School of Health and Human Sciences

Design Thinking: Assessing the health needs of college students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities

Jeffrey Milroy, PhD Lindsey Oakes, PhD, Benjamin Hickerson, PhD (03/2021)

Background: There is a dearth of literature related to well‐being of college students with IDD. The purpose of this study was to use design thinking to identify health‐related innovations for college students with IDD. Method: Two design thinking events were conducted with participants (n = 16). Subsequent web‐based surveys with a separate group of students with IDD (n = 18) assessed feasibility of each innovation. Collaborative group discussions were used to assess each innovation, and quantitate data were used to assess innovation feasibility. Results: A total of 16 innovations were constructed: 4 sexual health, dating and relationships, 2 drugs and/or alcohol, 2 exercise and physical activity, 2 socializing, leisure and recreation, 2 food and nutrition and 4 mental health. Conclusion: Design thinking methods are a suitable strategy to use with individuals with IDD and led to the development of innovations with high relevancy and feasibility for college students with IDD.