Interdisciplinary Disability Awareness and Service Learning (IDASL)

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Contact Person

Name: Alma J Burgess
Email:Send Email
Office:CPD 102G
Address:R&T Center for Persons with Disabilities 6580 Old Main Hill Logan, UT 84322-6580

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Project Details

Project Context: There is a great need for persons entering the workplace who have strong, well-developed interdisciplinary teamwork skills. Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has extended the need for awareness and knowledge of disability issues to all employers, employees, and to the public.

Project Focus: The Interdisciplinary Disability Awareness and Service Learning (IDASL) Program offers opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines to increase their awareness, knowledge and understanding of people with disabilities and their families across the life span. Taking advantage of this program will broaden a student's experience and promote interaction with individuals with disabilities. IDASL gives opportunities to use a student's growing expertise to benefit individuals with a variety of disabilities from birth to seniors.

The IDASL program is administered through the Interdisciplinary Training (IDT) Division at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.

Project Services: IDASL trainees may participate in the program at one of three levels of involvement: 1) Orientation/Awareness; 2) Intermediate/ Skill Development; or 3) Leadership/Experiential. Regardless of the level of involvement selected, each trainee will develop an Individualized Training Plan (ITP), in consultation with an assigned faculty advisor and the IDT Director. The ITP addresses the IDASL Core Competencies and Objectives. To fulfill these competencies, the trainee will participate in a series of seminars and service learning hours.

The IDASL Program has three main components that are carefully designed and implemented to enhance the trainees' awareness, knowledge, and skills and prepare them to become part of a collaborative interdisciplinary team in the workplace.

1. Didactic. People with disabilities as well as faculty and professionals from a variety of disciplines conduct a series of interactive seminars and presentations over two semesters. These seminars use a collaborative, solution-focused approach in resolving real issues faced by individuals with disabilities and their families in achieving full community participation. Individuals with disabilities and family members also participate in seminars, adding their personal experience and expertise.

2. Service Learning Activities. Students participate in a range of service learning activities that provide examples of interdisciplinary community-based and family-centered services. Students participate at the sites according to their time commitment to the program, the requirements of their discipline, and their own personal interests. Service Learning sites include: - The Assistive Technology (AT) Lab supplies training in the fabrication, modification, and repair of assistive technology products; - Common Ground offers outdoor recreation for youth and adults with disabilities; - Developmental Skills Laboratory (DSL) provides day training and support for individuals with severe disabilities; - OPTIONS for Independence offers services that promote independence and choice to people with disabilities as a nonresidential Independent Living Center; - Project PEER supports students with cognitive disabilities, aged 18-21, and facilitates transition from the public school system; - TOPS Sports provides sporting activities for children with disabilities and their families; - Up To 3 Program benefits infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

3. Research. Seminars provide basic information about disability-related research.

Both graduate and undergraduate students may apply for the IDASL program. Scholarships are available for some of the trainees. The IDASL program also offers 1-3 hours of credit (undergraduate and graduate) through the Department of Special Education. The IDASL program is also available to individuals with disabilities as well as family members of children with disabilities.