Universal Design for Learning through Technology
St. Lucie and Collier County Schools are including students with significant disabilities in general education science classes. Both school districts have chosen science to implement their grants and include students with cognitive disabilities in general education science classes. Both school districts have moved some students with significant cognitive disabilities at the elementary and secondary levels into general education science classes and are using cutting edge technology to meaningfully include them in those science lessons. They are using things like electronic science probes, electronic microscopes, iPods, iPads and smart boards to have all children use the same technology to access the curriculum.
ELC – Program –wide Early Care and Inclusion
From 2007 through the present, FDDC has been working with Early Learning Coalitions in Pinellas County and around the state to increase the use of positive behavioral supports in early care settings. Many children who have developmental delays have challenging behaviors that go along with their frustration. Often these children are kicked out of early learning centers because the private centers need to protect all of the children at their centers and don’t know how to help these children succeed. Positive Behavioral Supports changes the environment, staff and culture to set the environment up to be successful for children with challenging behavior. In the first four years the Council’s work assisted Pinellas Early Learning Coalition to train over thirteen early education centers to use PBS to include these children. It the fifth year, Dr. Lise Fox from the University of South Florida and her colleagues coached and trained five model sites throughout Florida to use program wide PBS to ensure all of the adults who come in contact with all of the children at each center are using positive supports to create a successful learning environment. The five model sites are:
- Just Kids Learning Center, Orange Park, Florida
- Winter Park Day Nursery, Winter Park, Florida
- Discovery Point 68, Land O’ Lakes, Florida
- Magic Moments, Clermont, Florida
- Pro Child Learning Center, Lake Worth, Florida
The Council has also supported the project to work closely with the Florida Office of Early Learning to convert the Pyramid Model Trainings into Outcome Driven Training Format and has held a train-the-trainer webinar to ensure The Office of Early Learning trainers are equipped to sustain the training and work that will support any early care site who wants to implement positive behavioral supports at their center.
Disability Awareness Literacy Guide & Books
The Council has created a Disability Awareness Language Arts and Literacy Guide for Prekindergarten through fifth Grade. The guide includes resources for teachers and families to teach about disability awareness to all children. The guide also includes a recommendation of thirty books that are of high quality and high interest. The guide includes lesson plans based on Common Core Standards and has additional resources for families. The Council has also provided the 30 book set to 186 schools throughout Florida and 100 eight book sets to preschools throughout Florida. The guide is available in English and Spanish on the Council’s website.
Alternative Residential Options Guide
The Council has partnered with the Florida Housing Coalition to develop a resource guide that will educate individuals and families on all of Florida’s available residential options for people with developmental disabilities. When completed, the Council will have a Florida specific housing resource guide that can be used by individuals and families to evaluate their individual housing needs to determine the most appropriate residential option for their specific situation. It is anticipated that the guide will be published in April 2013.
Florida Inclusive Housing Corporation
The Council has developed a partnership with Soukup Strategic Solutions to develop a Housing Stakeholders’ Task Force whose work will lead to the development of a non-profit housing corporation designed to address the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities living in Florida. The Housing Stakeholders’ Task Force will develop a mission statement and recruit a Board of Directors for the new non-profit organization. A long term goal of this project is the development and operation of a non-profit housing organization that will provide housing information, referral services, and advocacy to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. In addition, the staff of this non-profit will have the ability to advocate on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
Easing Your Stress - Information for Caregivers of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
The Council’s newest publication is an informative, user-friendly, evidence based booklet written for caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities. In its 20 pages, caregivers learn:
- How the mind-body connect affects their response to stress
- How stress affects children,
- How other caregivers have learned to ease their stress,
- What resources are available, and
- How to identify approaches that will work for them. English and Spanish versions of the publication are now available and will be disseminated through statewide caregiver networks.