This week’s session in the UDL course focused on UDL in transition planning. This really hit home for me as I have been supporting my teenage daughter with significant disabilities through postsecondary transition planning since she was in 5th grade. The foundation of the Individualized Education Program, Individualized Services Plan, and Individualized Employment Plans developed for Brooke by the schools, community-services board, and rehabilitation services is a person-centered approach: capturing her unique interests, capabilities, and support needs so she is successful in meeting her post high goals.
Traditionally, a transition assessment would rely on time limited paper-based forms, interviews, and community-based instruction/exploration. Given Brooke’s disabilities, she is unable to answer verbally or in writing and will disengage quickly from a process in which she cannot actively participate. The majority of her communication is done through body movement. With the support of federal language in the reauthorization of IDEA, through a UDL enhanced approach, a portfolio was developed instead of Brooke’s interests that included results from trying a variety of hands on work/situational assessments, pictures, and digital formats to find those career areas in which she was engaged. This concept is reinforced by experts in the field of UDL, including Smith (2003) who wrote that “the requirements of vocational evaluation – to use multiple sources and multiple methods to gain multiple outcomes that will assist participants – naturally align with UDL philosophy, tenets, and principles.”
In looking further at Brooke’s transition experience, through assessment examples using the UDL lens, the transition coordinator:
Principle 1: provide multiple means of representation
- Connected Brooke with volunteer opportunities at a dog rescue and kennel to explore hands on what it means to be in a career working with animals, and ysed a guitar, youtube videos, and iPad apps for pianos, to explore her interest in music
- Explored www.alife4me.org for community career ideas
Principle 2: provide multiple means of action and expression
- Used several apps on an iPad (i.e., ProLoQuo, Tap to Talk) allowing Brooke opportunities to express, beyond her behavior, choices in items presented.
- Presented career interest inventories on the computer or through apps (i.e., Career Assessment, Career Test)
Principle 3: provide multiple means of engagement
- Created a powerpoint with photos from exploration done with Brooke at a number of community settings involving work with animals (dog rescue, SPCA, pet store) to show the IEP team her interests and to document how she worked towards career related IEP goals
Smith, F. G. (2003). Universal design for learning and vocational evaluation: Recognizing the parallels. The National Issues Forum Papers: 2003 Proceedings. Retrieved from http://vecap.org/index.php?/site/publications_categories/C112/