The Bridge School

“I Have Something To Say!” Providing a Framework for Students to Develop Self-Advocacy Skills

It is essential for students with complex communication needs (CCN) to develop the skills and attitudes associated with self-determination in order to have direct influence in matters that affect the quality of their lives. The Bridge School Self-Determination Program provides students with the necessary tools and supports to become contributing agents in their own lives through informed decision-making, thoughtful planning and persistent action to achieve their goals. Our program is based on an adapted self-determination model by Sharon Field and Alan Hoffman.

Our framework includes Guided Practice, Mentorship and Real-World Opportunities, that give students the chance to work on developing a personal set of core skills in the areas of self-knowledge, decision-making, communication, and goal setting and attainment. During the self-determination lessons and experiences, students are encouraged to express their individuality and assert their independence using multi-modal communication strategies and devices.

A key component of the program combines the benefits of mentoring with our self-determination lessons and activities. Our approach to mentorship involves pairing a Bridge School student with a more skilled and experienced adult who uses AAC to serve as a role model and guide.

This presentation will include:
• An overview of The Bridge School Self-Determination Program
• Videos that highlight our students and mentors in action
• Student outcomes
• A presentation from mentors, April Bryant and Tyson Renze, who will share their perspectives and experiences within the program