2000 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2000 Table of Contents


UNIVERSAL DESIGN TEACHES INDEPENDENCE

Linda Reiser
Henry Viscardi School
Albertson, NY
Email: lreiser@hotmail.com 

Mary Anne Cicchillo
Henry Viscardi School
Albertson, NY
Email: mcicchillo@hotmail.com

At the Henry Viscardi School, students who are orthopedically impaired, worked on a project to help prepare them for transition to young adulthood by creating an environment for themselves that would enable them to live as independently as possible. Through the collaborative efforts of a team comprised of a Technology Teacher, an Occupational Therapist, an assistive Technology Practitioner and a Speech Therapist, each student created a Universally Designed Home that met his/her own unique needs.

One of the learning objectives of this project was to have students develop critical thinking skills in the areas of problem solving and decision making. This "universal design house" taught the art of problem solving in a meaningful real world context. Because it was within the realm of their experience, even students with cognitive deficits are able to think, plan and find solutions.

Using a simple CAD program students planned and created floor plans and camera views for their home which conformed to universal design standards. They were exposed to a tremendous amount of information regarding assistive technology products currently available which would help them in becoming as independent as possible in daily life tasks. Functional solutions to daily obstacles within the home environment were explored for every room in the house. In the Study, they designed an ergonomic computer workstation for themselves including communication devices such as telephones and micro cassette recorders. Each student tried out a variety of different devices and were guided in the selection process in order to match them to their needs.

Student motivation was high and each student finished the semester proudly with plans for a unique special environment for him/herself.


Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2000 Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings


Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.