Supporting the Transition of Students with Emotional/ Behavioral Disorders to Adulthood Using Service-Learning Programs A Presentation for the Sacramento County Office of Education February 4, 2010 Howard S. Muscott, Ed.D., Director, www.nhcebis.seresc.net 603-206-6891; firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating a Curriculum for Caring Agenda • The dream and the nightmare • Effective transition strategies • What is service-learning? • What are the best practice principles? • Why use it with students with ED? • What types of projects are possible? • What are the challenges to involving students with challenging behavior? • How do I get started? • Next Steps
The Dream for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders What is the dream for students with EBD and how different is it for them than typical peers or those with other types of disabilities?
The Dream for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders Students with EBD and their families have dreams for a smooth transition to adulthood that results in a high quality of life including independent living, the opportunity for higher education, paid and satisfying work, varied and interesting recreational activities and positive and fulfilling relationships with peers and significant others
Is this any different for you? Check all that apply • Independent Living? • The opportunity for higher education? • Well paid work? • Satisfying work? • Interesting recreational activities? • Fulfilling relationships with peers? • Fulfilling relationships with a significant other?
The Dream In IDEA 2004 Ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.
The Nightmare: Educational Outcomes • Youth with EBD are the most likely youth with disabilities to be out of secondary school, with 44% of those leaving school without finishing, the highest dropout rate of any disability category. • School completers with EBD are among the least likely to have graduated with a regular diploma. • Only about one in five have been enrolled in any kind of postsecondary education, indicating that few youth in this category are getting the education that might help them find and hold better and more stable jobs.
The Nightmare: Housing Outcomes • Thirty-five percent of youth with EBD no longer live with parents, the largest of any category of youth with disabilities. • They are the only disability group to show a significant increase in the likelihood of living in “other” arrangements, including in criminal justice or mental health facilities, under legal guardianship, in foster care, or on the street. • Youth with EBD have experienced the largest increase in their rate of parenting; 11% report having had or fathered a child, a 10% increase from previous report.
The Nightmare: Community Engagement Outcomes • One-third of youth with EBD have not found a way to become engaged in their community. • For those who have, employment is the usual mode of engagement. • Although more than 6 in 10 have been employed at some time, only about half as many are working currently, attesting to the difficulty many have in keeping a job.
The Nightmare: Community Engagement Outcomes • Youth with EBD are by far the most likely to be rated by parents as having low social skills. • They are among the least likely to take part in prosocial organized community groups or volunteer activities or to be registered to vote. • More than three-fourths have been stopped by police other than for a traffic violation. • 58% have been arrested at least once and 43% have been on probation or parole.
The Nightmare: Problems at School and in the Community • Almost 9 in 10 youth with ED had either been in disciplinary trouble at school, fired from a job, or arrested. by the time they had been out of secondary school up to 2 years. • This is the highest rate of any disability category.
Understanding the Gap Between the Dream and the Nightmare What causes the nightmares? Why do students with EBD have so much trouble obtaining the dream?
What Causes the Nightmare?Lane and Carter (2006) • Students with EBD have deficits in social skill which lead to maladaptive relationships with adults and peers • Limited prosocial interactions • Misinterpretations of neutral social cues as hostile • Behavior patterns that impede teachers’ abilities to conduct instruction effectively
What Causes the Nightmare?Lane and Carter (2006) 2. Students with EBD have academic deficits and performance levels that are substantially lower than typical peers and those of peers without disabilities
Academic Characteristics of Students with EBD • In comparison to typical students, exhibit moderate to severe, broad academic deficits (reading, math, science, social studies) • In comparison to students with LD an MR, exhibit greater academic deficits • These deficits appear to be stable or even worsen over time which is not true of students with LD
What Causes the Nightmare?Lane and Carter (2006) 3. Students with EBD have deficits in critical vocational, and self-determination skills that are essential to obtaining and maintaining employment
Bridging the Gap and Accessing the Dream Requires that Students with EBD • Get the educational supports and services they need to succeed • Get evidenced-based instruction and programming • Build relationships with educators they value who can keep them from becoming alienated from the educational experience • Stay engaged in “school”
Bridging the Gap and Accessing the Dream Requires that Students with EBD Get Lane and Carter (2006) 1. Increased access to empirically validated academic interventions for students with EBD at the high school level; 2. Increased access to meaningful vocational, career exploration, and other meaningful curricular opportunities; 3. Sufficient coordinated supports to successfully transition adolescents to adult life; and 4. Increased support for family participation in transition planning.
