Healthy Lifestyles Curriculum Overview

Healthy Lifestyles for People with Disabilities is a holistic wellness workshop designed for people with disabilities. The original Healthy Lifestyles for People with Disabilities workshop curriculum was developed under the Disabled and Healthy Project in 1998 by a work group composed of people with disabilities and professionals from the Oregon Institute on Disability and Development (OIDD) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), with funding from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities. The curriculum was revised and implemented by staff at the Oregon Office on Disability and Health (OODH) and Centers for Independent Living throughout Oregon from 2001 to the present. Funding for the revisions comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The workshop embodies the self-determination model, and its ultimate goal is to give participants the tools they need to:

  1. Evaluate their current life situations
  2. Identify areas in their lives they would like to improve
  3. Make positive changes in those areas

The steps to achieving the workshop goals are laid out in four sessions. In sessions one and two, participants define a healthy lifestyle and identify values that are important to them. In session three, participants learn about the components of a healthy lifestyle and identify the areas that they would like to change in order to move towards a healthier lifestyle. Finally, in session four, participants learn how to make positive changes in these areas by using a goal-planning process.

In the Healthy Lifestyles workshop, the five areas of a healthy lifestyles are defined as:

  1. emotional health;
  2. social health;
  3. physical health;
  4. spiritual health/ living one's values;
  5. health through meaningful activities.

These areas, or components, of a health lifestyle are embodied in a Healthy Lifestyles Wheel, a learning tool used in the workshop. The Healthy Lifestyles Wheel  is based on current social and psychological research as well as participant input. Having monthly support groups after the workshop is important to the overall success of each participant. Support groups provide participants with educational opportunities, a forum to discuss their goals, and a chance to meet with the friends they made during the workshop.

The Healthy Lifestyles workshop focuses on helping participants:

  • Understand and examine their personal values, choices, and health
  • Gain knowledge about five components of a healthy lifestyle
  • Develop and follow a self-determined healthy lifestyles game plan