Making Life Inclusion a Reality: Utilizing Integrated Work Systems to Improve Social Skills, Independence, and Self Image in Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities

by Stephanie Kitchen
Faculty advisor: Dr. Robbie Ludy

One of the primary goals of education is to facilitate life inclusion of all students.  Students with cognitive disabilities often have difficulty both in and out of the classroom due to problems with independence, social skills, and self image.  These problems carry over to adulthood making life inclusion difficult if not impossible.  If education wishes to be successful in its goal, individuals with cognitive disabilities must be assisted to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for them to become contributing members of society.  How will educators be able to achieve this goal?  One of the most promising practices today utilizes an integrated work system.   This system provides visual cuing of algorithmic behavior to assist individuals in “knowing what to do” facilitating the three key areas needed for successful independence in varied environments.  This presentation will provide a clear overview of the issue as well as strategies of how to implement a work system model into today’s classrooms.