Creating Learning Opportunities through Collaborative Service for Students with Intellectual and Complex Learning Disabilities

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Colleges and universities actively recruit students of all abilities, yet often they are not successful in integrating them. This workshop will provide strategies on how to include students with intellectual and complex learning disabilities in service-learning opportunities, where they are not the recipient of the service, but rather actively engaged participants. Karen Roth President Partnerships in Education and Service Northfi eld, IL Carol Burns Director Bethesda College of Concordia University Gabby Schmidt Student UW-Eau Claire Mike Huggins Eau Claire Clear Vision UW-Eau Claire Honors Kate Zilla Associate Professor, Special Education National Louis University

Text of Creating Learning Opportunities through Collaborative Service for Students with Intellectual and...

  • 1. Upper Midwest Civic Engagement Summit University of Wisconsin, Stout June 13, 2014

2. Carol Burns, Consultant, Bethesda College Adjunct Professor Special Education Concordia University Wisconsin Karen Roth, President, Partnerships in Education & Service, Northfield, IL Professor of Education Presenters 3. After reading the scenarios, respond to these questions: What is your impression of the student mentioned? How would you handle the situation as Team Leader? What are your expectations of team participants? Case Studies 4. This presentation will focus on the intentional use of service-learning as a method for the fuller integration of students with identified learning disabilities with other university students, with the goal of building a more reciprocal, cohesive and caring university community. Presentation Goal 5. Tips on how to build relationships and community within the integrated group of adults with multiple abilities; Strategies for scaffolding pre- service trip preparations and differentiated reflective methods; Problem-solving techniques for on-site complications, usually related to the disability. Presentation Outcomes 6. In a classroom of 100 adult students, at least 1 will identify as having intellectual, and/or complex learning disabilities. Autistic Spectrum Disorder (Grandin, T., The Autistic Brain, 2014) 1 in 88 7. GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Have limitations in intellectual functioning co-occurring with a range of learning difficulties. Both strengths and weaknesses are usually present in conceptual, social, and practical areas. Have general intellectual functioning in the below average range Have learning difficulties that have significantly affected school performance, including a high probability of difficulty with a regular college curriculum Have the ability to emotionally adjust and physically participate in all program activities Intellectual and Complex Learning Disabilities 8. Recorded diagnoses in one or more of a variety of categories: Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities, Learning Disabilities, Autism, High Functioning Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, Physical Disabilities, Other Health Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Visual or Hearing Impairments, Social/Emotional/Behavioral Disorders. The individual diagnoses can be across several categories. These categorical assignments may be the result of or influenced by diagnoses of genetic syndromes such as Down or Williams Syndrome, as well as medical or accidental traumas, either before or after birth. Intellectual and Complex Learning Disabilities 9. We investigated the effectiveness of a pilot approach for fostering inclusion of all students in a university- community partnership, including those with differing abilities, conducted over the summers of 2011 and 2012. Using data findings from year one, our second year study focused more specifically on the design & implementation of pre-trip planning strategies, created to better integrate our students with and without disabilities into the service team. Building Inclusivity 10. Serving With NOT Service To 11. Working on grade-leveling and shelving library books Team work/Team building 12. Social activities 13. Increase concern for fellow humans Develops the ability to problem solve Motivates learning and improves self-concept Increases competence and awareness of new settings Develops a sense of usefulness Enhances moral development Heightens responsibility to community Improves attitudes towards others Increases academic achievement Improves communication with others Develops tolerance for diversity Broadens knowledge of ones abilities Learning how to collaborate and work in teams Source: Kaye (2010); Gelmon, et. all (2001 Campus Compact) Characteristics of Growth through S-L 14. Developing a civic-minded campus. informed, engaged, open-minded, and socially responsible people committed to the common good, and practiced in doing democracy. Democratic campus = a fully integrated community Crucible moment 15. NOLA Recovery School District PIEsNLU-PACE Our Partnerships 16. 