Education and
Training
in
Autism
and
Developmental
Disabilities
Focusing on individuals with
autism, intellectual disabili...
June 2012

Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 125–252
Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities
The Journal of the Division on Autism and Developmental Di...
Education and Training in Autism and Developmental
Disabilities
VOLUME 47

NUMBER 2

JUNE 2012

Documenting Impact of Educ...
Manuscripts Accepted for Future Publication in Education
and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities
September 2...
Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2012, 47(2), 127–138
© Division on Autism and Development...
to provide special education services for students with significant disabilities prior to the
1975 mandate. One of those di...
social validity is evident in research on services
in inclusive general education contexts, and
on the teaching of social ...
ies raise serious concerns about the social validity of education for these students.
Assessing social validity in educati...
1982). Social validation studies conducted in
employment settings indicate that employers
of people with disabilities have...
ents are saying that social skills are critical to
success in adult society (e.g., Hughes,
Brigham, & Cosgriff, 2010; Hugh...
of inclusion in general education contexts relative to post-school outcomes.
Current Status of Research on Services in
Inc...
at the time was working at a sheltered workshop, was living with family members, and had
no social support network beyond ...
tors, parents, and school administrators disagree. These issues are exacerbated by legislative mandates and the economy. M...
Need for Longitudinal Studies
Design and implementation of a comprehensive longitudinal study for students with significan...
Carter, E. W., Hughes, C., Guth, C. B., & Copeland,
S. R. (2005). Factors influencing social interaction among high school ...
sive settings. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Allyn and
Bacon.
Ryndak, D. L., & Fisher, D. (Eds.) (2003). The foundations of incl...
Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2012, 47(2), 139 –153
© Division on Autism and Developmen...
IQ and academic achievement/skills (i.e., students with mild intellectual disability had
lower IQs and lower academic achi...
participate in this program. One of the notable outcomes of this study was employment
for the students in the transition p...
ucation Programs and conducted by SRI International, focused on secondary students
with disabilities receiving special edu...
3, and 4). The immediate outcomes reflect
students who were out of school in wave 2, 3,
or 4, while the “long term” outcome...
TABLE 1
Description of Variables used in Secondary Analysis
Variables

NLTS2 Variable ID

Identification of
students
Disabi...
a functional curriculum during school, frequency distributions were conducted on both
responses to the curriculum in stude...
TABLE 2
Immediate Postschool Outcomes for Students with Mild Intellectual Disability by Curricula Received
Functional Curr...
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities
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Education and training in autism and developmental disabilities

  1. 1. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities Focusing on individuals with autism, intellectual disability and other developmental disabilities Volume 47 Number 2 DADD June 2012
  2. 2. June 2012 Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 125–252
  3. 3. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities The Journal of the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, The Council for Exceptional Children Editor: Stanley H. Zucker Editorial Assistant: Kathleen M. Corley Arizona State University Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Arizona State University Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Consulting Editors Martin Agran Reuben Altman Phillip J. Belfiore Sharon Borthwick-Duffy Michael P. Brady Fredda Brown Mary Lynne Calhoun Sharon F. Cramer Caroline Dunn Lise Fox David L. Gast Herbert Goldstein Juliet E. Hart Carolyn Hughes Larry K. Irvin James V. Kahn H. Earle Knowlton Barry W. Lavay Rena Lewis Kathleen J. Marshall John McDonnell Gale M. Morrison Gabriel A. Nardi John Nietupski James R. Patton Edward A. Polloway Thomas G. Roberts Robert S. Rueda Diane L. Ryndak Edward J. Sabornie Laurence R. Sargent Gary M. Sasso Tom E. C. Smith Scott Sparks Fred Spooner Robert Stodden Keith Storey David L. Westling John J. Wheeler Mark Wolery Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities is sent to all members of the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities of The Council for Exceptional Children. All Division members must first be members of The Council for Exceptional Children. Division membership dues are $30.00 for regular members and $15.00 for full time students. Membership is on a yearly basis. All inquiries concerning membership, subscription, advertising, etc. should be sent to the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2900 Crystal Drive, Suite 1000, Arlington, VA 22202-3557. Advertising rates are available upon request. Manuscripts should be typed, double spaced, and sent (five copies) to the Editor: Stanley H. Zucker, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Box 871811, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1811. Each manuscript should have a cover sheet that gives the names, affiliations, and complete addresses of all authors. Editing policies are based on the Publication Manual, the American Psychological Association, 2009 revision. Additional information is provided on the inside back cover. Any signed article is the personal expression of the author; likewise, any advertisement is the responsibility of the advertiser. Neither necessarily carries Division endorsement unless specifically set forth by adopted resolution. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities is abstracted and indexed in Psychological Abstracts, PsycINFO, e-psyche, Abstracts for Social Workers, International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences, Excerpta Medica, Social Sciences Citation Index, Adolescent Mental Health Abstracts, Educational Administration Abstracts, Educational Research Abstracts, and Language and Language Behavior Abstracts. Additionally, it is annotated and indexed by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children for publication in the monthly print index Current Index to Journals in Education and the quarterly index, Exceptional Child Education Resources. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities Vol. 47, No. 2, June 2012, Copyright 2012 by the Division on Austim and Developmental Disabilities, The Council for Exceptional Children. Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities The Council for Exceptional Children Board of Directors Officers Members Past President Emily Bouck President Teresa Taber-Doughty President-Elect Richard Gargiulo Vice President Nikki Murdick Secretary Toni Merfeld Treasurer Gardner Umbarger Debra Cote Mark Francis Robert Sandieson Jordan Shurr (Student Governor) Debora Wichmanowski Dianne Zager Executive Director Tom E. C. Smith Publications Chair Michael Wehmeyer Communications Chair Darlene Perner Conference Coordinator Cindy Perras The purposes of this organization shall be to advance the education and welfare of persons with autism and developmental disabilities, research in the education of persons with autism and developmental disabilities, competency of educators in this field, public understanding of autism and developmental disabilities, and legislation needed to help accomplish these goals. The Division shall encourage and promote professional growth, research, and the dissemination and utilization of research findings. EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES (ISSN 2154-1647) (USPS 0168-5000) is published quarterly in March, June, September, and December, by The Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2900 Crystal Drive, Suite 1000, Arlington, Virginia 22202-3557. Members’ dues to The Council for Exceptional Children Division on Developmental Disabilities include $8.00 for subscription to EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES. Subscription to EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES is available without membership; Individual—U.S. $60.00 per year; Canada, PUAS, and all other countries $44.00; Institutions—U.S. $195.00 per year; Canada, PUAS, and all other countries $199.50; single copy price is $30.00. U.S. Periodicals postage is paid at Arlington, Virginia 22204 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTERS: Send address changes to EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, 2900 Crystal Drive, Suite 1000, Arlington, Virginia 22202-3557.
  4. 4. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities VOLUME 47 NUMBER 2 JUNE 2012 Documenting Impact of Educational Contexts on Long-Term Outcomes for Students with Significant Disabilities 127 DIANE LEA RYNDAK, SANDRA ALPER, CAROLYN HUGHES, and JOHN McDONNELL Functional Curriculum and Students with Mild Intellectual Disability: Exploring Postschool Outcomes through the NLTS2 139 EMILY C. BOUCK and GAURI JOSHI Effects of a Self-Monitoring Strategy on Independent Work Behavior of Students with Mild Intellectual Disability 154 JENNIFER COUGHLIN, KATHLEEN M. McCOY, AMY KENZER, SARUP R. MATHUR, and STANLEY H. ZUCKER Teaching Social Skills to Children with Autism Using the Cool versus Not Cool Procedure 165 JUSTIN B. LEAF, KATHLEEN H. TSUJI, BRANDY GRIGGS, ANDREW EDWARDS, MITCHELL TAUBMAN, JOHN McEACHIN, RONALD LEAF, and MISTY L. OPPENHEIM-LEAF The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): A Promising Method for Improving Communication Skills of Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders 176 JENNIFER B. GANZ, RICHARD L. SIMPSON, and EMILY M. LUND Teacher Education in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Potential Blueprint 187 ERIC SHYMAN Anxiety Levels in Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Making the Transition from Primary to Secondary School 198 ELIZABETH F. HANNAH and KEITH J. TOPPING Effectiveness of an Essay Writing Strategy for Post-Secondary Students with Developmental Disabilities 210 SUZANNE WOODS-GROVES, WILLIAM J. THERRIEN, YOUJIA HUA, JO HENDRICKSON, JULIA SHAW, and CHARLES HUGHES Comparison of the Effects of Video Models With and Without Verbal Cueing on Task Completion by Young Adults With Moderate Intellectual Disability 223 LINDA C. MECHLING and TERRI S. COLLINS Mainstream Teachers’ Experiences of Communicating with Students with Multiple and Severe Disabilities 236 TANIA DE BORTOLI, SUSAN BALANDIN, PHIL FOREMAN, MICHAEL ARTHUR-KELLY, and BERNICE MATHISEN Manuscripts Accepted for Future Publication in Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities 126 The Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities retains literary property rights on copyrighted articles. Up to 100 copies of the articles in this journal may be reproduced for nonprofit distribution without permission from the publisher. All other forms of reproduction require permission from the publisher.
