Poster highlights CPD youth programs

January 26, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD6A poster presented at a recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference highlighted three programs at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities that empower, elevate and offer experiences to youth with disabilities. The poster was presented by Judith Holt, Jeff Sheen and Sarah Bodily.

The New Ideas for Networking Junior Advocates (NINJA) conference brings together youth from across Utah who are involved in the Utah Statewide Independent Living Center (USILC) youth groups. The NINJA conference emphasizes leadership and advocacy skills for youth with disabilities.

Aggies Elevated is an inclusive college experience for young adults with intellectual disabilities. The program, now in its second year, serves 11 students who live in campus housing, take college classes with their typical peers and participate in campus activities. The program was recently awarded a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for expansion.

Project PEER (Post-secondary Education, Employment & Research), currently in its 10th year, provides an environment in which young people learn, research happens and volunteerism thrives. It offers work experience and opens doors for students with disabilities, allowing them to participate in post-secondary education.

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Successes, challenges of diverse LEND trainees

January 21, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD5A poster presented at the recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference examined the successes and challenges of recruiting and supporting racially and ethnically diverse Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) trainees. The poster was presented by Judith Holt, Lisamarie Turk and Natalie Allen from the Utah Regional and New Mexico LEND programs.

To strengthen the capacity of LEND programs, PacWest LEND representatives from Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii/Guam, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada conducted focus groups to further understand how to better recruit and retain racially and ethnically diverse long-term trainees. Focus groups were aimed at identifying how trainees select a career path in maternal and child health care professions, how long they are supported in their respective LEND programs, and their recommendations for how LEND programs can better recruit and support racially and ethnically diverse trainees.

Frequently mentioned challenges included a lack of role models within participants’ families and the ongoing need to attend to the caregiver and financial provider role within their family. Many trainees expressed the subtle challenge of the culture of independence (belief that trainees do not ask for help).

Essential components of recruitment and retention included financial incentive information in recruitment materials, strategic recruitment of all maternal and child-health relevant disciplines, recruitment materials crafted with racial/ethnic diversity as a priority and face-to-face recruitment.

Next steps include activities to maximize leadership potential of racial and ethnic minority LEND fellows and to increase the number of LEND applicants who are minorities are planned, including workshops, individual coaching sessions and growth plans.

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AUCD poster examines self-advocacy instruction

January 19, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD4Since self-advocacy is an important skill for high schoolers and adults with developmental disabilities, it is imperative that teachers, case managers and service providers are equipped with best practices to teach self-advocacy skills to high schoolers and adults with developmental disabilities. Our purpose is to explore the types of effective interventions and outcome measures related to self-advocacy that have been researched with teenagers and adults with developmental disabilities. The main question guiding this systematic review is as follows: for high schoolers and adults with developmental disabilities, what instructional methods for self-advocacy skills have been used to promote accuracy, frequency, generalization, and/or maintenance of self-advocacy skills? A secondary question of this systematic review was what types of outcome measures have been used to measure self-advocacy skills for high schoolers and adults with developmental disabilities?

Twelve studies were included in the review and were compared based on their design, What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) methodological quality, types of instructional methods and self-advocacy outcomes.

Several methods of effective self-advocacy instruction and outcomes were identified. The most common outcomes were knowledge of self-efficacy, participation in meetings, and role-play. The most common types of instructional methods were group discussions, role-play and videos. However, only one of the included studies met the WWC standards without reservation, and only one met the WWC with reservations.

This study only included published studies in the English language.

When teaching self-advocacy, the review found many types of instructional methods and curriculum are available. Due to the limited number of studies included in the review, future research is needed.

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Diversity, leadership and disabilities

January 12, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD3A poster that was presented at a recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference highlighted the activities of two programs at Utah State University—Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND), housed at the Center for Persons with Disabilities, and Gear Up, housed in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

The poster, presented by Eduardo Ortiz, Judith Holt and Eric Packenham, described a collaborative effort to provide early leadership experiences for middle and high school students of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

According to the poster, by 2020, more than half of the population of the United States under the age of 18 are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group. Many potential leaders are coming form a more diverse group, and are receiving information that will influence and shape their thinking. In preparation for this, URLEND and Gear Up have produced a coordinated series of leadership messages which promote self-efficacy skills and creative problem-solving skills related to the complex problems and issues related to disability.

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Shaping and informing professionals

January 7, 2016 by Sue Reeves

AUCD2A poster that was presented at a recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference highlighted the activities of two programs at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities—Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) and the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE). URLEND is part of the Interdisciplinary Training division at the CPD, while TAESE makes up the Technical Assistance division.

The poster, entitled “CPD Leadership Programs: Shaping and Informing Professionals,” was presented by Judith Holt and David Forbush. The poster featured URLEND, which is an interdisciplinary program for graduate students and post-graduate professionals; the Interdisciplinary Disability and Service Learning (IDASL) class, for upper-level undergraduates in a variety of disciplines; the Utah Professional Development Network, which provides technical assistance to educators in the state of Utah; and the Kansas Leadership Conference, which offers relevant information to regular and special education leadership.

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