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1. Strategy: Wise Choice Process

Application: Counseling a Student with Disability

Educator: Christine McDermott, Coordinator, Disability Support, Wesley College, DE

Implementation: When one of my disability students comes in with a problem, such as an instructor not getting a test to my office on time, I walk the student through the Wise Choice Process. I have him/her indentify the problem and the student’s desired outcome (e.g., the instructor has the test delivered on time). I have the student list options for achieving the desired outcome. Then we discuss the options s/he has to get the test delivered on time. After discussing the likely outcome of each option, the student chooses one or more to implement. Later, we evaluate the results, and hopefully the result is an achieved outcome. If not, we can simply start the decision-making process again from Step 1.

2. Strategy: 32-Day Commitment

Application: Orientation for PALS (Program for Alternative Learning Styles)

Educator: Karen Kearse, Director, Disabilities Services, Limestone College, SC

Implementation: During orientation, new students sign their PALS agreement with their parents present. The agreement lists what they are willing to do to be successful. Then they choose two statements from their agreement and create a 32-Day Commitment for each. They report on their progress during weekly individual conference with me or their life coach.

3. Strategy: Disputing Your Inner Critic

Application: Disability Services

Educator: Jan Weis, Disability Resources, Scott Community College, IA

Implementation: Students with (or without) disabilities often feel overwhelmed with all that is required of them in college, and they begin to feel very pessimistic about their ability to succeed. Often these students have never advocated for themselves or taken responsibility for their own learning. They often exhibit a great deal of learned helplessness. Here is one way I address this problem. 1) Have students write a list of Inner Critic statements that are getting them down. 2) Have students use “pop beads” to create a necklace, labeling each bead with one of the statements from their list of Inner Critic Statements. 3) Teach students how to dispute their Inner Critic statements. 4) Have students dispute each self-criticism, each time removing a “pop bead.” The visual and kinesthetic experience of removing the beads can be empowering. Finally, debrief by asking what lesson they learned from the activity. Guide the discussion to an awareness that they can not only choose what they wear around their neck, they can also choose the thoughts they “wear” in their minds.

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