1. Empirically Validated Academic Interventions at the Secondary Level “Poor academic performance pushes students to drop out of school, hinders access to postsecondary education opportunities, and restricts later employment and career opportunities. Equipping students with basic academic skills should be an essential component of secondary educational services for many youth with EBD, enabling them to obtain a high school diploma, move beyond entry-level jobs, and pursue a college degree.”
Research on Academic Interventions Lane (2004) • Extremely limited number of studies • Studies have produced promising results, as evidenced by improved early literacy skills, computational skills, and spelling. • Some evidence exists to suggest improved academic competence is associated with improved social and behavioral outcomes • However, research is characterized by key limitations (unclear populations, breadth of students, content scope, and replication, limited design features, reporting features).
2. Increased Access to Meaningful Vocational Training and Career Exploration • Broaden the curricular and non-curricular options available and provide a more functional curriculum • Emphasize vocational education and job-training experiences including paid work experiences and internships • Provide instruction in transition and self-determination skills • Provide service learning opportunities and mentoring programs.
3. Sufficient Support AcrossPostsecondary Transitions • When moving from a public education system based on entitlement to an adult service system based on eligibility • Youth with EBD access few, if any, formal services and supports • They typically have limited awareness of available community services, and • Are reluctance to self-identify as having a disability due to the stigma
4. Enhanced Partnerships with andSupports for Families • Ensuring that families are connected with the information, resources, and training they need to be equipped as advocates for their children; • Understanding and harnessing the formal and informal supports available to and valued by families, especially those from culturally and economically diverse backgrounds; and • Providing direct support to families using approaches that are responsive to their individual and often changing needs.
Student and Family Transition-Related Social Skills Personal Futures/ Person-Centered Planning Effective Transition Strategies for Students with EBD Transition and Behavior Plan in IEP Mentoring Service Coordination through Wraparound Innovative Curriculum Innovative Vocational Placements Community Agencies and Businesses School Muscott (2007)
Student and Family Effective Transition Strategies for Students with EBD Innovative Curriculum Innovative Vocational Placements Community Agencies and Businesses School Muscott (2007)
Innovative Vocational PlacementsBullis and Cheney (1999) • There is a delicate balance between providing an individual with EBD a desired job placement and, at the same time, monitoring and supporting that placement • Goals include • Ensuring the safety of others • Affording the individual the learning experience and dignity of working in as unstructured and natural arrangement as possible • Providing appropriate and unobtrusive support and assistance to the employer or work supervisor.
Innovative Vocational PlacementsBullis and Cheney (1999) • Internships • Apprenticeships • Paid experiences • Connected to classroom instruction and associated with high school credit
Reasons for Accepting Young Adults with EBD in Job PlacementsBullis and Cheney (1999) • They want to offer assistance to someone in need, providing a service to the community (Empathy) • They are impressed with the staff person who made the job development contact, or (Respect, Trust and Relationship) • They had positive experience with other such programs in the past (Success)
Innovative Curricular Options • Flexible policies and approaches for earning course credit for degree completion (regular diploma, GED, adult education degrees) • In high school, technical college • In the community (Service Learning) • On the job
“I was taught that the world had a lot of problems; that I could struggle and change them; that intellectual and material gifts brought the privilege and responsibility of sharing with others less fortunate; and that service is the rent each of us pays for living -- the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time or after you have reached your personal goals.” Marian Wright Edelman
Service LearningMuscott(2006) • Service-learning can be defined as a method of instruction by which students participate in service programs that meet both community needs and the learning needs of the students themselves.
Characteristics of Service LearningZlotkowski (1993) • Direct experiences working with communities in need and/or organizations that promote the public good, • Reflection on the experience, and • Planned reciprocity of learning and benefits.
Service-LearningNational Service Act (1993) Is a method under which students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully designed service experiences that meet actual community needs and that are coordinated in collaboration with the school and community; That is integrated into the students' academic curriculum and provides structured time for a student to think, talk, or write about what the student did and saw during the actual service activity;
Service-LearningNational Service Act (1993) That provides students with opportunities to use newly acquired skills and knowledge in real-life situations in their own communities. That enhances what is taught in school by extending student learning beyond the classroom and into the community and helps to foster the development of a sense of caring for others.