  5. 5. Manuscripts Accepted for Future Publication in Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities September 2012 Cognitive strategy instruction for functional mathematical skill: Effects for young adults with intellectual disability. Youjia Hua, Benjamin S. T. Morgan, Erica R. Kaldenberg, and Minkowan Goo, University of Iowa, College of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, N256 Lindquist Center, Iowa City, IA 52242. Effects of a video model to teach students with moderate intellectual disability to use features of an iPhone. Kathryn Walser, Kevin M. Ayres, and Erika Foote, Department of Special Education, The University of Georgia, 516 Aderhold Hall, Athens, GA 30602-7153. Group delivered literacy-based behavioral interventions for children with intellectual disability. Dana Keeter and Jessica L. Bucholz, University of West Georgia, Department of CSI / Ed Annex 228, 1601 Maple Street, Carrollton, GA 30118. Grade-aligned math instruction for secondary students with moderate intellectual disability. Diane M. Browder, Bree Jimenez, and Katherine Trela, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Specialized Education Services, 421 School of Education Building, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170. Two approaches to phonics instruction: Comparison of effects with children with significant cognitive disability. Elizabeth Finnegan, St. Thomas Aquinas College, 125 Route 340, Sparkill, NY 10976. Using video modeling to teach young children with autism developmentally-appropriate play and connected speech. Sarah Clifford Scheflen, Stephanny F. N. Freeman, and Tanya Paparella, ECPHP, UCLA, Dept. of Child Psychiatry, 77-447 Semel Institute for Neuroscience, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1759. Preparing children with developmental disabilities for life in the community: A Tanzanian perspective. Angela Stone-MacDonald, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Massachusetts, Boston, College of Education and Human Development, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125-3393. Comparing the effects of video prompting with and without error correction on skill acquisition for students with intellectual disability. Helen I. Cannella-Malone, Joe E. Wheaton, Pei-Fang Wu, Christopher A. Tullis, and Ju Hee Park, The Ohio State University, A348 PAES Building, 305 W 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210. A review of academic mathematics instruction for students with mild intellectual disability. Casey Hord and Emily C. Bouck, 6108A, BRNG Hall, Purdue University, 100 N. University St., West Lafayette, IN 47907. Comparing teacher-directed and computer-assisted constant time delay to teaching functional sight words for students with moderate intellectual disability. Mari Beth Coleman, Kevin J. Hurley, and David F. Cihak, University of Tennessee, A416 Jane and David Bailey Education Complex, 1122 Volunteer Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37996-3442. Increasing comprehension for middle school students with moderate intellectual disability on age-appropriate texts. Jordan Shurr and Teresa Taber-Doughty, Purdue University, Dept. of Educational Studies, 100 N. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2098. Address is supplied for author in boldface type.
  6. 6. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2012, 47(2), 127–138 © Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities Documenting Impact of Educational Contexts on Long-Term Outcomes for Students with Significant Disabilities Diane Lea Ryndak Sandra Alper University of Florida University of Northern Iowa Carolyn Hughes John McDonnell Vanderbilt University University of Utah Abstract: Follow-up studies of students with significant disabilities consistently indicate poor post-school outcomes. Although existing research indicates that services in inclusive general education contexts can result in positive short-term outcomes for these individuals during their school years, there are few investigations of the lives of adults with significant disabilities who experienced inclusive education over extended periods of time. Considering the lack of longitudinal studies, it currently is difficult to determine whether young adults lead more successful lives relative to employment, residential situations, use of leisure time, and friendships and social networks, as a function of inclusive education. This paper focuses on issues faced when conducting research to document the impact of contexts on long-term outcomes for students with significant disabilities, especially when addressing relative effectiveness of services in inclusive general education contexts and more restrictive contexts. Recommendations for future research and related policy and funding are suggested. In these times of accountability, when state and federal legislatures are linking both financial support for schools and salaries for teachers and administrators to student outcomes, attention is being turned to the short- and long-term outcomes that are expected for students with disabilities. With increased access to the general curriculum and inclusive general education contexts, students with disabilities are expected to make adequate yearly progress and earn regular diplomas. For students with significant disabilities this trend is resulting in many positive changes (e.g., increased acquisition of general education content; inclusion in district and state accountability measures). It also is raising questions about the desired outcomes of educational services for this group of students, as well as the efficacy of various forms of curriculum content, instructional practices, and instruc- Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Diane Ryndak, School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies, PO Box 117050, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-7050. tional contexts that comprise their educational experiences. With the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975) the education system was mandated for the first time to provide educational services for students with significant disabilities (Federal Register, 1977). As these mandated services were implemented, schools struggled with articulating the purpose of education for this set of students, as well as the curriculum content and instructional practices that would lead to outcomes that reflected that purpose of education. As described in the literature from that period, schools initially provided services for students with significant disabilities based on the curriculum content provided for students without disabilities who were performing at the same developmental level, demonstrating the same developmental skills and milestones (Williams & Gotts, 1977). For the most part, however, this content was taught in settings that segregated students with significant disabilities from classmates who did not have disabilities and the contexts in which they received instruction (Brown et al., 1978). Some school districts, however, had opted Impact of Educational Contexts / 127
  7. 7. to provide special education services for students with significant disabilities prior to the 1975 mandate. One of those districts began to articulate a purpose of education for this set of students, as well as study the long-term outcomes for their graduates (Van Deventer et al., 1981). The Madison (Wisconsin) Metropolitan Schools stated that the purpose of education for students with significant disabilities was to assist in maximizing their independent functioning in the heterogeneous society of adults without disabilities, including where and how those adults work, live, spend leisure time, and access the community. To determine if their services were meeting this goal, the district studied where their graduates with significant disabilities were spending day time hours. Initially the district found that only 2% of these graduates spent day time hours in a non-sheltered work place, while 98% spent day time hours in a sheltered work place or at home. Since these outcomes did not reflect the district’s stated purpose of education for these students, the district changed the curriculum content taught and the instructional practices implemented for their current students with significant disabilities. The changes focused on teaching naturally-occurring (i.e., functional) activities in naturally-occurring contexts (i.e., general education and community contexts) with same-age peers who did not have disabilities. Thus, the district changed both the curriculum content taught and the context in which instruction occurred. After six years of implementing these changes, the district found that 91% of the new graduates spent day time hours in a nonsheltered work place, while only 9% spent day time hours in a sheltered work place or at home. The district concluded that these longterm outcomes more closely reflected their purpose of education for their graduates with significant disabilities, and that long-term student outcomes had improved after these changes in the curriculum content taught and the context in which the students received instruction. Over the decades, numerous studies have been conducted to determine the long-term outcomes for students with disabilities (Wagner, Blackorby, Cameto, & Newman, 1993; Wagner, Newman, Cameto, Levin, & Garza, 2006). Unfortunately, the methodologies used 128 / for such studies have not provided outcome data specifically related to graduates with significant disabilities. For example, the use of data submitted to the U. S. Office of Education limits analysis to disability classification and percent of time in general education. Since federal disability classifications do not include “significant disabilities” or “severe disabilities,” outcomes for students with significant disabilities must be extrapolated from data on the existing categories, using prevalence data. In addition, the studies on longterm outcomes focus heavily on employment. For individuals with significant disabilities who have exited school services, however, the focus must go beyond employment and include overall quality of life, including residential situations, use of leisure time, access to the community, and social networks. The issues faced when studying longitudinal outcomes for students with significant disabilities are affected further by the call for research in special education to match the rigor of research in non-educational fields, resulting in a delineation of quality indicators for various methodologies (Cook, Landrum, Cook, & Tankersley, 2008; Odom et al., 2005). While describing the need for quality indicators, Odom and his colleagues stated: “Special education research, because of its complexity, may be the hardest of the hardest-to-do science. One feature of special education research that makes it more complex is the variability of the participants” (p. 139). We would argue further that, while this is the case for special education overall, it is even more evident when considering special education for students with significant disabilities. Both the low-incidence of significant disabilities and the numerous combinations of disabilities affecting the students comprising this group add to the complexity of the participants and the individualized services they require. The very nature of these complexities limits the field’s ability to use randomized trials, large-N studies, and norm-referenced assessments to study the long-term outcomes for students with significant disabilities. This article has four purposes. First, we discuss social validity and the role of social validation methodology in the study of long-term outcomes for students with significant disabilities. Second, we discuss the extent to which Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities-June 2012
