Impact of Opportunities to Learn with Grade-Level Peers without Disabilities on Self-Actualization and Autonomy for Individuals with Pervasive and Extensive Support Needs

This session will encompass three of the themes, demonstrating the multiple intersecting dimensions of inclusive education: Personality: learner as a person, his/her educational needs and the dynamics of development Self-actualization: learner and his/her family as rightful participants of educational process Autonomy: equal rights to education for all Inclusive education encompasses both theoretical constructs (e.g., the theory of normalization and learning theory) and implementation variables (e.g., curriculum, settings, and instructional practices). When these variables are addressed collectively, the complex and multilayered process of developing and implementing inclusive education results in persons with extensive and pervasive support needs demonstrating unpredicted progress in acquisition and use of both academic and embedded essential skills across situations that are meaningful in their lives, as well as progress related to self-actualization and autonomy. In this session these variables will be explored, and examples of how opportunities to learn with grade-level peers without disabilities impacted self-actualization and autonomy for one individual over 30 years of inclusive education and life, following 15 years of educational segregation.

Prof. Diane Diane Ryndak

Diane Ryndak, Ph.D. is principal investigator for the University of North Carolina subcontract for TIES Center. She is a professor and chair of the Department of Specialized Education Services at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Her work focuses on teacher and doctoral level preparation, with a focus on collaborative teams meeting the complex needs of students with significant intellectual and other disabilities through the use of evidence-based practices that result in access to general education curriculum and contexts. Additionally, she works with school districts to facilitate sustainable systemic reform and multi-tiered systems of support to improve outcomes for all students.