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Universal Design for Transition


Universal Design for Transition

A Roadmap for Planning and Instruction
Authors: Colleen A. Thoma Ph.D., Christina C. Bartholomew Ph.D., LaRon A. Scott   Chapter Authors: Beth A. Bader Ph.D., Mary Bryant, Kimberly R. Dell M.T., Donald E. Finn Jr., Jennifer Watson Klein M.T., Santa E. Perez, Ronald Tamura Ph.D., Judith E. Terpstra Ph.D., Darlene D. Unger Ph.D.

ISBN: 978-1-55766-910-0
Pages: 256
Copyright: 2009
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Stock Number:  69100
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Apply the principles of universal design for learning to transition for students with disabilities with this groundbreaking guidebook. Schools across the country already use universal design for learning to improve all students' access to the general curriculum and tap each learner's individual strengths—and now they'll have a practical book that takes this powerful teaching approach one step further for students approaching the transition to adult life.

Transition specialists and educators will discover how to apply universal design for transition (UDT) during the critical middle- and high-school years, using its guiding philosophy—presenting information in multiple formats and media—to help students achieve academic goals, make sound decisions about their future, and make a successful transition to adult life. This timely, concise guidebook reveals how and why UDT can help readers

  • enhance students' self-determination skills
  • plan multiple assessments that measure the full range of student strengths and needs
  • develop IEPs tailored to student goals and interests
  • help students explore career possibilities and prepare for the working world
  • support all the elements of successful transition to community life, including finding a home, managing finances, making personal connections, and enjoying recreational activities
  • create universal access to postsecondary options and help students develop the skills they'll need in college

Throughout the book, readers get practical guidance, teaching tips, and case studies that clearly demonstrate how to present information and skills in multiple settings in a variety of engaging ways. They'll also find suggestions for a wide range of technology supports they can use to accommodate diverse learning needs, including video recordings, Internet tools and resources, audiobooks, podcasts, speech-to-text software, and assistive technology devices.

With this one-of-a-kind guide to UDT, transition specialists and educators will help all students succeed in school, make informed choices about their future, and build lives beyond the classroom that reflect their goals and dreams.

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Reviews

Review: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
"Valuable and thought provoking."
Review by: Peg Lamb, Transition Specialist in Private Practice, Learning and Career Connections, East Lansing, MI
"I strongly endorse this book for any professional involved in teaching practitioners about the area of transition or providing these services. It is one of the most complete books on all of the domains of transition."
Review by: Jeanne B. Repetto, University of Florida, Gainesville
"Filled with strategies to link transition planning and the general education curriculum. As teachers and students understand this linkage both transition and academic student outcomes will improve. What a GREAT resource!"
Review by: Michael L. Wehmeyer, Professor of Special Education, University of Kansas; Director, Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities
"A blueprint for transition in the era of school reform, access to the general education curriculum, self-determination, and, of course, Universal Design for Learning. If you've just acquired this book, welcome to transition in the 21st Century."
Review by: Dave L. Edyburn, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
"Practical resources, strategies, and tools for improving transition practices. Readers will learn how to proactively implement Universal Design for Transition to support diverse learners."
Review by: Diane S. Bassett, Professor, School of Special Education, University of Northern Colorado
"Both content-rich and practical . . . seamlessly weaves the current educational practice with universal design, all within the lens of a transition perspective. This text will advise our field for years to come."

About the Authors
About the Contributors
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments

I: Universal Design for Transition

1: Background and Explanation of Universal Design for Transition

2: Universal Design for Transition and Student Self-Determination

3: Universal Design for Transition in Assessment

4: Using a Universal Design for Transition Approach to Individualized Educational Planning

II: Universal Design for Transition to Facilitate the Transition from School to Adult Life

5: Universal Design for Transition and Employment
with Darlene D. Unger

6: Universal Design for Transition and Postsecondary Education
with Donald E. Finn & Jennifer Watson Klein

7: Universal Design for Transition and Community Living
with Beth A. Bader, Santa E. Perez, & Mary Bryant

8: Universal Design for Transition Applied to Recreation and Leisure
Kimberly R. Dell & Ronald Tamura

9: Using Technology to Put It All Together
with Judith E. Terpstra, Ronald Tamura, Donald E. Finn, & Darlene D. Unger

References
Appendix: Blank Forms
Index

Excerpted from Universal Design for Transition: A Roadmap for Planning and Instruction
By Colleen A. Thoma, Ph.D., Christina C. Bartholomew, Ph.D., & LaRon A. Scott, M.Ed.

Chapter 2: Universal Design for Transition and Student Self-Determination
© 2009. Brookes Publishing. All rights reserved.

Teacher's Voice

Self-determination is important for everyone. The premise behind self-determination is that everyone has a right to choose his or her own destiny, to work toward making his or her dreams a reality. It’s been important in my own life and has to be taught and nurtured for students with disabilities as well. Unfortunately, there are still members of our community who have their lives controlled by those around them. They are told what they will eat for breakfast, how they will dress in the morning, where they will work, how they will play, and where they will live. This is especially true for students who have greater support needs. Let’s face it, it’s more difficult for those students to communicate what they want and more difficult for their teachers to imagine the possibilities. That’s where UDT needs to start and end: with finding a way to ensure that students are actively involved in the entire process, from choosing their longterm and academic goals to choosing the supports that will help them achieve and maintain those goals. It’s something that has to happen across the school day, not just when we talk about transition planning. I do that by ensuring that I have resources available that help students learn what they are interested in, communicate those interests to their families and the individualized education program (IEP) team, and create educational goals that help them get there.