  8. 8. social validity is evident in research on services in inclusive general education contexts, and on the teaching of social skills in high schools. Third, we discuss the current status of research on inclusive education and post-school outcomes, and the extent to which that research is socially valid in representing longterm outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities in relation to their quality of life, including employment, residential situations, use of leisure time, access to the community, and social networks. Finally, we make recommendations for future research and funding support. Social Validity and Long-Term Outcomes for Students with Significant Disabilities Definition and rationale for social validation. The concept of social validity reaches far beyond the field of education. Perceptions of the usefulness and satisfaction with consumer products (e.g., automobiles, home appliances, banking and credit card practices) have been influential in business and manufacturing for years. In the field of medicine, there are controversies as to whether medical practices should be (a) standardized (i.e., quantified) by diagnosis and not altered by a physician’s clinical judgment based on patients’ characteristics, or (b) tailored by a physician to match the characteristics of individual patients and the contexts in which they live (Groopman, 2010). The concept of social validity was first introduced in education by Kazdin (1977) and Wolf (1978). In part, it was conceived as a response to early concerns about whether or not instructional practices based on applied behavior analysis, with its emphasis on operationally defined behaviors and methods of influencing the consequences of responses, were too controlling, unethical, or undesirable (Kennedy, 2005). Prior to the 1970s and the development of values such as normalization, many persons with significant disabilities were routinely institutionalized in congregate, segregated, and dehumanizing settings. “Education” largely consisted of meaningless and repetitive activities, such as putting puzzles together, sorting objects, or stuffing envelopes with blank pieces of papers. Research efforts often were focused on demonstrating that these individuals were capable of learning. Unfortunately, little emphasis was placed on the value and meaningfulness of the skills they were being taught; rather, more emphasis was placed on the assessment of a person’s disability than on the person’s demonstration of competence as validated by learning new and meaningful skills. More recently, however, the importance of documenting whether or not a particular educational intervention results in positive outcomes in reading, math, science, social, or employment skills within the context of school and community settings for all students has been recognized. Equally important are the reactions and perceptions of the intervention by persons in these settings. For students with significant disabilities, educational interventions involve teachers, students without disabilities, family members, administrators, and community members. Questions concerning the relevance of instructional content, instructional practices, and short- and long- term outcomes of instruction, as well as consumer satisfaction, are just as controversial today as they have been for decades. Social validation methodology was developed to better understand and interpret the larger social context in which instruction and learning occur. It represents an attempt to address the relevancy, effectiveness, usefulness, and appropriateness of curriculum content, instructional methods, education supports, and outcomes of instruction as perceived by various stakeholders in educational and other applied settings. Kennedy (2005) pointed out that social validity is not objective, precise, or quantifiable; rather it is a subjective concept. Perceptions of educational interventions change, therefore, relative to several variables, such as the priorities of different stakeholders, time, location, and social mores. Social validity is particularly important when attempting to evaluate the long-term outcomes for students with significant disabilities. For nearly four decades, the dismal outcomes of post-school follow-up studies of students with disabilities, and particularly those with significant disabilities, have indicated low rates of employment, dependence on family members or social welfare, few social contacts, and long periods of inactivity (see National Center on Disability and Social Security Administration, 2000). The results of these stud- Impact of Educational Contexts / 129
  9. 9. ies raise serious concerns about the social validity of education for these students. Assessing social validity in education. Three basic approaches have evolved to estimate social validity in education: (a) subjective evaluation, (b) normative comparison, and (c) sustainability of results. Subjective evaluation involves the perceptions of instructional relevancy by some group or groups of stakeholders (Kazdin, 1977; Wolf, 1978). Students, family members, teachers, school administrators, or community members may be asked to rate the importance of instructional goals, methods, and outcomes. The advantage of subjective evaluation is that consumer input is gathered and valued. However, there are at least two disadvantages to this method. First, different sets of stakeholders, as well as individual people, have different perceptions of what is meaningful and relevant at any point in time (e.g., parents’ and teachers’ priorities for instructional objectives). Second, consumer perceptions of a particular intervention might be unrelated to positive outcomes, particularly long-term outcomes. Normative comparison, sometimes referred to as social comparison, involves comparing the performance of students with disabilities with some other reference group (e.g., sameage peers without disabilities) (Kazdin, 1977; Van Houten, 1979; Wolf, 1978). Normative comparison is always dependent on social standards. Compare, for example, federal or state mandated standardized age-normed tests versus teacher criteria for individualized student performance within a particular classroom, or differential expectations of employers. Normative comparison is based on criteria within a given context; however, a disadvantage centers on the question of whether or not meeting “average” standards is always advantageous for a particular individual. Using normative comparisons can minimize the appreciation of unique human differences and lead to expectations that all persons should be held to the same standard. Finally, questions linger as to what exactly would constitute an appropriate reference group for students with significant disabilities. Sustainability of results refers to the question of whether or not the outcomes of instruction are maintained over time (Kennedy, 2002). This approach to social validation is 130 / extremely important as we attempt to document the long-term efficacy of education in inclusive general education contexts. Clearly, studies have documented the short-tem effects of services in inclusive general education contexts (e.g., Alper & Ryndak, 1992; Fisher & Ryndak, 2001; Ryndak & Fisher, 2003). The disadvantage is that many behavioral changes are not maintained without sustained intervention. A host of intervening variables (e.g., different teachers, individual student characteristics, changing local standards, inconsistent support services) exacerbate the methodological difficulties of relating services in inclusive general education contexts to postschool outcomes for persons with significant disabilities (Ryndak, Ward, Alper, Montgomery, & Storch, 2010). Failure to apply social validation methodology. We argue that one factor contributing to the poor post-school outcomes characteristic of many adults with significant disabilities is the failure of special education policy makers and researchers to socially validate the prevailing high school curricula, instructional strategies, and service delivery models with respect to long-term outcomes. Studies indicate that those who have the most at stake with respect to the post-school outcomes of secondary curricula (e.g., parents, students, employers) often have little or no input into the curriculum goals, instructional procedures, and outcomes that comprise the content and delivery of high school programs for this population (e.g., Kolb & Hanley-Maxwell, 2003). Unless systems change agents systematically apply social validation methodology and solicit the views of participants most directly involved in the transition from school to adult life, and incorporate their perspectives into programmatic decisions, secondary curricula likely will fail to effectively address the participants’ long-term values, goals, and needs. To illustrate, employment and follow-up studies have indicated since the 1980s that the primary cause of people with disabilities lose their jobs is not because they cannot perform required tasks, but because of difficulty fitting in socially in the workplace (e.g., Brickey, Campbell, & Browning, 1985; Butterworth & Strauch, 1994; Chadsey, 2007; Greenspan & Shoultz, 1981; Kochany & Keller, 1981; Wehman, Hill, Goodall, Cleveland, & Pentecost, Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities-June 2012
  10. 10. 1982). Social validation studies conducted in employment settings indicate that employers of people with disabilities have expectations for their employees on the job (e.g., interacting with co-workers at breaks, requesting and providing assistance, responding appropriately to constructive criticism) and that little tolerance exists for behaviors such as yelling, complaining, assaulting others, invading privacy, or interrupting meetings unannounced (e.g., Agran, Salzberg, & Martella, 1991; McConaughy, Stowitschek, Salzberg, & Peatross, 1989; Salzberg, Agran, & Lignurgaris/Kraft, 1986). At the same time, employers do not believe it is their job to teach expected social skills; rather, employers typically hold that employees with or without disabilities should enter employment with “job-ready” social skill repertoires so supervisors can focus on training requisite skills to maximize job performance (Butterworth & Strauch, 1994). We argue that if employers’ perspectives were heeded, a critical component of secondary programs for students with significant disabilities would be teaching socially validated social skills. However, doing so does not appear to be the case. For example, Guy, Sitlington, Larsen, and Frank’s (2009) statewide study revealed that employment training, in general, is limited in secondary education programs. Even when employment training is implemented, its main focus is teaching technical skills versus job-related social skills. Social Validity of Inclusive Education and Teaching Social Skills in High Schools Inclusive education in secondary general education classes and post-school outcomes. Research indicates that receiving services in inclusive secondary general education classes and demonstrating accepted social skills relate to postschool employment success for students with significant disabilities (e.g., Baer et al., 2003; Benz, Yovanoff, & Doren, 