of different kinds of people, including persons with IDD-MH. Research must consider and be responsive to the diversity of persons with IDD-MH, their families, and the socio-cultural dynamics that are present in the communities in which they live. 

A member of our leadership team, Tawara Goode, explains what we did to ensure that we honored and adhered to principles and practices of cultural and linguistic competence in our research.


In order to recognize and respond to the diversity and multiple cultural identities of young adults with IDD-MH, researchers can:

  • Make sure data are collected, analyzed, and reported commensurate with social identities and memberships a person may have, in addition to IDD-MH.
  • Describe research participants in a way that delineates the within-group diversity among those with neurodiversity. For example:
    • Race
    • Ethnicity
    • Culture
    • Gender identity and expression
    • LGBTQI
    • Languages spoken including American Sign Language and languages other than English
    • Level of proficiency in English
    • Other forms of communication
    • Socioeconomic status
    • Geographic locale/place 

For more information about cultural competence, visit the Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence.