Using Technology to Promote the Self-Determination - RERC-ACT

Using Technology to Promote the Self-Determination
of Youth with Cognitive Disabilities
Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D.
Kendra Williams-Diehm, Ph.D.
Susan B. Palmer, Ph.D.
University of Kansas
Department of Special Education
Beach Center on Disability
Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities
How Many of You Are Familiar with
the Idea of Self-Determination?
A. Yes
B. No
What is Self-Determination?
• Self-determined behavior refers to volitional
actions that enable one to act as the primary
causal agent in one’s life and to maintain or
improve one’s quality of life.
• Causal agency: To make or cause something
to happen in one’s life.
• Volitional action: Making a conscious choice
or decision with deliberate intention.
What do we Know about Self-Determination and
Students with Cognitive Disabilities?
A Lot
Some Things
Not Much
What do we Know about Self-Determination and
Students with Disabilities?
• Higher self-determination status predicts more
positive adult outcomes for students with intellectual
and developmental disabilities.
• There are, now, a wide array of instructional
strategies, methods, and materials available to
promote self-determination.
• Promoting student-directed learning is a particularly
important strategy for students with intellectual and
developmental disabilities.
Potential for Technology as a Means to Promote
Self-Determination and Student Involvement
• Technology can play a vital role in increasing access
and learning for individuals with disabilities
• Technology supports can foster greater independence
and self-direction
• Emerging research suggests that when provided access
to technology incorporating principles of universal
design, people with cognitive disabilities can use and
benefit from that technology, and that one such benefit
is enhanced self-determination.
RERC-ACT Study R6: Technology to Promote
• Specific Aim: To examine the impact of the use of
cognitively-accessible computer technology on the
self-determination and transition-related outcomes
of transition-age adolescents with
intellectual/cognitive disabilities.
• Research Partners:
University of Kansas Beach Center on Disability,
Kansas University Center on Developmental
• AbleLink Technologies
RERC-ACT Study R6: Proposed Research
Design and Sample
• Randomized trial, placebo control group design.
• Goal is n=200 high school students with cognitive disabilities, 100 in
each of treatment and control group.
– 100 randomly assigned to control group
– 100 randomly assigned to treatment group
– Students with intellectual disabilities, students with learning
disabilities who teachers identify as potentially needing/benefiting
from software.
• Recruiting transition-age students with intellectual and cognitive
disabilities who are age 16 or in beginning their junior year of high
• Ensuring adequate representation based on gender,
race & ethnicity, geographic distribution
RERC-ACT Study R6: Procedures
• All students receive instruction for three consecutive school years
utilizing an instructional process designed to teach students with
cognitive disabilities to be actively involved in their transition planning
process and to enhance self-determination.
• Students in the Treatment group receive such instruction augmented or
supplemented by the use of cognitively-accessible technology.
• Student self-determination, self-efficacy and outcome expectations for
transition planning, and transition planning knowledge are assessed
three times:
– At baseline, prior to intervention.
– After two years of intervention.
– After three years of intervention.
• We will do follow up surveys with students one and
two years after they have left school.
RERC-ACT Study R6: Analyses
• Intervention Efficacy
– Doubly Multivariate Repeated Measures Analysis (e.g., repeated measures
analysis of variance with more than one measure of the same dependent
variable) with self-determination measures as within-subject variables and
treatment group and relevant demographic indicators as between-subject
– Multi-level Random Coefficients Modeling (e.g. HLM model) to examine
differences between control and treatment participants as nested within
• allows for simple main-effects test of differences between control and treatment
groups while allowing for a decomposition of the degree to which group
differences are attributable to student-level or teacher/campus-level differences
(and interaction).
• Follow up study of outcomes
– Chi-Square, Discriminant Function, and
Setwise Regression Analyses
RERC-ACT Study R6: Current Sample
• Have n=212 students with cognitive disabilities
involved in the study.
• Have n=162 students with cognitive disabilities
for whom we have baseline and measurement
Time 1 (e.g., after two years of intervention) data.
n=97 no access to technology
n=65 access to technology
97 Males, 65 females
Sample spans across five states: Arkansas,
Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas
• Includes urban, suburban, and
rural districts
RERC-ACT Study R6: Technology
Used-Decision Manager Software
• A multimedia prompting
• Uses picture, audio and
video based instructions
to enable students to
more independently
complete complex tasks
with one or more
decision points
RERC-ACT Study R6: Technology
Used-JobQuest Software
• Internet based multimedia system
• Supports students with limited
reading abilities to identify
preferences related to job and
career activities
• Provides students with information
on the skill requirements and
occupational characteristics for
their preferred vocational activities
RERC-ACT Study R6: Technology
Used-Web Trek
• Fully functional Web
• Supports students with
limited reading abilities to
become more independent
in searching and navigating
the World Wide Web
• Includes the Visual Search
Site, a picture-based search
RERC-ACT Study R6: Technology
Used-Rocket Reader
• Cognitively Accessible Audio
• Supports students with
limited reading abilities to
become more independent
in accessing and getting
information from text
RERC-ACT Study R6: Instrumentation
• Fidelity to Treatment
– Criterion-referenced assessment
– Teacher anecdotal log
– Limited observational studies using time sample methodology
• Intervention Efficacy
– The Arc’s Self-Determination Scale
– The AIR Self-Determination Scale-Educator Version
– The AIR Self-Determination Scale-Student Version
• Follow-Up Data (In Initial Stages)
– Questionnaire from Wehmeyer & Schwartz (1998) &
Palmer & Wehmeyer (2003)
– Quality of Life Questionnaire
RERC-ACT Study R6: Initial Data
• Impact of technology use on student involvement and
self-determination using Rocket Reader.
• 168 middle school/junior high school students.
• All received Whose Future is it Anyway? process.
• Treatment group received instruction using Rocket
• All students benefited, but students using Rocket
Reader benefited more.
• See handout for detail.
Contact Information
Kendra Williams-Diehm
Michael Wehmeyer
Susan Palmer