1997; Blackorby, Hancock, & Siegel, 1993; Heal & Rusch, 1995; Test et al., 2009; White & Weiner, 2004). A fundamental argument supporting the inclusion of high school students with significant disabilities in general education classes is that these students need access to their general education peers as models of expected social behavior (e.g., Alwell & Cobb, 2009; Naraian, 2010). Being educated in separate, segregated settings restricts opportunities to develop relationships and learn social skills needed for everyday life in school and adult life. On the other hand, interacting with their general education peers can promote acquisition of social skills when peers serve as models of expected behavior (e.g., Hughes et al., 2000). The logical place to teach social skills valued on the job and in adult life is in a student’s high school environment where an abundance of peers is found, who are competent in performing everyday social interactions. Indeed, studies show that general education peers can be effective teachers of appropriate social skills for students with significant disabilities, and that these skills can generalize to individuals and settings not associated with instruction (e.g., Hughes et al., 2004; Hughes et al., 2000; Hunt, Alwell, Goetz, & Sailor, 1990). Rather than wait until students are in a post-school employment setting, researchers, employers, parents, and others argue that social skills instruction should be provided in secondary curricula for students with intellectual and related disabilities (Kolb & Hanley-Maxwell, 2003). Considering that limited social skills is a characteristic of many students with intellectual disabilities (The AAIDD Ad Hoc Committee on Terminology and Classification, 2010), high schools must be responsible for teaching social skills to students with significant disabilities who have not yet acquired these critical skills. The fact that social skills instruction with peers is not occurring regularly in high school on a regular basis (Carter & Hughes, 2007) is a blatant failure to apply social validation methodology to the secondary curriculum in relation to long-term outcomes of students with significant disabilities. Social validation of teaching social skills: Parents’ perspectives. As discussed earlier, one method of social validation (i.e., subjective evaluation) includes querying stakeholders about their goals and expected short- and long-term outcomes for a proposed or ongoing program. Particularly as youth get closer to exiting school, there is a growing concern among parents to have their children learn social skills needed to get along on the job and in the community. Their collective concerns are an example of social validation: par- Impact of Educational Contexts / 131
  11. 11. ents are saying that social skills are critical to success in adult society (e.g., Hughes, Brigham, & Cosgriff, 2010; Hughes, Killian, & Fischer, 1996). Parents report (a) wanting their high school-age children to learn to fit in socially by learning critical social skills, and (b) believing that classmates without disabilities can teach their children these skills (Hughes et al.). For example, upon hearing that his son could participate in a peer mentoring program at his high school, one father said, “It’s about time--we’ve needed this for so long.” He expressed how critical it was for his son to learn what is and is not appropriate behavior, both to promote relationships with peers and to learn what was expected on the job. One mother expressed concerns that her son was close to exiting high school but lacked socially appropriate skills required in the work place. She indicated that, “What we need now more than anything is social skills,” and that this was her top priority for her son’s participation in the peer mentoring program. She followed up by saying that society wants students to go on to be “card-carrying, tax-paying citizens” and in order to do so, it was critical that her son learn the social behaviors expected in adult life while he was still in high school. Despite parents’ strong views on the value of incorporating social skills instruction into the school day for their children with significant disabilities, rarely is their input sought on the content of secondary curricula and instructional activities (Kolb & Hanley-Maxwell, 2003). Further, unless instruction on social skills occurs, there is little likelihood that schools will provide the social interaction and opportunities to learn social skills that parents value, even when their children with significant disabilities have access to general education classmates (e.g., Carter, Hughes, Guth, & Copeland, 2005; Hughes, Carter, Hughes, Bradford, & Copeland, 2002). Unfortunately, observational studies show that instruction on social skills rarely occurs in general education high school contexts (Carter et al.), suggesting that parents’ perspectives and goals are not being incorporated into identifying relevant secondary curriculum content. Applying social validation methodology to high school curriculum. Parents, employers, and researchers are calling for opportunities for stu- 132 / dents with significant disabilities to learn the social skills needed for employment and other aspects of adult life from their classmates without disabilities while in high school. For this to occur, secondary curricula should be preparing students with significant disabilities for employment and other aspects of adult life. We argue that support should be provided by funding agencies (e.g., Institute of Education Sciences) to systematically conduct social validation research investigating the perspectives of critical stakeholders toward instruction on social interaction, and that these views be considered when identifying the secondary curriculum content for students with significant disabilities. Underutilization of social validity in educational research. The underutilization of social validity in educational research is related to the overarching questions of the purpose of education. In general education for students without disabilities, controversy exists over the desired outcomes of education. Should the goal of education be to develop well-rounded educated individuals with a broad base of knowledge, or to focus on job readiness for the global economy? Similar questions have been raised as to the purpose of inclusion in general education contexts. Should the primary emphasis of inclusion be the development of social skills and friendships, or should the emphasis be broadened to include readiness to work, live, and participate in the community? Our position is that both emphases are crucial. Incorporating the development of social skills and friendships into the purpose of education in general education contexts for students with significant disabilities need not jeopardize their development of skills needed for employment and living in the community. Unfortunately, disagreement on these questions compounds efforts to assess social validity. Finally, not all special education researchers are focused on the long-term goals of improving quality of life after school years. Many scholars, understandably, emphasize effective ways for students with disabilities to meet state standards for grade-level performance in math, reading, and science related to provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Few researchers have addressed the social validity Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities-June 2012
  12. 12. of inclusion in general education contexts relative to post-school outcomes. Current Status of Research on Services in Inclusive Contexts and Post-School Outcomes While research examining inclusive education for students with significant disabilities has significantly increased over the last decade (Halvorsen & Neary, 2009; Ryndak & Alper, 2003), the primary dependent variables used in the majority of the research studies have focused on short-term social and educational outcomes. For example, in a research review on promoting social interactions between students with significant disabilities and their peers without disabilities, Carter and Hughes (2007) concluded that creating common social and educational experiences between students with and without disabilities results in increased acceptance of students with significant disabilities, increased frequency and quality of social interactions between peers, and the development of friendships during and after school hours (Carter & Hughes). However, they also point out that “In most research studies, the long-term effects of interventions have not been evaluated, highlighting the need for longitudinal evaluations that extend over the course of multiple semesters or school years” (p. 321). Similarly, Hunt and McDonnell (2007) examined research on strategies for supporting effective instruction to students with significant disabilities in general education classes. They concluded that a number of studentand classroom-based interventions have proven to be effective in promoting students’ acquisition of a variety of academic and functional skills. They also noted that a pervasive weakness in this research literature was a lack of attention by researchers to the generalization of skills to day-to-day activities, the maintenance of skills across time, and the longterm impacts on students’ overall quality of life. The intervention literature clearly documents that, as a field, we have effective strategies for increasing immediate social and educational outcomes for students with significant disabilities in general education classes. The assumption is that students’ participation in general education classes, and their improved social and education performance in these contexts, will lead to better outcomes and enhanced quality of life after they exit school. Unfortunately, the nature of the intervention studies completed to date simply do not yet allow for this conclusion. Some evidence supporting the long-term benefits of inclusive education can be found in studies that have examined the status of students after they leave school (Benz, Lindstrom, & Yovanoff, 2000; Benz et al., 1997; Heal, Khoju, & Rusch, 1997; Ryndak, Ward, Alper, Montgomery, & Storch, 2010; Ryndak, Ward, Alper, Storch, & Montgomery, 2010; Wagner et al., 1993; Wagner et al., 2006; White & Weiner, 2004). For example, White and Weiner conducted a correlational study examining the relationship between educational placement and community-based instruction on employment outcomes for 104 young adults with significant disabilities. One of the strongest predictors of paid, community employment for these students following school was the degree to which they were included in general education contexts with age-appropriate peers prior to graduation. In a retrospective qualitative study, Ryndak, Ward, Alper, Montgomery, and Storch (2010) examined the impact of inclusive education on two individuals with severe significant disabilities who attended the same self-contained class when they were 15 years of age. Data sources included: (a) observations at age 15 and 25; (b) interviews with the individuals with significant disabilities, family members, friends, and adult service providers; and (c) educational and adult services records. One of these individuals was identified as the “highest functioning” student in their class and the other was identified as the “lowest functioning” student. In subsequent school years the “highest functioning” student remained in self-contained classes while the “lowest functioning” student received services in general education classes. Three years after exiting the educational system the “lowest functioning” student consistently had been employed as a judicial system government employee, living in an apartment with weekly support for budgeting and independent functioning, and participating within an extensive social support network. In contrast, the “highest functioning” student had lost numerous jobs and Impact of Educational Contexts / 133
