TTC Project LEAD 2015

Project LEAD: Supporting Student
Self-Determination in the Classroom
Whitney Gilliland, MEd.
Lucinda Thelen, MEd
• Who are you?
Disability professional?
• Who are we?
– Leena
– Eric
– Lucinda
• Self-determination is
– An instructional program for students with
– A set of skills used to take control of one’s life
– An accommodation
– Another word for perseverance
• Post-school
– Students with disabilities who are self-determined
• Are twice as likely to be employed one year after high
• Are more likely to have employment that includes
• More likely to be living away from the family home
– Wehmeyer, 2002
Components of Self-Determination
Choice-making skills: indicating a preference from a
group of two or more options
Decision-making skills: generating potential solutions
and selecting which potential solutions are best
Problem-solving skills: identifying and defining a
problem, generating potential solutions, and making
judgments about the solutions
Goal setting and attainment skills: identifying a goal
and developing a series of tasks to achieve goal
Self-regulation/self-management skills: setting goals,
developing and implementing plans, evaluating
outcomes of plans, changing actions if goals are not
Self-advocacy and leadership skills: having the
knowledge and skills to speak on one’s own behalf and
on the behalf of others
Self-awareness and self-knowledge: knowing one’s
strengths and limitations, understanding one’s own
thinking and reasoning
Wehmeyer & Field, 2007
Jenny does well on tests, but her
daily grades are low. Her teacher tells
her she is failing language arts
because she does not turn in her
homework. To help Jenny, her
teacher presents her with two
solutions: (a) have her mother sign
her homework every night so she will
remember to do it or (b) stay for
tutorials after school and complete
her homework.
Jessica wants a set of Beats, but they
cost over $300. She thinks she can
raise that amount of money by
babysitting her cousins five nights
($12 hour, 5-6 hours a night). She
calls her aunt to ask her if they will
want to go on a date night soon so
that she can babysit.
YLF and Project LEAD
• In a statewide effort to promote leadership
and advocacy in Texans with disabilities, the
Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
(TCDD) and TAMU have funded projects
– Texas Statewide Youth Leadership Forum (TXYLF)
– Project LEAD (Leadership, Empowerment, Action,
• YLF is a 5 day advocacy training program provided
free of charge to 30 to 35 youths with disabilities
on a university campus in the state’s capital city
• High school juniors and seniors with disabilities
between the ages of 16 and 22 and located
across the state apply to attend the training
• Final participants are selected through a
competitive review process
• TXYLF expanded the traditional model by
including a 9 month support phase, follow-up
training, and a mentorship opportunity
• TXYLF included regional YLFs where
participants attend multiple local forums
during the year
• The goal of the TXYLF was
– To develop young adults with disabilities who are
capable of advocating for themselves and other
individuals with disabilities
– The youth who complete the TXYLF will become
role models for other youth with disabilities in
employment, independent living, and other adult
living areas
What we Learned from TXYLF
• Intensive training with various activities improves
youth knowledge base and experiences
• Development and implementation of a leadership
plan helped youth take actions
• Extended support necessary for youth to carry out
their plan and engage in leadership activities
• Celebration of their success provides a rare
opportunity for youth to show their
accomplishments and develop motivation
• Parent training was not provided but needed
Project LEAD
• Project LEAD was
developed as an
extension of the TXYLF
– Involves collaboration
between TAMU and local
secondary schools to teach
self-determination and
leadership skills to students
with disabilities and at-risk
– Addresses the needs of
students, parents, and
Project LEAD for Educators
• Self-determination pre-post assessment
– ARC Self-Determination Scale
• Research-based curriculum
• Training/technical assistance to implement
the curriculum
• 1, 2, 3, BREAK (Zhang &
Woodruff, n.d.)
– The 1, 2, 3, is how easy it is,
and the BREAK means
B – Be in control
R – Realize your options
E – Evaluate your options
A – Act out the best choice
K – Know you did your best!
• 15 lessons
– Strengths, weaknesses, and
– Wants and needs
– Self-efficacy
– Goal setting
– Decision-making
– Choice-making
– Problem solving
– IEP leadership and transition
– Self-evaluation
The Educators
• 14 teachers, 2 school
– 5 middle school
– 9 high school
• Classes
LIFE skills
Social skills
Adaptive behavior
CASL (communication,
academic, social
Project LEAD for Students
• Increase self-determination and leadership
skills by progressing through curriculum
• Guest speakers
• Leadership project
• Celebration
• Over 100 students participating this year!
Guest Speaker
• Rohan Murphy
Worth a thousand words
• Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living
• Career Fair
• Celebration Station
Community Trips
Leadership Projects
• Students, individually or as a class,
– Choose/identify a self-determination or leadership
– List the steps needed to complete the goal (make
a plan)
– Identify people and resources who can help
– Set a timeline
– Follow the plan
– Evaluate progress
• Student lead IEPs
– Different templates and picture supports
depending on student need
– Templates followed ARD/IEP procedures
– Student would go over their slides either verbally,
by pointing, or using switches
Project LEAD for Parents
• 6 parent seminars
– College and the student with a disability
– Self-determination and independent living skills
– Transition services
• Free childcare and dinner provided
• Educators are encouraged to attend, also
Tips for Teachers
• For teachers
– Integrate the self-determination components into lessons or use a selfdetermination curriculum (
Encourage students to make choices about everyday activities
Provide honest an specific feedback regarding choices and decisions made
Help students identify strengths, interests, and preferences
Teach the goal setting process
Teach the problem solving process
Model self-determination
Include self-determination goals in the IEP/ARD
Let students lead their IEP/ARD meetings (provide training and practice first)
Have students write their own postsecondary goals, with assistance
Have students identify accommodations
• Morningstar, 2012; Virginia Department of Education, 2013; Wehmeyer & Field, 2007
Tips for Parents
• For parents
– Encourage your child to make choices about everyday activities
– Provide honest and specific feedback regarding choices and decisions
– Help your child identify strengths, interests, and preferences
– Talk to your child about the goal setting process including barriers they
may encounter
– Encourage disability awareness
– Model self-determination
– Help your child become involved in his or her IEP/ARD meeting
– Help your child understand accommodations and how they help your
– Educate yourself and your child about rights
• Indiana State University, 2013; Virginia Department of Education, 2013;
Wehmeyer & Field, 2007
To Learn More…
• Texas A&M University’s Center on Disability
and Development