Career Education Research for Students with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Gayathri | Wednesday, October 12, 2016 9:17 AM IST

Career Education Research for Students with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

 Dr. Amy Spriggs of the University of Kentucky, a leading authority on Special Education and evidence-based teaching methodologies, just concluded a beta test research project using Project Discovery, a hands-on career education curriculum with systematic instruction and video modeling. The career education and life skills curriculum was developed by Education Associates, Inc.

A team of K-12 educators conducted the research working with students, ages 11-21, with autism and developmental disabilities, across U.S. schools in Kentucky, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The research results validated significant increases, over 55% gains, in all student participants' career knowledge in two career education courses:

Child Care (61.7% average student skills increase)

Table Service (55.3% average student skills increase)

Each beta site also demonstrated growth in job skill performance across all activities in the courses.

Dr. Spriggs notes, 'This type of systematic instruction with video modeling offers a beacon of hope for students with special needs and the educators and parents who struggle to find educational solutions that will equip students with marketable job skills on their learning level. Videos that model behavior, like those in Project Discovery, are particularly effective to elicit nearerrorless learning. These types of evidence based interventions are critical for students to achieve successful transitions fromschool to work and to independent living if possible.'

A 2015 Economic News Release by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, estimates that only 17.5% of persons with disabilities in the United States are employed today. According to Dr. Spriggs, 'Students with disabilities are eight times less likely to gain employment, and participation in vocational training or job-related activities in school can lead to better post-school outcomes. Spriggs also adds, 'Video modeling embedded into career education curriculum provides a newtransition pathway for K-12 schools and vocational education programs.'

Tim Hagan, President of Education Associates, praises the breakthrough research to highlight the effective techniques of video modeling for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. Hagan says, 'Much has changed over the last 35 yearsof developing our job and life skills courses, but one thing remains constant -- we must educate more students, even those with severe learning disabilities, with job skills. Our company is proud of the work we do to educate all students and to remain on theforefront of reliable and evidence-based research. We want teachers to have complete confidence that they are receiving the most current applications of sound research in our programs. The result is that more students will find good paying jobs and enjoy a brighter future.'