  13. 13. at the time was working at a sheltered workshop, was living with family members, and had no social support network beyond family members. Finally, the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) I and the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) II funded by the U. S. Department of Education have also attempted to identify educational and school factors that influence post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Findings from these studies also suggest that taking courses in the general education curriculum, especially vocational education courses, has a positive impact on students’ post-school outcomes (Wagner et al., 1993; Wagner et al, 2006). Although the available evidence suggests that inclusive education has a positive impact on post-school outcomes, most of the published research studies on post-school outcomes were not designed to specifically examine the relationship between students’ participation in general education classes and the general education curriculum, and their quality of life following school. Some of the limitations of the existing studies include: ● ● ● ● ● The primary dependent variables of postschool adjustment are overly focused on employment outcomes. Data on variables linked to individuals’ levels of independence, self-determination, community participation, depth and breadth of social networks, and overall satisfaction with quality of life are essentially nonexistent. Measures of the characteristics of services in inclusive general education contexts are broad (i.e., number of general education courses taken, amount of time in general education classes) and do not address the range, intensity, or quality of instruction that students receive in these contexts. The measures of academic performance and social connectedness are weak if they exist at all. Measures of student and family characteristics are broad and often don’t address variables that might influence student performance during school or access to resources after school (e.g., family income). The impacts of community characteristics (i.e., rural vs. urban; levels of unemploy- 134 / ● ● ● ment; affordable housing) are frequently not controlled for when drawing conclusions about students’ post-school outcomes. The type, intensity, and quality of community services and supports available to graduates are rarely controlled for when drawing conclusions about post-school outcomes. Measures of school and post-school experiences often are based on student and parent reports, or analysis of school or agency records, rather than direct observation. The number of students with significant disabilities, especially those with more significant disabilities, represents a small portion of the sample which prevents a comprehensive analysis of the features of students’ educational experiences that might impact post-school outcomes. What these limitations point out is that addressing the question of how inclusive education, and students’ access and progress in the general education curriculum, impact their post-school outcomes will require the implementation of one or more national longitudinal studies that systematically track the breadth, intensity, and quality of the participation of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in general education classes and the general education curriculum throughout their school years and into adulthood. Discussion We have addressed some of the methodological issues in documenting post-school outcomes for students with significant disabilities. Specifically, we focused on the importance of social validity, the need for more emphasis during high school on social skills related to employment and other long-term outcomes, and the need for longitudinal studies focused on young adults with significant disabilities. Based on our review of the literature, the following recommendations for practitioners and researchers are offered. Recommendations for Increasing Emphasis on Social Validity First, there is a need for more consumer input during the school years about curriculum goals. Too often, general and special educa- Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities-June 2012
  14. 14. tors, parents, and school administrators disagree. These issues are exacerbated by legislative mandates and the economy. Many times, issues involving post-school outcomes are simply not addressed until shortly before or after exiting school. In addition, there is a need for more student input into their own educational program based on their desires for the future. There is a great need to encourage teachers, students, family members, administrators, and researchers to think ahead and consider options for post-school options. Second, implications for teacher preparation should be reconsidered. General education teachers need to be better trained to adapt and accommodate curriculum for students with disabilities and recognize that not all students can or should meet the same performance criteria. Many higher education faculty in elementary and secondary general education are more focused on curriculum content of academic subjects rather than meeting individual needs of diverse learners. Most states mandate only a two to three credit hour course in meeting the needs of diverse learners for general education teacher licensure, and many of these courses focus primarily on students with mild disabilities. Unfortunately, student teachers all too often are trained in non-inclusive settings with little or no contact with students with significant disabilities. Ryndak and Alper (2003) developed a model for determining relevant curriculum content for a student with significant disabilities that blends relevant general education content and functional content. The primary advantage of this model is that it enables students with significant disabilities to remain in general education contexts and have access to the general curriculum while, at the same time, receive instruction that facilitates participation, as independently as possible, in context-based activities (e.g., in school, on the job, in other aspects of adult life in the community). This model relies on collaboration between special and general educators, as well as the students, their family members, and their social support network. Third, mastering the technical and social skills needed for successful post-school outcomes for students with significant disabilities is, in part, contingent on the context of in- struction. Instruction in the natural contexts in which skills typically are used is a priority in the education of secondary students with significant disabilities. Currently there are two variables that impact the instructional contexts for these students. First, many researchers, schools, and parents differentiate the context for instruction based on a student’s age; that is, through the age of 18 many students with significant disabilities receive instruction in the same contexts as their same-age peers who do not have disabilities. Thus, if there is a community-based employment training program for general education students in a high school, a student with significant disabilities might receive instruction on employment skills with those general education students in the same employment contexts. When general education students exit school services at age 18, students with significant disabilities would either receive community-based services (i.e., on the job, in residential situations, in the community-at-large) through age 22, or attend post-secondary education programs on university or college campuses. In contrast, some researchers, schools, and parents differentiate the context for instruction based on the curriculum content they choose for the student to learn. For instance, the emphasis of NCLB on meeting general education academic standards might result in maximizing students’ participation in academic contexts with their same-age peers in both secondary and post-secondary settings; emphasis on transitioning to adult life in the community might result in maximizing a student’s participation in community-based contexts (e.g., employment sites, residential situations). John Dewey held that a child is best prepared for life as an adult by being allowed to blend what is learned in school with life outside of school and experiencing that which has meaning in his/her life. The dilemma facing schools today is focusing on the individualized needs and future goals of a student with significant disabilities, and maximizing their educational experiences related to both general education content and their functional needs. Additionally, the education system must struggle with the concept that the effectiveness of education services for all students will not necessarily be based solely on standardized state and district assessments. Impact of Educational Contexts / 135
  15. 15. Need for Longitudinal Studies Design and implementation of a comprehensive longitudinal study for students with significant disabilities would require a significant financial investment by the federal government and the participation of researchers from a number of disciplines. This effort would face a number of methodological challenges including obtaining a national representative sample; defining and quantifying the critical dimensions of education in inclusive general education contexts; obtaining reliable and valid measures of student learning and social adjustment during school; defining and quantifying meaningful post-school outcomes; and controlling for variation in school-based and post-school services. However, such an endeavor could have significant benefits in informing educational policy for this group of students for years to come. Given the current state of research on the impact of services in inclusive general education contexts, as well as the mandates in NCLB (2001) and IDEA (2004) on students’ access to and progress in the general curriculum, it would seem prudent to ascertain what elements of students’ participation in the general curriculum directly impacts their post-school outcomes. We need to know whether learning content from the general curriculum, learning social and functional skills that are linked directly to students’ post-school contexts and outcomes, participating in general education classes and activities, or all three make a difference in the effectiveness of students’ educational programs. We also need to know whether holding schools accountable only for short-term learning and social outcomes is having the intended impacts. We might find that if we really want to improve the quality of education for students with significant disabilities, then schools should instead be held responsible for whether students successfully transition into post-secondary education or employment, and participate fully in the social and cultural networks of the community. References AAIDD Ad Hoc Committee on Terminology and Classification (2010). Intellectual disability: Definition, classification, and systems of supports (11th ed.). 