Attending College Naturally: The Use of Natural Supports in Postsecondary Education

Attending College Naturally: The Use of
Natural Supports in Postsecondary Education
Programs for Individuals with Intellectual
Kelly R. Kelley
Amber Anderson
Ashley Anderson
Lexie Kurrimbukus
North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children
February 2012
Goals and Objectives
• Share Western Carolina University’s UP Program
• Describe ways we recruit, support and organize,
with natural supports
• Encourage learning and professional development
through direct contact
• Share first hand perspectives live and through video
What is the UP Program?
• The University Participant (UP) Program is a two
year, inclusive program for college-aged individuals
with intellectual disabilities.
• Operated as a pilot program from 2007 to 2010; 2
participants completed the program by 2010.
• Expanded to 4 participants in 2010, 4 additional in
2011 for a total of 8 participants.
• Funded as a model demonstration site in 2010 by
U.S. Department of Education.
Five UP Program Components
and Learning
Participants must pay current university fees for auditing courses
UP Certificate Requirements
*Individual Plan for College Participation (IPCP)
Systems for Functioning in PSE
• Specific criteria for admission
• Consistent application of values (inclusion & selfdetermination)
• Inclusive opportunities in all of campus life
• Integration of work-based learning and transition to
• Administrative support of program development
• Support from student volunteers
What are Natural Supports?
• Are “resources inherent in community environments
that can be used for habilitative and supportive services”
(West, Kregel, Hernandez, & Hock 1997)
• “Natural supports refers to reliance on persons within
typical environments,” (Westling & Fox, 2009, p. 565).
Natural Support: UP Definition
• Paid and unpaid WCU
students of
approximately the same
age as participants who
intervene as necessary
to facilitate inclusive
participation in dormlife, course work, and
social & recreational
Why have ‘Natural Supports’ for
college students with ID?
• Identification as a college student
• Social network expansion / reducing
• Reduce stereotypes
• Step to independence
How do we Recruit?
University Resources
Intro to Special Education
Designing instruction course
Whee Teach and Teaching
Psychology service-learning
Participants’ classes
Federal work study positions
Community Resources
• Developmental
therapy/CAP funding
• AmeriCorps scholarships
• Internal and external grant
What do Natural Supports Do?
•Attending and supporting participants in classes
•Support/tutoring with projects and homework
•Attending sporting events
•Campus social events (e.g., religious groups, cheerleading,
swimming, clubs, movies, plays, ballgames)
•Serving as a job coach
•Suitemate: morning and night routines
•Personal care goals
•Attendance and input at person centered planning meetings
•Help collecting data on IPCP goals
Training and Evaluation
• Training
• Training sessions: kick off meetings, assignment modification;
homework assistance; reading, math & social skill instruction;
data collection
• Other: volunteer manual, shadowing, instructional
approaches/practice lessons, reflective journaling, summative
and formative feedback
• Co-evaluation
• Criteria: dependability; engagement/initiative; decision
making & professionalism; communication/teamwork;
professional development; problem solving
Organization and Logistics
• Weekly schedules detail when, where and what type
of activity has been designated
• Whentowork online scheduling program: shift trade
boards, notifications, volunteer availability
• Blackboard: participant goals, schedules, learning
profiles and homework assignments; support
journaling, newsletters, collaboration of resources
Organized Yet Individualized
Increased Independence
What I Love About Western
Lexie Kurrimbukus
Being able to get to know the volunteers and
their friends and roommates.
I like learning new things in my classes and
What My Week Looks Like
Eating Meals on
Campus/Cooking Meals
Working in the Library
Re-shelving books
General maintenance on two floors
Organizing video and DVD collections
Interlibrary loans (unpacking, tagging,
and repacking)
Clean and dusting
Classes I am Taking
Intro to Criminal Justice
Career Development
First Aid and Safety Class
Career Majors and Exploration
Social Activities
Ball games
Rec Therapy
What I am Learning
Lexie Kurrimbukus
Planning social activities on campus with my friends
Navigating campus on my own
Answering and using cell phone
Preparing meals and completing laundry
Trying new healthy foods and exercising
Everyone Learns Independent Living Tasks
WCU Student Perspectives
• What are your roles and responsibilities with UP Program?
• What does the UP Program mean to you? Why do you do it?
• How has the UP Program helped you for your future career?
• Memories or other perspectives you wish to share
Benefits to Supports
• Short term outcomes
• improvement in ‘states’ or mood
• Middle term outcomes
• Application of class theory/research to practice
• Occupational ‘trial run’
• Long term outcomes
• Networking
• Professional training
• Behavior plans, Wilson Reading System & Edmark Reading,
individualized lesson plans, problem solving, organization and
Other Benefits
• Research opportunities
• Life long friendships
• Teachable moments
• Measuring dispositions
• Involvement in a national movement
Increased Comfort & Efficacy
“I will be honest, before SPED 240 I tried to avoid people
with disabilities. It’s not that I felt any different about them.
I knew they were human just like everyone else in the
world. I wasn’t scared or disgusted by them. I just wasn’t
sure how to act. I didn’t want to say or do the wrong
thing. Taking this class has made me realize that I can be
myself around people with disabilities.”
Contact Information
• David L. Westling- WCU UP Program Director
• [email protected]
• 828-227-3287
• Kelly R. Kelley- WCU UP Program Coordinator
• [email protected]
• 828-227-3298
Additional PSE Resources
• - WCU UP Program website
• NC Postsecondary
Education Alliance
• - Post-Secondary
Education Research Center (PERC). Info on options
and trends.
• –Database, TA, newsletters
• -- The National Secondary Transition
Technical Assistance Center