Family and Disability Studies Initiative

About Us

The Family and Disability Studies Initiative (FDSI) is a multi-disciplinary collaboration of community organizations, researchers and practitioners that work in partnership with parents and families affected by lifelong disability.  

Our Aim:

The purpose of the FDSI is to promote the participation, health, and well-being of people with disabilities and their families across all areas of life.

Our Approach:

To build capacity for research and innovation: Collaborate, Create, Disseminate

  • Collaboration and graduate research:  

The focus of the FDSI is on the nexus of family, disability, and human service systems. To this end we aim to forge new research collaborations, fuel innovation, and build systems capacity to support persons with disabilities and their families, by bringing people together from different disciplines and sectors (university, government, community) and in partnership with individuals with disabilities and their families.

  • Creation of new knowledge:  

The FDSI operates from a social/relational approach and critical standpoint. Members and collaborators of the FDSI are advancing knowledge by better understanding the strategies and resources used by those with disabilities and their families to meet life challenges. We strive to better understand the greater context that shapes life experience; indentifying social determinants of health, wellbeing, and meaningful participation. Such knowledge allows for the creation of practical solutions to complex, intractable problems in partnership with people with disabilities and their families.

  • Dissemination:  

The FDSI is committed to promoting the translation of new knowledge into policy and practice. Education, including research practicum opportunities, is central to this goal. Dissemination is also realized through production of both academic and non-academic publications. Global access is achieved through a centralized online hub of information and networking opportunities for researchers, practitioners, community partners, and interested individuals.  

Our Commitment

To advance the rights of persons with disabilities and their families inline with the UN Convention on the rights of the Child, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

To this end, we commit to promoting the rights of persons with a disability and their families to engage in decision making processes that affect their lives, and to equal opportunities for health and wellbeing across the lifespan.