136 / Washington, DC: American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Agran, M., Salzberg, C. L., & Martella, R. C. (1991). Expectancy effects in social validation methodology: Are there differential expectations for employees with mental retardation? Research in Developmental Disabilities, 12, 425– 434. Alper, S., & Ryndak, D.L. (1992). Hey, don’t forget about us! Educating students with severe handicapping conditions in integrated elementary programs. Elementary School Administrators’ Journal, 92, 373–387. Alwell, M., & Cobb, B. (2009). Social and communicative interventions and transition outcomes for youth with disabilities: A systematic review. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 32, 94 –107. Baer, R., Flexer, R., Beck, S., Amstutz, N., Hoffmon, L., Brothers, J., & Zechman, C. (2003). A collaborative followup study on transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 26, 7–25. Benz, M. R., Lindstrom, L., & Yovanoff, P. (2000). Improving graduation and employment outcomes of students with disabilities: Predictive factors and student perspectives. Exceptional Children, 66, 509 –529. Benz, M. R., Yovanoff, P., & Doren, B. (1997). School-to-work components that predict postschool success for students with and without disabilities. Exceptional Children, 63, 151–165. Blackorby, J., Hancock, G. R., & Siegel, S. (1993). Human capital and structural explanations of postschool success for youth with disabilities: A latent variable exploration of the National Longitudinal Transition Study. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Brickey, M. P., Campbell, K. M., & Browning, L. J. (1985). A five-year follow-up of sheltered workshop employees placed in competitive jobs. Mental Retardation, 20, 67– 83. Brown, L., Branston, M. B., Hamre-Nietupski, S., Johnson, F., Wilcox, B., & Gruenewald, L. (1978). A rationale for comprehensive longitudinal interactions between severely handicapped students and nonhandicapped students and other citizens. American Association for the Education of the Severely and Profoundly Handicapped Review, 4, 3–14. Butterworth, J., & Strauch, J. D. (1994). The relationship between social competence and success in the competitive work place for persons with mental retardation. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 29, 118 –133. Carter, E. W., & Hughes, C. (2007). Social interaction interventions: Promoting socially supported environments and teaching new skills. In S. L. Odom, R. H. Horner, M. E. Snell, & J. Blacher (Eds.), Handbook of developmental disabilities (pp. 310 –329). New York: The Guilford Press. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities-June 2012
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  18. 18. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 2012, 47(2), 139 –153 © Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities Functional Curriculum and Students with Mild Intellectual Disability: Exploring Postschool Outcomes through the NLTS2 Emily C. Bouck and Gauri Joshi Purdue University Abstract: While students with mild intellectual disability receive less attention in research, their educational programming is still important, including the curriculum they receive in school. This study analyzed the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) as to the curriculum students with mild intellectual disability received in high school as well as students’ postschool outcomes. Frequency distributions, cross tabulations and logistic regression were utilized to analyze secondary data from the NLTS2. Results indicated few students with mild intellectual disability received a functional curriculum and receipt of a functional curriculum did not influence postschool outcomes. The implications and future directions of these results are discussed. Students with mild intellectual disability once comprised the largest focus in special education and the category was often considered the foundation of the field (Bouck, 2007; Edgar, 1987; Polloway, 2006). But now it is a population in decline (Polloway), referred to by some as the forgotten generation (Fujiura, 2003). Students with mild intellectual disability are now often given other category labels, such as learning disabilities, and lumped into the category of high incidence disabilities or mild disabilities, despite not having mild needs (Polloway, 2004; Smith, 2006). The result of this melding is a loss of specific consideration for students with mild intellectual disability in terms of curriculum, instructional environments, and postschool outcomes (Polloway, 2004; 2005). In fact, Polloway (2004, 2005) wrote a eulogy for the field of mild intellectual disability and cited a lack of attention, research, and advocacy for this population of students and their educational needs. And yet, students with mild intellectual disability still exist and continue to have educational needs and concerns that need to be Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Emily C. Bouck, 5146 BRNG Hall, 100 N. University St., West Lafayette, IN 47907. Email: bouck@purdue.edu addressed in research and practice. Attention needs to be paid to this group of students’ educational services and their postschool outcomes. Mild intellectual disability is “characterized by significantly subaverage intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work” (Polloway, Patton, Smith, & Buck, 1997, p. 298). Historically and collectively, students with mild intellectual disability struggled with short attention spans and distractibility (Dunn, 1973; Kirk, 1972; Thomas, 1996; Zeaman & House, 1963, 1979). Other characteristics often associated with this population of students include difficulty transferring and generalizing information, inputting information into memory, and retrieving information from memory (Belmont, 1966; Dunn; Kirk; Spitz, 1973; Stephens, 1972; Thomas). In opposition to the aggregation of students with mild intellectual disability with other high incidence disability categories, Sabornie, Evans, and Cullinan (2006) suggested how students with mild intellectual disability were different from students with learning disabilities and emotional/behavior disorders in the domains of Functional Curriculum and Students with MID / 139
  19. 19. IQ and academic achievement/skills (i.e., students with mild intellectual disability had lower IQs and lower academic achievement/ skills). Historically, students with mild intellectual disability have experienced poor postschool outcomes. Although aggregated, in the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS), Blackorby and Wagner (1996) found only a 35% employment rate for students with intellectual disability. In 2009, from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2) Newman, Wagner, Cameto, and Knokey indicated only 31.0% of students were currently employed, although the data showed 51.8% had been employed sometime since they graduated from high school. Additionally, Newman et al. found only 14.1% of students with intellectual disability report living independently. For postsecondary institution attendance, Kaye (1997) reported 2.5% of students with intellectual disability participated in some form of postsecondary education; more recent data from the NLTS2 indicated an increase to 13% (Newman, 2005b). as a life skills curriculum, is designed to teach functional life skills, or in other words, the skills necessary to live, work, and have fun in an inclusive community (Bouck; Brown et al., 1979). A functional curriculum is presumed to include the functional skills and applications of core subject areas (academics), vocational education, community access, daily living, financial, independent living, transportation, social/relationships, and self-determination (Patton, Cronin, & Jairrels, 1997). A functional curriculum stems from the belief that the general academic curriculum fails to provide students with mild intellectual disability an opportunity to develop skills they will need to be successful postschool and they would not develop these skills unless explicitly taught (Bouck; Sitlington, Frank & Carson, 1993). Hence, a functional curriculum approach is characterized by the consideration of teaching students with mild intellectual disability the skills to help them be productive members of society, and support positive postschool outcomes. Postschool Outcomes Functional Curriculum Given the poor postschool outcomes, one needs to consider the educational programming students with mild intellectual disability receive. In a survey of one state, secondary special education teachers reported a range of curricular offerings for students with mild intellectual disability: 23.8% used a special education curriculum, 19% a functional curriculum, and 15.3% a general education curriculum; the remaining teachers used small frequencies of other models (e.g., lower grade level, vocational education, no curriculum) (Bouck, 2004a). Teachers in this study reported being unsatisfied with the educational programming for secondary students with mild intellectual disability and indicated one of the greatest improvement needs for their program was a more appropriate curriculum (Bouck). One curriculum advocated for secondary students with mild intellectual disability is a functional curriculum (Bouck, 2004b; Edgar, 1987; Kaiser & Abell, 1997; Patton, Cronin, Polloway, Hutchinson, & Robinson, 1989). A functional curriculum, sometimes referred to 140 / While a lack of research exists regarding the outcomes of a functional curriculum for secondary students with mild intellectual disability, research on a functional curriculum for students with disabilities in general suggests positive results. For example, Benz, Lindstrom, and Latta (1999) and Benz, Lindstrom, and Yovanoff (2000) indicated students with disabilities who participated in the Youth Transition Program, which involved life skills (i.e., vocational skills, including paid work experience; independent living skills; personalsocial skills; functional academics skills; and self-determination), experienced increased graduation rates, higher engagement in postsecondary outcomes of employment or education, and higher wages. In another study, Riches, Parmenter, Fegent, and Bailey (1993) surveyed students with disabilities in Australia who graduated from high school. They compared responses of students who participated in a transition project, in which the curriculum focused on vocational education, community access/living, functional academics, recreation and leisure, transportation and personal management, to those who did not Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities-June 2012
