David W. Test, Wendy M. Wood, Catherine H. Fowler,
Denise M. Brewer, and Steven E. Eddy
Directory of Model Programs for Promoting Self-Advocacy Skills for Students with Disabilities
Literature in the fields of disabilities and education has identified self-advocacy skills as crucial to the successful transition of students with disabilities into adult life (Aune, 1991; Izzo & Lamb, 2002; Wehmeyer, 1992). However, research has also indicated that self-advocacy skills and opportunities to self-advocate are frequently not included in the instruction of students with disabilities (Arnold & Czamanske, 1991; Izzo & Lamb, 2002). Due to evidence of employment success after school related to the acquisition of self-determination skills, Wehmeyer and Schwartz (1997) cited the need for students with disabilities to learn to self-advocate as a step toward self-determination. In addition, Pocock et al. (2002) pointed to the positive impact of developing self-advocacy skills on students’ in school experiences.
The purpose of this Directory is to provide models and resources for other teachers, administrators, parents, and students who are interested in promoting student self-advocacy. It was developed after reviewing the literature on self-advocacy for individuals with disabilities, gathering input from stakeholders, and receiving nominations of programs in schools and communities that promote the self-advocacy of students with disabilities between November of 2002 and July of 2003. Programs included were nominated by parents, adult self-advocacy organizations, researchers, program directors, students, principals, directors of special education, and teachers. Information such as instructional content and approaches, demographics of participants, history of the programs’ development, and goals for students was clarified through the nomination process. Programs nominated and selected for inclusion in the directory were not provided with any monetary or other incentives. The research that led to the development of this directory of model programs was funded by supplemental funding from grants #HD324R000092 and #HD324D020027 from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
We hope that this directory will serve as a resource for others who are interested in starting or expanding efforts to promote the self-advocacy skills and opportunities of students.
Exemplar programs in schools and communities were designated based on a program’s use of research based practices in promoting self-advocacy for students with disabilities. These programs cited research in the descriptions of their curricula, assessments, or program philosophy. They indicated through student success stories and their program design that self-advocacy was a primary focus of instructional activities and program environment. The variety of populations served and use of innovative approaches were also factors in the decision to recognize these as exemplar programs. Each of the programs given a designation of exemplar was visited to gather detailed information from stakeholders, including students, parents, and personnel.
Model programs are classrooms, school systems, and community programs that promote self-advocacy for students with disabilities. These programs also reflect best practice suggestions from research. Model programs were not visited by the researchers; however, extensive information was provided through telephone conversations and electronic and written correspondence that was consistent with the criteria for “exemplar” self-advocacy programs.
Developing programs include research-based practices for promoting self-advocacy. These programs are in the initial stages of development and do not yet have evidence of their success. However, we believe that the information from these programs may provide others with helpful hints for getting started.
These programs acknowledge the importance of student self-advocacy; but as a less prominent focus of program goals or philosophy. For example, they might promote self-advocacy as part of an independent living program, but do not directly teach self-advocacy skills. These programs reflect best practice suggestions from research in other areas, such as transition from school to adult life.
Community programs are run through agencies or organizations outside the schools. They are serving students outside the school setting and are funded by private and/or public funds.
School programs are primarily funded with local or state public education funds. The programs function in classrooms or other school properties and are administered by school personnel.
These programs represent partnerships between community agencies, non-profit organizations, or other organizations outside the school systems and a school system, school, or individual classroom. The activities of these programs may occur in the community or within a school. Funding comes from both school and non-school monies.Next Page
Project Information: Project Objectives - Site Nominiation Form - Literature - Self-Adv. Definitions - Links
Project Staff: David Test - Wendy Wood - Catherine Fowler - Meagan Karvonen