KU Center for Research on Learning

KU Center for Research on Learning

Helping "job seekers" with learning difficulties plan and prepare for employment

Soaring to New Heights

Course Goals & Outcomes

Based upon the critical elements of self-efficacy, self-determination and practical experience - the goal of the Soaring to New Heights project was to help each student see themselves as competent learners capable of functioning successfully in school and work. Using a universally designed curriculum with materials designed to reach a wide range of individuals with disabilities, students [juniors in high school] advanced their capacity for self-advocacy and effective communication through skill building and practice. As and integral part of the class, counseling staffs from Kansas Rehabilitation Services [KRS] participated actively and routinely in this process and support students in their efforts to get real-world employment experiences [paid, competitive employment whenever possible].

As a result, Soaring provided systematic ways in which the transition process is 1] more heavily influenced by the student, and 2] concretely engages disability services personnel from other agencies in transition planning and actions. [Both of these themes are strongly recommended in the most recent report from the National Center on Learning Disabilities, The State of Learning Disability, 2011].

As each student transitioned from high school to employment or more education, they:

Learned the answers to:

• What SELF-determination means to them

• Where they want to go in THEIR life and what steps they can take to get there

• How to present themselves to others and build a team to support them in reaching their goals

• How to get and keep on track toward their goals

Developed and practiced skills critical to:

• Discovering their interests and strengths

• Finding the career that is right for them

• Understanding their disability rights and responsibilities

• Creating a professional resume

• Communicating effectively with employers and others

• Budgeting their money

• Managing their time

• Interviewing for jobs