Using a Transition Curriculum to Increase Self-Determination in Transition-Aged Private School Students with Disabilities
Lyons, Kylie R.
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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004) mandates that students with disabilities who attend public schools should have a well-developed transition plan as part of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) by the time the child is 16 years old, if not earlier, in an attempt to increase postsecondary preparedness and success. In transition, it is integral that planning and preparation occur in three key areas: postsecondary education, employment, and independent living. Targeted instruction in preparing for postsecondary success is not happening enough, and it is happening even less in private schools. Private schools are often identified as institutions of rigorous instruction, but little is known of efforts being made to develop the whole student in both academic and nonacademic behaviors associated with strong postschool outcomes, especially for students with disabilities. The purpose of this study is to broaden the evidence base for Whose Future Is It Anyway? (WFA), a self-directed transition curriculum package designed to increase individual levels of self-determination in youth with disabilities, and to measure its impact on students with disabilities in the private school setting. Forty-nine students participated in 10 transition-focused lessons of WFA. Student-reported levels of self-determination were measured by pre- and posttest administrations of the AIR Self-Determination Scale-Student and the Self-Determination Inventory: Self-Report. Teachers provided an additional measure of self-determination for participating students on the AIR Self-Determination Scale-Educator. Quantitative results suggest some statistical significance in increases in scores of self-determination following participation in WFA, while qualitative interviews allowed for a deeper understanding of students’ perspectives of transition-focused instruction of WFA.
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