1886: Miss Harrisons Training School 1891-1929: Chicago Kindergarten College Since 1930: National College of Education (NCE) Since 1990: National Louis University (NLU); added 2 more colleges to NCE Graduating: PhD, EdD., CAS, MA, MS, BA, BS , PACE certificate of completion National Louis University 17. More than 80% of PACE graduates are employed. P.A.C.E. students attend classes together two days each week in an undergraduate university environment; Highly motivated students who have demonstrated excellent performance in their P.A.C.E. classes are encouraged to register for specific NLU undergraduate classes, usually in the liberal arts or early childhood education. from NLU website NLUs PACE Program 18. Service Learning at PACE! 19. What is Service Learning? Teaching students to be conscious and active participants in their community. 20. Past PACE Service Learning Pennies for Patients (Leukemia-Lymphoma Society) Bears of Hope (Skokie PD) Walk for Autism Speaks NOLA Schools Trip 21. Who, What, Why? This Fall: Partnership with Skokie Food Pantry Learn the possibilities Meet the people Discover the mission Reflection 22. (Began in 2007 as NLU-NOLA Schools Project) 2011 & 2012: Harriet Tubman Charter Elementary School 2012: Arthur Ashe Charter Elementary School 2013: Paul Habans Charter Elementary School Since 2011 current or former students of PACE program have been members of PIEs service teams. Partnerships in Education & Service (PIEs) Established in 2011 23. MORE ABILITY than recognized or tested HIGH MOTIVATION to succeed in life, to be in college, to be normal VERBAL (academics) and NONVERBAL (social, time, organization) functioning is variable THINKING concretely and in the present Less inclined to take initiative Level of SOCIAL Abilities associated with limited experiences LEARN BEST BY EXPERIENCING AND DOING STUDENTS WITH DIFFERING ABILITIES 24. Visual processors brain creates series of pictures; Sensory stimulated sounds, lights, touches can be irritants; Appears to move slowly life too fast to make sense of; Creates anxieties - previous bad experiences always looming (Grandin, T., The Autistic Brain, 2014) Typical Conditions 25. Reflections from Pilot Year Social Cues: PACE students initially misread social behaviors and language of other team members. Team members misinterpreted responses from PACE students. Feelings of anxiety: PACE students anxieties emerged before and initially during trip. Feeling safe and trusting the team members and related work at the school was important. Team relationships: Initial pre-trip concerns about skills, focus and commitment of PACE students to the work and as team members. 26. Year 1 findings to Year 2 changes Year 1 findings PACE student feelings of anxieties Team concerns about PACE student inclusion Social cues miss interpreted Orientation: some non-PACE students needed more information on abilities of PACE students Accommodations: PACE w/PACE, non-PACE w/non- PACE = silos Service to schools/group: PACE students had choice between 2 entry level jobs. Year 2 changes 3 pre-trip workshops: familiarize w/NOLA environment & build community NOLA resource brochure More on-site staff provided (e.g., PACE instructors mom; 1 additional non-PACE roommate) Orientation: no direct changes; did not want to single out team members with disabilities. Cannot force: friends shared rooms; two PACE students & 1 non-PACE per room PACE students self advocated for higher skilled jobs, w/scaffolding 27. Pre-orientation Activities / blended and segregated Orientation Activities Building Team Culture On-site blended accommodations (if possible) Shared work experiences Scaffolding the work on site Use of alternative technology and social media for reflective activities Post experience team celebrations Strategies for Inclusion 28. Cover by a former PACE student and team participant. Pre-Orientation: NOLA Resource Book 29. Everyone participates no one singled out! Introducing self Identifying skill sets and challenges Sharing previous service experiences Distributing and discussing Resource Booklet Arranging sleeping accommodations Orientation Activities 30. Developing a team culture 24/7: Respecting each others talents, skills and knowledge; Valuing common S-L goals; Listening attentively to each team member; Building a community of engaged learners. Building Relationships 31. Sharing space on site and/or at hotel: Needing space on site and/or at hotel: Controlling anxieties self and/or group imposed: Making choices on site and/after work down time: Blending in or creating silos: Unexpected Complications 32. Electronic portfolios BLOGs Social Media Creative Arts (paintings, music, poetry, 3-D works) Alternative reflective methods 33. Experienced (1st year) PACE Participants C - I met a new girl who I never met before at orientation or on a trip. First I was scared to ask her to go to Karaoke and going to dinner, but I find out that she was kind and happy to let us join her to dinner. It was great to get to know somebody other than PACE people. J - I liked having the most wonderful talks with non-PACE people. I had really deep talks with the non-PACE team members we talked about my experiences growing up and how it was to lose parents, my future. New (2nd year) PACE Participants A - Well I got to get to know people from the trip, by communicating with them about certain things like teaching and stuff like that. Because we shared similar interests. K The importance of teamwork. we had to compromise every day we had to figure out where to eat so we had to come to a certain conclusion L - That when working with someone we can get the job done. Computer