The Bridge School
Self-Determination Program

How We Started

There are many great resources that address the needs and special considerations of students with complex communication needs. We started by drawing from these excellent resources:

  • Framing A Future (FAF): A Self-Directed Tool Supporting Life Planning: A tool developed to help guide the individual, her/his family and team in looking at the young adult's priorities in life and assist with the development of appropriate plans for transition.
  • The Social Networks Inventory: An assessment and intervention planning tool designed to help individuals, their families and professionals determine the most appropriate technologies and communication strategies for people with complex communication needs.
  • We also considered several published self-determination curricula. We chose to use the Steps to Self-Determination a Curriculum to Help Adolescents Learn to Achieve Their Goals by Sharon Field and Alan Hoffman, 2005. Steps to Self-Determination:
    1. Is a solid, research-based curriculum with some ideas for adaptations already built in.
    2. Has many 60-minute lessons that align well with the skill areas within our specialized curriculum for building self-determination skills for middle school students at The Bridge School.

In addition, we referenced The AAC Mentor Project at Penn State University. This project connected adolescents who use AAC with adult mentors who also use AAC via the Internet. The website outlines 10 steps to establishing a mentorship project. We used this as a guide as we set up our own mentorship program.

We found other very useful materials, including online resources, which supplemented our lessons. (See Resources section.)