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

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

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  • 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, Asperger’s 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 William’s 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 one’s 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 Harrison’s 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 NLU’s 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 instructor’s 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 work was fun and different than what I normally do to find books – looked up the title of the book and found the age group. M – I think I matured a little bit. That I worked harder Post trip interview Responses - What did I learn?
  • 34.  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 one’s abilities Learning how to collaborate and work in teams Source: Kaye (2010); Gelmon, et. all (2001 – Campus Compact) Characteristics of Growth through S-L green = non-PACE member growth pink = PACE member growth
  • 35.  Pilot Project Team
  • 36.  2nd Year Team
  • 37.  3rd Year Team
  • 38.  TeamTravel
  • 39.  Shared Work Experiences
  • 40.  Shared Work Experience
  • 41.  Defined Work Space
  • 42.  Café DuMond Breakfast
  • 43.  Team Lunch break
  • 44.  Team night out
  • 45.  Last Night Team Meal
  • 46.  Learning Together - Day 4
  • 47.  Post trip responses - advice for new PACE participants Experienced PACE participants C - I would suggest to try to be independent by going to different places and restaurants with mixed up groups and not just PACE people. Try to find your one job that works. Tell the team you are flexible and that you can do many different things. J - Brainstorm on strategies to deal with stress and anxiety and how to interact with both PACE team members and non- PACE team members. (the first time) because we weren’t prepared to go outside into the world and interact with non-PACE people. 2013 PACE participants A - I would tell them that one of the things we did was to meet up with people on the trip ahead of time. K – it is a different area so watch out for more people on the street asking for money or weather conditions. I wouldn’t call it a dangerous community. J – They are going to be working as a team with other people and getting to know new people. M - are you interested in helping the service team of New Orleans?
  • 48.   How does/will the introduction of students with differing abilities impact your work as service- learning providers?  What more do you need to know/do to develop more inclusive service teams? Reflective Question
  • 49.  Resources: Kaye, C.B., (2010), The Complete Guide to Service Learning: proven, practical ways to engage students in civic responsibility, academic curriculum, & social action, Free Spirit Publication, Inc., Minneapolis, MN. Gelmon, S.G., Holland, B.A., Driscoll, A., Spring, A., Kerrigan, S., (2001), Assessing Service-Learning and Civic Engagement: principles and techniques, Campus Compact, Boston, MA. Jacoby, B. and Associates, (1996), Service-Learning in Higher Education: concepts and practices, Jossely- Bass, San Francisco, CA.
  • 50.  Carol Burns –Consultant, Bethesda College Adjunct Professor Special Education Concordia University Wisconsin cburns068@gmail.com Karen Roth - President, Partnerships in Education & Service, Northfield, IL. karen.roth17@gmail.com Thank you!