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The Speak-Up Project: Developing an Innovative Model for Teaching Self-Advocacy Tools to Transition-Age Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Speak-Up! Project (SUP) will develop a self-advocacy curriculum that meets the learning needs of high school students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The SUP approach will be derived from research that has validated methods of instruction and curriculum that are effective for adolescents with ASD and related learning difficulties. With the SUP curriculum, students can learn and apply self-advocacy tools to experience a successful, self-determined transition from school to community.
The proposed self-advocacy curriculum contains evidence-based methods in an innovative, participatory instructional format, incorporating best practice methods for the instruction of students with autism. The SUP curriculum will be developed from Youths 4 Advocacy Speak Up! an existing curriculum, and will address four components of self-advocacy that are identified in the best-practice literature: self-awareness, communicating effectively, problem-solving steps, and rights and responsibilities.
A stakeholder group has been recruited that comprises the full range of relevant participants including young emerging leaders with autism and/or other developmental disabilities, transition coordinators, school administrators, family members, and experts in the field of autism, self-advocacy, transition, and education.
During Years One and Two, activities and written curricula will be sampled with high school students in resource classrooms in four school districts across North Carolina. Year Three will involve a pilot study of the full curriculum draft in one classroom. After the SUP team makes final revisions, the resulting SUP curriculum will be ready for an efficacy study.

For more information, please contact: Deb Zuver, M.A., LMFT, RDT/BCT

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