In Chapter 1, the concept of UDT was introduced and characteristics of the approach were outlined. This chapter focuses on one of those characteristics— student self-determination—and its role in balancing the universal nature of this approach with the individual needs of students with disabilities. Successful transition outcomes for individual students are usually clearly tied to the selfdetermination that they demonstrate in the transition process. When individuals are the causal agents for finding supports, instruction, and services in their own lives, they have an increased chance of achieving their goals (Wehmeyer & Schwartz, 1997).

Self-determination helps individuals with disabilities to find their voice so that other transition planning team members hear their goals for adult life. Voice in this scenario refers not only to the spoken word, but also to the many other ways that individuals with disabilities communicate their preferences, including nonverbal body language, behavior, and augmentative and alternative communication devices or systems. This chapter will introduce you to strategies that can be incorporated into a UDT approach to instructional planning, delivery, and assessment to ensure that students also develop the self-determination skills that are so critical to achieving their postsecondary outcomes.

SELF-DETERMINATION 101: WHAT IS IT?

As noted in Chapter 1, Wehmeyer defined self-determination as “acting as the primary causal agent in one’s life, free to make choices and decisions about one’s quality of life, free from undue or unwanted external influence” (1992, p. 13). He later described 12 core component skills that fit under the umbrella of self-determination (1997): choice making; decision making; problem solving; goal setting and attainment; risk taking, independence, and safety; self-regulation; self-instruction; internal locus of control; positive perceptions of self-efficacy and outcome expectancy; self-advocacy and leadership; selfknowledge; and self-awareness. Each of these skills is important for the development of overall self-determination.

UDT and technology may help students learn new skills, improve existing skills, or use their existing skills in new ways. Of course, the use of a UDT approach does not necessarily mean that technology will be used; however, a range of technological supports can make the instructional delivery or assessment process more accessible to a range of students. Table 2.1 provides some examples of technology that may enhance the development and use of the selfdetermination core component skills.

With UDT, instruction covers the broadest range of transition domains, resources, perspectives, self-determination supports, and learner needs for instruction and assessment. Before enhancing, expanding, and refining the curriculum, educators should spend time focusing on what they are required to teach. Often, educators are already teaching many of the core component skills of self-determination but, when embedded in academic standards, they do not always recognize these skills.

LaRon Scott’s first step in finding options to enhance student self-determination skills was to familiarize himself with the content-specific standards he was already required to teach, identifying which self-determination core component skills were already there. Many teachers miss this step and wrongly believe that any instruction they provide to enhance students’ self-determination skills will be instruction that is supplemental to the academic curriculum. For example, LaRon found

  • Math standards that asked students to solve problems
  • Health standards that focused on learning to make good decisions and setting goals for a healthy lifestyle
  • English standards that required students to advocate for themselves or persuade others through speech or writing
  • History standards that described one’s role in society (leadership)
  • Science standards that demonstrated an individual’s relationship to the world around him or her (internal locus of control/self-efficacy).

LaRon’s second step in finding options to enhance student selfdetermination skills was to identify the core component skills that were not included in the instruction. He then identified ways to teach the missing skills, either through direct instruction or UDT-oriented instructional delivery and assessment. For example, LaRon identified self-observation/selfevaluation as a core component skill of self-determination that was not part of the academic standards he was responsible for teaching. However, a lesson in a chemistry laboratory could be universally designed to include selfobservation/ self-evaluation by providing step-by-step instructions to students through a variety of methods (e.g., pictures; recorded verbal instructions; written instructions on a computer or handheld device; PowerPoint presentation with words, sounds, and pictures that students follow on their laptops). Students could also have a method of evaluating their performance on each step by checking off what they were able to complete on a list. Using this lesson, LaRon was able to teach

  1. a functional skill that typical adults use on a regular basis (organizing/scheduling their work)
  2. a critical self-determination skill (along with an opportunity for students to use it)
  3. a component of the general education curriculum.

These goals are not mutually exclusive; when a UDT approach is used, teachers can meet a variety of students’ needs.

The last step in helping to ensure student self-determination is discovering the individual goals that students have for their own lives (and the need to enhance their own self-determination skills) that are not covered in the UDT lessons and instruction developed for the whole class. As your skill in applying the UDT approach improves, you will most likely need to employ this form of “retrofitting” less and less. However, at least in the beginning, you can anticipate that some individualized goals will need to be incorporated into the instructional day. In this book, those individualized approaches are demonstrated through the stories of three different individuals with disabilities: Sara, Jennifer, and Santa. Each of these women have agreed to allow us to share the stories of their transition from high school to adult life. Their stories are very different, but there are some similarities that are highlighted throughout this book.

Sara is a 19-year-old who still receives educational services from her local high school. She was included in a number of classes throughout her high school experience, but at the present time, she receives the majority of her instruction in a variety of community settings (the community college, a local restaurant, and a community theatre). Jennifer is a special educator in a local high school and has a learning disability. She experienced a number of transitions in her own life: first from high school to college, then from college to employment, and ultimately to a new role as a married woman. Finally, Santa’s story of transition focuses on attaining a typical adult life: as a professional woman, who bought her own home and is raising a son. Segments of their stories are included in subsequent chapters. It will not be difficult to see that their successes come from creative approaches to supporting their dreams for their adult lives in ways that are directly linked to a UDT approach to facilitating transitions, particularly in regard to supporting the development of their self-determination skills!

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