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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Amy L. Schelling
Doctor of Education
Department: Special Education and Literacy Studies
Title: Evaluating the Use of a Self-Advocacy Strategy as a Means of Improving Progress in the General Curriculum for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities
Dr. Shaila Rao, Chair
Dr. George Haus
Dr. Sarah Summy
Dr. Paula Lancaster
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
3506 Sangren Hall
Since the late 1980’s, self-determination has increasingly been referred to as an important area of skill and knowledge development for persons with disabilities (Bremer, Kachgai, & Schoeller, 2003; Algozzine, Browder, Karvonen, Test, & Wood, 2001; Wehmeyer, & Schalock, 2001). Developing self-determination skills in individuals with disabilities is a worthy educational endeavor and necessary for individuals with disabilities to fully benefit from their educational experience and attain their post-school goals. According to Wehmeyer and Schwartz (1997), one of the component skills of self-determination is self-advocacy. “Self-advocacy skills are those skills an individual uses to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate, or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights” (Van Reusen, Bos, Schumaker, & Deshler, 2002, p.1). Specifically, self-advocacy skills are needed in order for students to fully participate in their education and ensure that their educational and post secondary goals are met. As a result of NCLB and IDEA 2004 policies related to accountability through assessment and progress in the general education curriculum, educational programming for students with mild cognitive impairments has changed. Students with mild cognitive impairments are spending a greater amount of time in the general education setting, are expected to progress in the general education curriculum, and a greater amount of instructional time is being devoted to academic instruction. The current educational focus allows little time for teachers to incorporate instruction related to functional and adaptive behavior skills including self-advocacy skills, although these skills are needed for successful participation in the general education setting and attainment of post school outcomes. The purpose of this study is to evaluate if the use of a self-advocacy strategy, with secondary students identified as having a mild cognitive impairment (also referred to as cognitive disability or intellectual disability), will increase students use of self-advocacy skills across multiple school settings.