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Career Education Research for Students with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

  • Published: 2016-10-14 : Author: Education Associates, Inc. : Contact:
  • Synopsis: Project Discovery is a hands-on career education curriculum with systematic instruction and video modeling.

Dr. Amy Spriggs of the University of Kentucky, a leading authority on Special Education and evidence-based teaching methodologies, just concluded a beta test research project ( using Project Discovery, a hands-on career education curriculum with systematic instruction and video modeling. The career education and life skills curriculum was developed by Education Associates, Inc.

A team of K-12 educators conducted the research working with students, ages 11-21, with autism and developmental disabilities, across U.S. schools in Kentucky, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The research results validated significant increases, over 55% gains, in all student participants' career knowledge in two career education courses:

Dr. Spriggs notes, "This type of systematic instruction with video modeling offers a beacon of hope for students with special needs and the educators and parents who struggle to find educational solutions that will equip students with marketable job skills on their learning level. Videos that model behavior, like those in Project Discovery, are particularly effective to elicit near errorless learning. These types of evidence based interventions are critical for students to achieve successful transitions from school to work and to independent living if possible."

A 2015 Economic News Release by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, estimates that only 17.5% of persons with disabilities in the United States are employed today. According to Dr. Spriggs, "Students with disabilities are eight times less likely to gain employment, and participation in vocational training or job-related activities in school can lead to better post-school outcomes. Spriggs also adds, "Video modeling embedded into career education curriculum provides a new transition pathway for K-12 schools and vocational education programs."

Tim Hagan, President of Education Associates, praises the breakthrough research to highlight the effective techniques of video modeling for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. Hagan says, "Much has changed over the last 35 years of developing our job and life skills courses, but one thing remains constant -- we must educate more students, even those with severe learning disabilities, with job skills. Our company is proud of the work we do to educate all students and to remain on the forefront of reliable and evidence-based research. We want teachers to have complete confidence that they are receiving the most current applications of sound research in our programs. The result is that more students will find good paying jobs and enjoy a brighter future."

Education Associates, Inc.

Education Associates, Inc., Louisville, KY, develops and distributes Project Discovery, a research-based career and life education curriculum that can be adapted for all levels of learners in K-12 and adult education. Today, more than 5000 U.S. schools and organizations and thousands of teachers use the systematic and customizable curriculum to teach career readiness and life skills for sustainable job skills in over 100 leading U.S. industries -

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