Saturday, May 21, 2011

Beyond Access Model

Book Information: The Beyond Access Model: Promoting Membership, Participation and Learning for Students with Disabilities in the General Education Classroom  by Cherly M. Jorgensen, Michael McSheehan, and Rae M. Sonnernmeier

We are moving ahead!  My older students are moving to a self contained setting at the high school this fall (as a first step because it's important to just get them to the highschool at this point) and my younger students will be placed in classrooms at the school we are currently at (for as much time as the students can handle).  My job will shift to facilitating programs rather than teaching in a classroom.  I'm both excited and nervous (will write more details soon).  For now I just wanted to post about a great resource that I've found that matches pretty closely with what I was envisioning in regards to supporting/facilitating inclusion.  I have been facilitating inclusion with two of my students already this year.  One of the lessons that I've learned is that there is a need for a bit more of a formal process around supporting inclusion.  I'm thinking this book will serve as a resource in establishing how we are going to do this.

Love this quote from the back of the book...

"Shared vision and ownership is more an outcome of a quality process than it is a precondition. The BA Mdoel is, at its heart, a model of professional development that leads to behaviour change.  Its four iterative phases reflect an understanding of adult learning therory and the process of change where there are no a priori conditions to be met, other than agreement to use the Model with fidelity.  We expect the team members will not share a common vision and ownership until they have learned and practiced the Model over time, and this insight may reassure them when they become anxious about the slow pace of change."  (page 222)
From the back of the book...
How can educators create inclusive classrooms where students with intellectual and developmental disabilities not only participate and communicate, but also learn academic content? The groundbreaking model in this book is the answer. Practical, forward-thinking, and person-centered, The Beyond Access Model shows education professionals what meaningful inclusive education looks like and gives them the critical guidance they need to make it happen.

A researched approach developed by three inclusive education experts from the University of New Hampshire's respected Institute on Disability, the Beyond Access Model works because it
  • presumes competence and encourages high expectations, so all students reach their full potential
  • is consistent with the problem-solving framework of the popular and effective Response to Intervention model
  • goes beyond functional skills to help students learn general education curriculum content
  • fosters successful collaborative teaming, so the educational team engages in honest and respectful communication, makes sound decisions, and works on adjustments if needed
  • is flexible and adaptable, not a rigid "cookbook" approach to inclusive education planning
  • helps teachers support students' communication through effective use of augmentative communication strategies
  • facilitates strong family–school partnerships, so education professionals and parents learn from each other's expert knowledge
This accessible book guides educators and administrators through every phase of the Beyond Access Model, from assessing current student supports to reviewing and sustaining the benefits of new inclusive education strategies. Vignettes and examples—including a detailed, real-life "before and after" case study—vividly illustrate how the model improves students' educational experience and outcomes.

And more than a dozen adaptable checklists, forms, and templates give educators the structure they need as they begin planning and implementing inclusion strategies. An innovative model that can transform schools and lives, Beyond Access will ensure that students with disabilities enjoy the benefits of full membership, participation, and learning within truly inclusive classroom communities.
A few quotes from the book that I think gives a good picture about what this book/model is about...
"The Beyond Access Model for Promoting the Learning of General Education Curriculum Content for Students with the Most Signficant Disabilities was designed to close the gap between promising research findings and currrent practices to achieve the following vision: When students with IDD are provided with appropriate instruction and supports, they can learn grade-level academic skills and communicate in ways that are commensurate with their same-aged peers without disabilities." (page 24)  

"The four phases of the BA Model help to increase implementation of a number of values- and evidence-based practices, including high expections for student learning, with a focus on practices for quality inclusive education, quality AAC supports, collaborative teaming and mentoring." (page 28)

"Thus, we are not asking people to change their beliefs before using the BA Model; we are asking people to adopt behaviours that have been shown to promote the highest level of learning by students.  These behaviours - 1) providing students with appropriate supports and a means to communicate about age-appropriate social and academic topics until they are communicating in a way that is commensurate with same-age peers, 2) supporting students to be fully participating members of general education instruction with the general education classroom and 3) considering the quality of instruction and supoprts when evaluating students performance - are described more fully in the next chapter." (page 51)

"Many educators begin their planning for instruction by asking questions about how to modify the curriculum content and materials based on unwarrented lack of confidence in students abilities.  These perceptions of students abilities are inaccurate in part because of insufficient AAC supports.  ... These questions lead teachers to create a version of the curriclum that is different from the one taught to students without disabilities and then to design ways to teach it that also may be different from the instruction plan for students without disabilities. It is understandable that educators want to prioritize their attention to support student learning.  In the instructional planning process, however, prioritizing the content to be learned over the context and the instructional process through which it will be taught may mislead educators to make changes in educational programming that are not alligned with their vision of inclusive education."  (page 55)

"Part time is different... not just less!" (page 57)

"Although a students does not need to be included in general education all day, every day in order for a team to begin using the Model, we suggest that students be included in a general education classroom for at least two core academic subjects. .... We want to make it clear that we are not advocating for students to be "included part time" but rather suggesting that focusing on two core academic periods a day can provide a place for the teams to begin the process of learning to use the BA Model." (page 59) 

"Through the lens of participation (contrasted with the lens of learning), the first goal is for students to be engaged with the instruction delivered by the general education classroom teacher alongside and with their classmates.  Even though they may not yet be demonstrating learning of the same curriculum content as their classmates, the target student is engaged in the learning process that is similar to their classmates." (page 63) 

"The importance of collaborative teaming as a BA Model strategy is consistent with the findings of more than 30 years of research in inclusive education." (page 69)

"Once team members agree to use the BA Model, they are active participants in each of the four phases of the Model.  The team participates in the initial description of the student and reaches agreement on his or her strengths and educational needs.  Team members also examine evidence of and then agree on their own strengths and needs.  They work together to explore new suppors for student's membership, participation and learning, and they work together on improving their own team collaboration." (page 69)
A couple of links to articles that summarize/review the model...
I've read a lot around how to make this work (and have found some good stuff) but nothing has grabbed me the way that this model does.  Not exactly sure what parts of it we are going to use it but I'm pretty sure I will be writing more about this as we move in to this next school year!

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