Volume IV Number 3, September 1997

EASI Expands K-12 Program

Carmela Cunningham

Children who do not get a solid foundation in science and mathematics during Kindergarten through 12th grade will not be properly prepared to study science, math, engineering or technology (SMET) successfully in college. Too often students with disabilities fall into this group of being unprepared to study science, math, engineering and technology in post-secondary school.

EASI, an affiliate of the American Association for Higher Education has begun work on a two-year National Science Foundation project to create and disseminate materials to help K-12 students with disabilities become prepared to do post-secondary and professional work in technical fields.

In particular, EASI is preparing materials to address the five basic issues facing students with disabilities. First, there is an attitude among teachers, administrators, and sometimes even parents, that students with disabilities can't "do" math or science.

Second, K-12 math and science course work is often waived for students with disabilities, which means that they don't develop the foundational skills in these fields. This also makes it impossible for some students with disabilities to meet national standards in science and math.

Third, students with disabilities are not getting adequate training on adaptive computing technology that would allow them to work i n the technical fields.

Fourth, students with disabilities and their parents must learn to be advocates to lobby for the appropriate technology and other accommodations necessary for students with disabilities to succeed in school and in the workplace.

Fifth, students with disabilities often require extra help in making the transition from one level of education to the next and from the educational setting to the workplace.

The materials EASI is developing for this project are designed primarily for the use of K-12 Individualized Education Plan (IEP) coordinators, science, math and computing faculty, administrators in K-16, special education coordinators, and those in schools of education who work directly with current and potential K-12 teachers.

EASI has already created materials directed at these K-12 issues, including a new component that has been added to the EASI-SEM online course on science and math access. The three-week course runs quarterly. EASI also distributes monthly informational releases with strategies and tactics and is in the process of creating other publications that will be made available online and in hard copy. If you'd like to have your name included on the monthly informational release list, send a request to Dick Banks at rbanks2@discov er-net.net

For more information on this project, check out EASI's K-12 corner at http://www.rit.edu/~easi or contact Norman Coombs at nrcgsh@ri t.edu or Carmela Cunningham at carmelac@aol.com

Cunningham, C. (1997). EASI expands K-12 program. Information Technology and Disabilities E-Journal, 4(3).