Service Learning and Vocational Education “Service-Learning is a way of combining the methods of experiential education with the needs of society. It is serving and learning, and it is a way of creating the world. Young people need real employment and real service opportunities -- and communities need genuine work and service accomplished.” (J.C. Kielsmeier, 1986)
Characteristics of Best Practice S-L ProjectsAlliance for Service Learning in Education Reform (1995) 1. Meet actual community needs; 2. Are coordinated in collaboration with school and community; 3. Are integrated into each student’s academic curriculum; 4. Provide structured time for the student to reflect on the service-learning experience through thinking, talking, or writing about it.
Principles of Good Practice for Combining Service and Learning Porter Honnet & Poulsen (1990) An effective service-learning program: (1) engages people in responsible and challenging actions for the common good; (2) provides structured opportunities for people to reflect critically on their service experience; (3) articulates clear service and learning goals for everyone involved; (4) allows for those with needs to define those needs; (5) clarifies the responsibilities of each person and organization involved;
Principles of Good Practice for Combining Service and Learning (6) matches service providers and service needs through a process that recognizes changing circumstances; (7) expects genuine, active, and sustained organizational commitment; (8) includes training, supervision, monitoring, support, recognition, and evaluation to meet service and learning goals; (9) insures that the time commitment for service and learning is flexible, appropriate, and in the best interest of all involved; and (10) is committed to program participation by and with diverse populations.
“Our answer is the world’s hope: it is to rely on youth. . . . This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, or the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.” Robert F. Kennedy
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) • SL has already been integrated successfully as an evidence-based practice in general education. • 32% of all public schools and nearly ½ of all high schools organized SL as part of the academic curriculum, with 53% reporting mandatory participation. (Skinner & Chapman, 1999) • There is abundant evidence that SL is an effective practice for improving the cognitive and academic achievement, social and personal responsibility, and social development of K-12 students (Cohen, Kulik, & Kulik, 1982; Conrad, 1991; Conrad & Hedin, 1989; Giles & Eyler, 1994; Root, 1997).
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) • Service-Learning is designed to create a partnership among participants in which all parties take ownership for the process and outcomes. • Instead of viewing themselves as service providers helping the needy, students involved in SL programs are taught to view themselves as learning partners and active participants, learning themselves as they assist others to learn.
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) • This change in focus to student ownership and empowerment may help to overcome an emphasis on a "curriculum of control" focused on obedience and compliance (Knitzer et al., 1990) to that of a "reclaiming environment.”
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) • A Reclaiming Environment promotes attachment, achievement, autonomy, and altruism in children and youth whose life histories have been characterized by destructive relationships, climates of futility, learned irresponsibility, and the loss of purpose (Brendtro et al., 1990).
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) Restoring value and competence to alienated and discouraged children will require an educational environment that includes Service-Learning activities designed to promote caring as an antidote to narcissism and irresponsibility.
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) • SL addresses teachers’ frequently voiced concern that students with ED are not motivated to learn or complete schoolwork, particularly in areas in which their interest level is low or they are performing below grade level.
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) • Service-learning combines analysis, application, and evaluation in an effort to integrate active service with academic reflection. • It is designed to be experiential learning which tests students' higher order thinking skills while deepening their understanding of the subject matter, their community, and selves.
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) These qualities are particularly attractive to students with ED who frequently resist traditional learning approaches, thrive on active, experiential and analytical “brain-friendly” learning experiences and require active reflection to make sense of those experiences (Brendtro et al., 1990).
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) • SL is a strength-based intervention. • Students with ED are frequently the recipients of other people’s generosity (Ioele & Dolan, 1993) • View themselves as “damaged goods” (O’Flanagan, 1997), and • Rarely have structured opportunities to change either their own or other people’s negative perceptions of them.
Rationale for Service-Learning and Students with Emotional DisturbanceMuscott (2006) • Despite their limitations, students with ED also have strengths and gifts to share with others. • Service-Learning offers an opportunity for these students to share those gifts while simultaneously helping them practice social, communication, academic, and vocational skills in applied settings.