The Bridge School

Self-Determination Program

Case Study


In the following clips you will see Becky, a Bridge School graduate, as she goes through the process of completing the FAF survey and shares the results with her family. Becky is a young adult with cerebral palsy. She is nonverbal and uses her vocalizations, gestures, and a voice output communication device to interact with others. Recently, Becky completed her post high school program and is now in the process of developing a program, with the help of her family, that best meets her needs and interests. Her parents, taking into consideration Becky’s preferences and priorities, opted to develop a program with the support of an assistant, that incorporates the activities & events that are important and meaningful to Becky. Prior to attending schools in her home school district, Becky was a student at The Bridge School for several years. After graduating from The Bridge School, Becky maintained close contact with the Transition Team. Her family and other educational members of her team(s) and have kept apprised of her current goals, progress and continually developing plans regarding her future. By completing the FAF survey, Becky was able to discover and reaffirm the things in her life that are important to her and share the things she would like to continue doing as well as identify other aspects in her life she would like to change.

Step 1. Establish sufficient context and background knowledge of the tool and of the student.

Important background information regarding areas of Becky’s life pertinent to this survey is reviewed with her prior to beginning the FAF process.

Step 2. Ensure full access in terms of concepts and response formats.

Becky completes the full version of the FAF survey with a familiar partner using Partner Assisted Scanning (Live Voice) to indicate her response to a given statement. This is a strategy that she utilizes daily and with many communication partners very effectively. The administrator and Becky discuss the plan for completing the survey, ensuring that the following critical elements are taken into consideration:

The survey is completed in two separate sessions –

The first session involves:

  • identifying and discussing unfamiliar terms/concepts
  • using the FAF Background Survey [53KB, PDF] to draw on her experiences and personal knowledge while reviewing the seven life categories (e.g. Community Membership)
  • listening to each statement read aloud and indicating whether she understands or needs more information/clarification – then responding to the choice options (Very, Somewhat, Not Important), using her vocalizations and/or head nods
  • completing one category at a time (e.g. Community Membership) first indicating level of importance then level of satisfaction

The second session involves:

  • reviewing her summary and then prioritizing goals
  • preparing her final summary as a Power Point presentation to present to her team

Step 3. Application of tool.

Taking the Survey: Importance

As Becky goes through the survey items, the three response options (Very, Somewhat or Not) are read aloud to her and she uses her voice to indicate her choice.

Taking the Survey: Satisfaction

In this clip Becky answers how satisfied she is with a particular item that she indicated was important to her.

Taking the Survey: Setting Priorities

Once Becky finished the survey, the Setting Priorities worksheet was used to identify the items she indicated as important to her as well as those with which she indicated she is and/or is not satisfied. In this instance, Becky and her team opted to use a visual/auditory presentation format to share results with her family and the team. This provided for a powerful, more dynamic and interactive process.

Presenting to the Team

After reviewing her information and preparing how to share it with her family and others, Becky had the necessary supports and tools in place to lead this important meeting. The presentation was designed to have text appear and be read aloud, on any given page, with the click of a mouse or in this case a single switch. By providing Becky with the tools and access method she is familiar with and the necessary instruction to advance to the next slide she was ready to assume control of her meeting.

Step 4. Incorporating the results into the formal future planning process.

Becky now sets the stage for the next part of the meeting – Team Planning and Discussion. She informs the team that she would like for them to help her begin the planning process by first looking at the things that are getting in the way of achieving her goals and second by identifying opportunities to work towards her goals. Again, she directs and sets the pace of the discussion by selecting the first priority to talk about. As the discussion occurs another team member takes notes using the Team Discussion and Planning Guide Form. For each one of Becky’s priorities, the discussion centers around the things that get in the way of her not being able to achieve a particular goal and what changes can be implemented to address it. The team also discusses the possible opportunities and resources that could be utilized to help her achieve a particular goal.

After discussion and planning it is important to check in with young adults to confirm that this important area of their life has been addressed to their satisfaction and to see if there may be any other suggestions/resources that could be included in the plan.