SEDL Monthly: An e-bulletin of SEDL / July 2009 /


SEDL in the News
SEDL’s work evaluating MyMoon: Virtual New Media Environments for Lunar Space Exploration, an educational Web portal, has been in the news. The Lunar and Planetary Institute is developing the MyMoon portal to engage 18–35-year-olds in lunar science research. The Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences-2008 program, part of the Education and Public Outreach for Earth & Space Science division of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), is funding the evaluation. The Web site is set to be launched in July 2009.
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Back by Popular Demand
Beyond the Building: A Facilitation Guide for School, Family, and Community Connections, is once again available.

Buy Beyond the Building

This popular family and community involvement resource includes activities with facilitator’s instructions; four of SEDL’s best-selling research syntheses on Family and Community Connections with Schools, each on a different topic; seven strategy briefs, each focusing on a different aspect of family and community connections with schools; three interactive learning modules; and referenced handouts.

Visit SEDL's library of free resources on the SEDL Web site. Subscribe to SEDL Letter, our award-winning magazine, or AfterWords, our monthly e-mail bulletin from SEDL's National Center for Quality Afterschool.

Research to Support Individuals With Autism
Man and woman working at a grocery store

New Project Focuses on Autism

Man working at a grocery shopSEDL’s Disability Research to Practice program has formed another important partnership through new funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The partnership is with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of Central Florida (UCF-CARD) and supports research on features of effective service delivery that promote long-term employment placements of people with autism.

Approximately 1.5 million Americans are believed to have some form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which refers to autism and related disorders. This means that 1 in every 150 eight-year-olds has ASD. At the same time, employment rates for people with disabilities are declining, and people with ASD often experience lower employment rates than many other groups of persons with disabilities.

The UCF-CARD partnership focuses on research investigating effective strategies to support persons with ASD in obtaining and maintaining employment. Statewide vocational rehabilitation service systems may utilize findings from the research to more effectively serve persons with ASD. Best practice examples will be identified from effective local providers of employment-related services to persons with ASD. Ultimately, the research may inform family members and other advocates about services and contact people that are effective and informed about helping people with ASD find employment. The research can also inform personal and employer supports and accommodations that facilitate employment success for people with ASD.

Research focuses on the current underservice to people with ASD in such areas as vocational rehabilitation in order to build capacity needed at the local community level. “People with ASD want to work—and need to work, like everyone else,” says SEDL program associate Frank Martin. “Our research focuses on what vocational rehabilitation practices are linked to employment successes.”

SEDL and UCF-CARD staff will conduct two systematic reviews, implement a rigorous process of identifying and validating vocational rehabilitation best practices, study the university-based statewide network of CARD centers in Florida, and conduct case studies of individuals with ASD, their families, and employers. As the research progresses, SEDL staff will disseminate the findings through Web-based resources, webcasts, and subscriber e-lists.

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Tips and Tools
Free Resources
teacher helping student   Construction worker  
Helping Students With ASD Transition to Adulthood
The Autism Society of America has a resource called Preparing for a Lifetime, which has information on helping students with ASD prepare for life after school.
  • Encourage students with ASD to choose a curriculum that piques their interest and leads to a job.
  • Use school to reinforce competencies such as being organized, being prepared, completing tasks, following directions, and interacting with others.
  • Involve the student in curriculum options that will teach other important skills like cooking, repairing items, or handling personal finances.
  • Help students build their resumes.
  • Provide instruction on social interchanges and office small talk.

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  Webcast: Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
This presentation, held in January 2009, introduced SEDL's project on Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The presentation focused on improving vocational rehabilitation (VR) and transition services for persons with autism and related disorders.

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Questions or comments should be directed to:
Laura Shankland
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Austin, TX 78723
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