Building Resiliency

FourCoreResilienceMansfield Hall adopts a relationally-driven strength-based approach and correspondingly focuses on student strengths in overcoming their challenges.

Research has clearly concluded that building resiliency provides greater outcomes than simply focusing on risk factors (Werner, 2001). Thus, our program is centered around building the skills requisite for improving resiliency: social competence, problem-solving, sense of purpose, and autonomy. These skills are effectively developed within a community rich with environmental protective factors: caring relationships, high expectations, and meaningful participation. With a combination of the environmental protective factors provided by our community and a focus on building resiliency in all aspects of our program, our students demonstrate generalizable and sustainable outcomes necessary for a meaningful life.

Support for our Four Core Approach

Our four core approach is based on the belief that all people must have the opportunity to participate and grow in all aspects of a well-rounded lifestyle. Thus, we provide students with the opportunity to learn, live, give, and engage to develop the authentic skills necessary for a meaningful life. Not only is focusing on learning, living, giving, and engaging helping students reach their true potential, but our approach is supported by extensive research in each domain:


Test, D. W., Fowler, C. H., Richter, S. M., Mazzotti, V., White, J., Walker, A. R., Kohler, P., & Kortering, L. ( 2009). Evidence-based practices in secondary transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 32, 155-128. doi: 10.1177/0885728809336859


Zafft, C., Hart. D., & Zimbrich, K. (2004). College Career Connection: A Study of Youth with Intellectual Disabilities and the Impact of Postsecondary Education. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 39(1), 45–53.

Dolyniuk, C. A., Kamens, M. W., Corman, H., DiNardo, P. O., Totaro, R. M., & Rockoff, J. C. (2002). Students with developmental disabilities go to college: Description of a collaborative transition project. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 17(4), 236-241.

Hart, D., Mele-McCarth, J., Pasternack, R. H., Zimbrich, K. & Parker, D. R. (2004). Community College: A Pathway to Success for Youth with Learning, Cognitive, and Intellectual Disabilities 
in Secondary Settings. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 39(1), 54–66.


VanBergeijk, E., Klin, A. and Volkmar. F. (2008)Supporting More Able Students on the Autism Spectrum: College and Beyond. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Stancliffe, R. J. &  Keane, S. (2000). Outcomes and costs of community living: A matched comparison of group homes and semi-independent living. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 25:4, 281-305. 


 Miller, K., Schleien, S., Rider, C., Hall, C., Roche, M., & Worsley, J. (2002). Inclusive volunteering: Benefits to participants and community. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 36(3), 247-259.

Primavera, J. (1999). The unintended consequences of volunteerism: Positive outcomes for those who serve. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 18(1/2), 125-140.

Moore, C. W., & Allen, J. P. (1996). The effects of volunteering on the young volunteer. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 17(2), 231-258. 


Murphy, N. A., Carbone, P. S., & the Council on Children With Disabilities (2008). Promoting the Participation of Children With Disabilities in Sports, Recreation, and Physical Activities. Pediatrics, 121 (5), 1057 -1061.

Rynders, J., Schleien, S., Meyer, L., Vandercook, T., Mustonen, T., Coland, J., & Olson, K. (1993). Improving interaction outcomes for children with and without disabilities through cooperatively structured, recreation activities: A synthesis of research. Journal of Special Education, 26(4), 386407.