Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Carleton Holt

Committee Member

James Christman

Second Committee Member

Ed Bengtson

Keywords

Education; Education; Independent living; Low incident disability; Severe disabilities; Special education; Transition

Abstract

Increasing the independence of individuals with severe disabilities is of increasing concern to schools and federal agencies. Improving quality of life for high needs individuals with disabilities is an objective of transition programs, which allow consumers to adapt from one aspect of life to the next. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between variables (a) vocational assessment and exploration; (b) workplace readiness training; (c) independent living skills; and (d) self-advocacy and self-care and the independence level of individuals with severe disabilities residing and receiving their education within an institutionalized setting. Finally, this study will examine the efficacy of the Functional Independent Skills Handbook curriculum and assessment in addressing the independent living skills needs of individuals with severe disabilities in-residence in a state institution. Participants include adolescents with severe disabilities receiving services from the Special Purpose School at the Parsons State Hospital.

The results obtained by this study may be of extreme use to educators, service providers, and policy makers in Kansas, as well as other states utilizing a similar institutionalization model for severely disabled individuals. The study yielded statistically significant results that a focused, leveled curriculum emphasizing (a) vocational assessment and exploration; (b) workplace readiness training; (c) independent living skills; and (d) self-advocacy and self-care can increase the independence level of individuals with severe disabilities.