  20. 20. participate in this program. One of the notable outcomes of this study was employment for the students in the transition program as Riches et al. found 89% students who participated in the program held at least one job after high school. Further, Phelps and HanleyMaxwell (1997) noted the value of a functional curriculum— operationally defined as the merger of academics and vocational education, suggesting it was one of two effective practices for students with disabilities when considering postschool outcomes related to work. Finally, Alwell and Cobb (2009), in a review of research on functional curriculum and outcomes of students with disabilities over two decades, suggested students benefited from receiving a functional curriculum but the research on functional curriculum primarily targeted students with more severe or low incidence disabilities. Yet, more than just curricula can impact students’ postschool outcomes. For example, Rabren, Dunn, and Chambers (2002), examining transition data from former students with disabilities in one state, found disability category, gender, school geography, and employment in school influenced students afterschool success or lack thereof. Baer et al. (2003) reported differential effect of in-school influences when considering postschool outcomes of employment and postsecondary education. They found participation in schoolsupported work experiences, vocational education, having a particular disability and being educated in a rural school were positive predictors of employment for students with disabilities after school, while attendance at a suburban school and participation in a general education settings positively correlated with postsecondary education attendance. And, from the National Longitudinal Transition Study data, Heal and Rusch (1995) reported male gender status and receiving life and academic skills as positive predictors of employment after school for students with disabilities. Research Project Currently there is a lack of attention to students with mild intellectual disability in research and practice (Bouck, 2007), which is unwarranted in these times of evidence-based practices and a focus on achievement and outcomes in federal policy (Bouck, & Flanagan, 2010; Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, 2004; No Child Left Behind, 2002). Further, there is a lack of current research connecting receipt of a functional curriculum to postschool outcomes for students with disabilities, particularly considering the often-overlooked population of students with mild intellectual disability. To address this gap in research, the authors sought to answer the following research questions: (a) to what extent are students with mild intellectual disabilities getting exposure to functional or life skills curriculum during their secondary education program?, (b) what are the immediate and long-term (i.e., more than 2 years) postschool outcomes for students with mild intellectual disability who receive a functional curriculum?, (c) how do the postschool outcomes of students with mild intellectual disability who receive a functional curriculum compare to those receiving other curriculum models?, and (d) what factors (i.e., curriculum, school geography) predict the ascertainment of more successful postschool outcomes (i.e., full-time employment, higher wages, independent living) for students with mild intellectual disability? Method This study used the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) database to explore students with mild intellectual disability, functional curriculum, and postschool outcomes (e.g., employment, postsecondary education, wages, and independent living) through a secondary analysis. We will discuss information regarding the participants and procedures used for this study and general information regarding the NLTS2, however, we invite readers to refer to reports and information from the NLTS2 website (http:// www.nlts2.org) and other published articles (Wagner, Kutash, Duchnowski, & Epstein, 2005) for additional information specific to the overall NLTS2 project. National Longitudinal Transition Study The National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS), funded by the Office of Special Ed- Functional Curriculum and Students with MID / 141
  21. 21. ucation Programs and conducted by SRI International, focused on secondary students with disabilities receiving special education services (Wagner, Newman, Cameto, & Levine, 2005). It was a multiyear project, beginning in 1985, and sought to understand these students’ secondary education, transition to postschool, and outcomes postschool. Overall, the NLTS highlighted the poor postschool outcomes of students with disabilities and the need for change in areas of secondary education and transition (Blackorby & Wagner, 1996). The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) is the sequel to the NLTS. It is a government-sponsored project to document the “characteristics, experiences, and achievement of youth with disabilities” through its examination of issues of secondary education, transition, and postschool outcomes (Newman, 2005a). The NLTS2 represents a comprehensive 10-year project; data collection began during the 2000 –2001 academic year and the last wave of data completed during the 2008 –2009 academic year. The NLTS2 gathered data through multiple means: (a) parent and/or youth telephone interviews, (b) direct assessments of students, (c) teacher survey, (d) school program survey, (e) school information survey, and (f) student transcripts (SRI International, 2000b). The NLTS2 represents a two-stage sampling procedure (SRI International, 2000a; Wagner et al., 2005). First, Local Educational Agencies (LEA) and state-supported schools were randomly selected to participate. The selection was done in a stratified manner, to account for geographic region, student enrollment (i.e., enough respondents in each of the 12 possible disability categories at the secondary level), and wealth of LEA/community. From this, students between the ages of 13 and 16 and in at least seventh-grade receiving special education services within the selected LEAs and special schools were randomly selected to participate (SRI International, n.d). However, students were selected to ensure a 3.6% standard error in the disability categories with the highest frequency of students (i.e., learning disabilities, emotional/behavior disorders, intellectual disability, speech and language impairments, other health impairments, and hearing impairments) (SRI International; 142 / Wagner et al.). The sampling of students was also weighted towards older students (i.e., those aged 16 as compared to 13–15 year-olds) at the start of wave 1 (SRI International). Using the weighted design of the study, a total of 19,899,621 students receiving special education services from 12,435 LEAs participated in the NLTS2 study (SRI International). Participants Participants in this project were students from the NLTS2 study, meaning they were students 13–16 years of age in at least seventh-grade and receiving special education services in 2000. To be included in this secondary analysis, students from the NLTS2 database needed to meet the following criteria: (a) identified by school program as having a mild intellectual disability; (b) in school in wave 1 of data collection and out of school in wave 2, in school in wave 2 and out of school in wave 3, or in school in wave 3 and out in wave 4; and (c) receiving special education services while in school. While analyses were run on students who met these characteristics in the sample, all data reported are weighted using the weights provided in the NLTS2 database to represent the number of students in the population (see Javitz & Wagner, 2003; Wagner et al., 2005 for more information on weighting the data). Note, data with low unweighted counts have not been reported in this analysis. This secondary analysis of the NLTS2 involved 60,664 students with mild intellectual disability. The majority of students with mild intellectual disability identified their ethnicity as Caucasian (62.4%, SE 5.7), followed by African-American (30.5%, SE 5.5), Hispanic (4.5%, SE 2.7) and multiracial or other (2.1%, SE 1.7). The majority were male (66.1%, SE 4.8) and, of those who responded, the most frequently indicated family income (i.e., parent/guardians) was less than $25,000 per year. The average age of students in school was 17.2 while the average age for out of school for the postschool outcomes was 19.9, and 20.9 for the long-term postschool outcomes (i.e., more than two years out of school). Data Collection For this analysis, we pulled data from the first four waves of data collection (i.e., waves 1, 2, Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities-June 2012
  22. 22. 3, and 4). The immediate outcomes reflect students who were out of school in wave 2, 3, or 4, while the “long term” outcomes reflect data of students who were out of school in either wave 3 or 4 and in school in waves 1 and 2 (i.e., out for more than two years). We utilized the Parent/Youth survey at each of the four waves, the School Characteristics survey completed at wave 1, and the Students’ School Program survey completed at waves 1 and 2. At wave 1, the Parent/Youth survey was a 60minute phone interview completed by the parents of the participating students. For waves 2, 3, and 4, students completed the 60-minute phone interview; parents completed it if the student was unable to do so. At all four waves, a mail survey was provided if a phone interview was not possible. The Parent/Youth survey focused on selected questions pertaining to student characteristics, household characteristics, nonschool factors, family involvement, academic and school experiences, personal/social issues, employment, citizenship, health, satisfactions, and behaviors (SRI International, 2000b). The teacher most familiar with the student’s overall school program completed the Students’ School Program survey. This survey was a mail survey and questions pertained to the school program, transition, special education services, state and district assessments, accommodations, provision of supports, performance, and parental involvement (SRI International, 2000b). Finally, school personnel, such as the principal, completed the School Characteristics survey. It was also a mail survey, which elicited information regarding the school and community, students, staff, programs, special education policies and practices, parental involvement, and background information (SRI International). Procedure For the purposes of this analysis, we focused on items from the multiple surveys that addressed our research questions. Specifically, we included items representing the curriculum focus in students’ special education classes (e.g., life skills, academic) as well as if they received life skills in school and where (e.g., special education setting, general education setting). We also used a variable from the database called “mental skills,” which was the sum of respondents’ assessment of the student’s ability to tell time on a clock with hands, read and understand common signs, count change and look up telephone numbers in a phonebook and use the telephone. Each skill was assessed on four point rating scale ranging from one (not at all well) to four (very well), resulting in a score ranging from 4 to 16. In terms of postschool outcomes, variables of interest included where students were living (i.e., independently vs. dependently), employment status, job type, wages received, and whether they attended postsecondary education (i.e., four-year college, two-year college, vocational/technical school). Other variables related to demographics of the students (i.e., disability, gender, ethnicity) and school (i.e., geographical location, size, services nearby). In addition to using the original NLTS2 variables, some variable categories were recoded. For instance, the variable related to type of student’s special education class originally had four values (see Table 1 for a list variables used in this study and their description). Since the focus of this project was on life skills, we recoded this variable into two categories: receipt of life skills and receipt of other (i.e., academic, basic academic, or study skills). Similarly, the independent living variable consisted of fifteen categories. These fifteen categories were recoded into three categories: lived independently (i.e., on his/her own, with a roommate or spouse, college dormitory, and military housing), and lived dependently (i.e., with his/her parents, with another relative, a group home or assisted living center, and a correctional facility/youth detention center). Finally, the wage variable was recoded from a continuous variable representing the hourly pay students received at their most current or recent job to a dichotomous variable, above or below minimum wage (i.e., $5.15 at the time of data collection). Data Analysis Statistical procedures such as frequency distributions, cross tabulations and logistic regression were utilized to analyze secondary data from the NLTS2. Specifically, to answer the first research question regarding exposure to Functional Curriculum and Students with MID / 143
