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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Throughout history, deficits and limitations in functioning have been emphasized in the cognitive and developmental disability field. However, a shift has emerged in the field and greater attention has been directed to positive personal capacities and experiences. This chapter reviews historical factors that have contributed to deficit-based models of research, policy, and practice for individuals with cognitive and developmental disabilities and factors that are contributing to the emergence of a strengths-based perspective in the cognitive and developmental disability field. The influence of positive psychology in the field will be discussed and selected areas of positive psychology research in the cognitive and developmental disability field described. Directions for future research, policy, and practice are discussed.

Keywords: cognitive and developmental disability, positive psychology, self-determination, happiness, systems change

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