Adult Outcomes as the Focus of Educational Programs
Developing the Course of Study
Beginning no later than age 14, the student and the IEP team should engage in meaningful conversations about how the student's high school experiences will prepare him for life following graduation from high school. IEP teams should engage in ongoing discussions that identify the skills, knowledge, and experiences required for the student to be ready for the next environment (i.e., employment, education/training and independent living). These requirements or needs are then used to develop a course of study for the specific student.
The following are guiding questions to be used when discussing the course of study for a student. These general questions are designed to stimulate discussion that can assist the team in developing an individualized and appropriate course of study.
DIPLOMA. How will the student meet the academic requirements to receive a diploma from the school district? Does the course of study reflect involvement in these required courses?
UNIQUE LEARNING NEEDS. Does the student require skill development in basic skills such as literacy and math at a pace, level, or instruction style that is unique? Are the classes reflected in the suggested course of study able to accommodate these unique needs? If not, what services and supports will be necessary to allow the student to participate and learn in the required/desired classes?
POST-SCHOOL EDUCATION/TRAINING. Is the student college bound or planning to enter an educational program following high school? If so, what are the academic requirements of the program and how will the student meet those requirements during the high school years.
EMPLOYMENT. What type of employment is the student planning to pursue as an adult? Does the desired employment require specific prerequisite skills or knowledge? Does the course of study support the acquisition of these necessary skills and knowledge?
SOCIAL COMPETENCY. What level of social competency and social skills are required for the student to successfully engage in the desired post-high school education, employment, and community living environments? Does the student demonstrate this level of skill and ability? If not, how will these skills be developed during the high school years, and does the course of study reflect instruction in this area?
COMMUNICATION SKILLS. What types of communication skills and talents are required for the student's desired postsecondary employment, education, or community living as an adult? Does the student possess these skills or is additional instruction and skill development needed? If the student does not currently possess those skills, how will those skills be obtained and how does this impact the needed course of study?
AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCES. Does the student require authentic experiences in locations or situations that mirror the post-school employment, education, and community living environments? If so, how will these be provided and where is this reflected in the course of study?
SELF-DETERMINATION. Is the student aware of his/her disability and what this means in terms of strengths and needs? Is he/she able to self-advocate and explain what supports are needed and how he/she learns and works most efficiently? If competency in this area is lacking, how will the course of study support the development of self-determination?
LIFE SKILLS. In order to achieve the desired adult goals, will the student require instruction to identify and develop the necessary skills in areas of daily living, self-monitoring, problem-solving, safety, organization, and other life skills areas? Is the needed instruction reflected in the course of study?