  23. 23. TABLE 1 Description of Variables used in Secondary Analysis Variables NLTS2 Variable ID Identification of students Disability Ethnicity ID Age npXCurAge Income npXk15Cat Gender Mental skills npXGendHdr npXG4_[a-d] Urbanicity wX_Urb3 Type of special education class nprXD9 Received life skills nprXA3h Instructional setting for life skills nprXA3h_(1-4) Independent living npXP1a_01_A6a_01-15‫ء‬ Postsecondary attendance npXS3a_S4a_S5a_D4a1_D4a2_D4a3 Currently employed Ever employed npXT7a_L7a_I2b npXT6a_L6a_I2a Above minimum wage Full time employment npXT8f1_T11f_L8f1_L11f_I3a‫ء‬ nprXD2a_09 npXEth_Recod npXT8c_T11c_L8c_L11c Description Randomized number assigned to each student Disability of student Ethnicity of each student (i.e., white; African American; Hispanic; Asian/ Pacific Islander; American Indian/ Alaska Native; multiple races/other) Student age at the time of data collection Family income categories (i.e., $25,000 or less; $25,001–$50,000; more than $50,000) Gender of each student (male, female) How well the student can tell time, read signs, count change and look up telephone numbers in a phonebook Geographical location of the student’s school (rural, suburban, or urban) Focus of the non vocational special education class (i.e., academic, life skills, basic academic skills, or study skills) Student received life skills, social skills instruction Instructional setting where student received life skills (general education, special education, individual instruction or community setting/different school) Independent living (i.e., living on own, with a roommate), dependent living (i.e., living with parents, in supportive environment), or other (i.e., homeless) Out-of-school student attended any type of postsecondary school (i.e., vocational, technical, two- year, or four-year college) Student has a paid job now If student worked for pay during the last 2 years Out-of-school student earns more than minimum wage($5.15) Out-of-school student has a full-time (Ն35 hours a week) or part-time job (Ͻ35 hours a week) Note: * Indicates a larger variable(s) was collapsed to created fewer categories and/or combine data. X indicates the Wave year (i.e., 1, 2). All in-school variables reflect variable name from wave 1 and all the postschool outcomes refer to variable names from wave 2. There may be slight changes in the variable ID’s from one wave to the next. 144 / Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities-June 2012
  24. 24. a functional curriculum during school, frequency distributions were conducted on both responses to the curriculum in students’ special education class as well as the reported receipt of life skills in school. For the second and third research questions regarding postschool outcomes, we ran frequency distributions on the postschool outcome variables of interest (e.g., employment, independent living, postsecondary education attendance, wages). The frequency distributions of these variables were conducted for students with mild intellectual disability who received a functional curriculum and students with mild intellectual disability who received a different curriculum (non-functional curriculum). To compare the postschool outcomes of these two groups, an F test was conducted. Note, this F-test was provided with the NLTS2 dataset. Wagner, Newman, Cameto, Levine, and Marder (2007), suggested the F test can be used to identify the existence of statistically significant differences between groups rather than just merely looking at the differences between observed and expected frequencies. Finally, to answer research question four regarding what factors predict more successful postschool outcomes for students with mild intellectual disability a logistic regression was utilized. Logistic regression is used in a regression model for analyzing dichotomous variables (Peng, Lee, & Ingersoll, 2002). Binary categories (0 ϭ no and 1 ϭ yes) were created for all the six outcomes of interest (i.e., independent living, ever attended a postsecondary education institution, currently employed, ever employed, received above minimum wage, or working full time), for both immediate and long-term outcomes. Included in each logistic model were the following independent variables: curriculum (functional vs. non-functional), mental skills (sum of parental reporting of four skills on a scale of 1– 4 with a range of 4 –16), gender (male vs. female), family/parental income (Ͻ$25,000, $25,000 –$50,000, Ͼ$50,000), ethnicity (Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Multi/Other), and school location (rural, urban, suburban). For each univariate logistical regression analysis, a Goodness of Fit test (i.e., G2 ϭ Ϫ2 [loglikehood(R) Ϫ loglikehood (F)], or in other words, the Ϫ2loglikehood of the re- duced model [i.e., without the variable of interest] minus the Ϫ2loglikehood of the full model) was conducted to determine if each particular variable should be included in the model. Note, the Goodness of Fit is compared to the ␹2 table with an alpha of .05 and appropriate degrees of freedom to determine whether or not to reject the null hypothesis (i.e., exclude the variable of interest). Thus, the full model with all six predictors was conducted for each of the six dependent variables for both immediate and long-term outcomes. Then, each predictor was removed individually to assess its significance to the model. Results Given the nature of survey and interview data, responses to questions were not available for every individual. Also, not all questions were answered with the same frequency as individual responses may not have been gathered because a particular question was not asked (i.e., skip logic was imposed) or because the respondent chose not to answer the question. Hence, data are reported out of the number who responded to the question rather than the number of the complete dataset (i.e., 60,664 for students with mild intellectual disability). Exposure to Functional Curriculum Functional curriculum was reported as the curricular focus of students’ non-vocational special education class for approximately onefifth of the students with mild intellectual disability (17.5%, SE 3.8). For the majority of the students with mild intellectual disability, academic skills was the main focus (60.1%, SE 5.4), followed by basic academic skills (19.2%, SE 4.0). Outside of a functional curriculum, almost 75% students with mild intellectual disability received life skills, including social skills, at school (74.3%, SE 4.1). The majority of those who indicated where they received life skills (N ϭ 45,086), reported it was in a special education setting (76.7%, SE 5.9), followed by a general education setting (13.1%, SE 4.7), community setting (6.5%, SE 3.4), and then multiple settings (2.2%, SE 1.0). Students who received a functional curriculum were not different from students who Functional Curriculum and Students with MID / 145
  25. 25. TABLE 2 Immediate Postschool Outcomes for Students with Mild Intellectual Disability by Curricula Received Functional Curriculum Non-Functional Curriculum Postschool Outcomes N % SE N % SE Independent living Postsecondary attendance Currently employed Ever employed Above minimum wage Full-time employment 8,879 9,112 6,257 6,772 4,669 — 8.7 12.6 64.0 71.5 56.9 — 5.4 7.2 12.9 10.5 17.4 — 41,545 39,612 34,324 37,430 16,832 18,690 13.8 27.1 45.0 62.3 85.1 38.7 4.5 5.4 7.6 6.7 7.2 9.5 Note: The percent is based on those in each category who responded to the question (i.e., some individuals did not have responses to every question). Ever employed refers to whether students were employed any time after they left high school. Currently employed refer to whether students were employed currently when they responded to the interview/survey. The wage variable was calculated based on current or most recent wages of participating youth, in case students were currently unemployed. Minimum wage was $5.15 at the time of data collection. Postsecondary attendance includes attendance at vocational school, two-year college, or four-year college. Please also note data with low unweighted count are not reported (i.e., represented by dashes in the table). received a non-functional curriculum in school in terms of parent assessed “mental skills.” The average mental skills of students with mild intellectual disability who received a functional curriculum were 10.6 (SE 0.6), while students who received a non-functional curriculum (i.e., academic skills, basic academic skills or study skills) averaged 11.8 (SE 0.3). These differences were not found to be statistically significantly different (p Ͼ .05). Among the students who received a non-functional curriculum, students who received a study skills curriculum averaged the highest mental skills (15.1, SE 0.6), followed by those who received an academic skills curriculum (12.0, SE 0.5) and a basic academic skills curriculum (10.9, SE 0.8). Postschool Outcomes Less than 10% of students with mild intellectual disability who received a functional curriculum lived independently after exiting school (8.7%, SE 5.4) (see Table 2 for the percent, standard error, and population size for each postschool outcome). For students who received a non-functional curriculum just over 10% reported living independently (13.8%, SE 4.5). While the majority of students with mild intellectual disability reported 146 / they experienced paid employment, (71.5%, SE 10.5 for those who received a functional curriculum and 62.3%, SE 6.7 for those who received a non-functional curriculum), a larger percentage of students who received a functional curriculum indicated they were currently employed (64.0%, SE 12.9 vs. 45.0%, SE 7.6). Regardless of in-school curricular focus, the majority of students with mild intellectual disability earned more than the minimum wage, which was $5.15 at the time of data collection. Specifically, 56.9% (SE 17.4) of those who received a functional curriculum and 85.1% (SE 7.2) of those who received a non-functional curriculum earned more than $5.15 per hour. In the final postschool outcome examined, 12.6% (SE 7.2) of students who received a functional curriculum attended any postsecondary educational institution (i.e., business/vocational/technical, twoyear, or four-year college) since leaving high school. This rate more than doubled for students who received a non-functional curriculum (27.1%, SE 5.4). In terms of differences in postschool outcomes between students with mild intellectual disability who received a functional curriculum and those who received a non-functional curriculum, no statistically significant differences existed for any outcome (p Ͼ .05). Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities-June 2012

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