Applying Psychiatric Rehabilitation Principles to Supported Education

There are some key values and principles that should be inherent in all SEd programs. Note that these SEd principles correspond to the values and principles of PsyR outlined in Chapter 4:

• Self-determination: The educational goals, learning environments, and supports are selected by the student (Sullivan et al., 1993; Unger, 1990).

• Individualization: The supports and services provided are designed to meet the unique needs of each student (Sullivan et al., 1993; Unger, 1990).

• Normalization: The services are integrated and "consistent with the routines of the setting" (Unger, 1990; pg.13). Attention is given to achieving a good match between the student and the setting (Sullivan et al., 1993), for example, providing SEd services at a campus-based Office of Disabled Students rather than at a mental health center.

• Ongoing support: Support is available indefinitely and is flexible to match the changing needs of the student (Unger, 1990).

• Dignity: Supports and services are provided in a manner that protects the privacy and dignity of the individual (Unger, 1990).

• Hope: There is obvious belief in the capability of the individual to grow and achieve academic and vocational goals (Unger, 1990).

More recently, Mowbray (2004b) expanded on these principles and developed specific criteria for implementing them in supported education programs. Her work in this area is summarized in Table 10.1.

TABLE 10.1

PsyR Principles Relevant to Supported Education and Associated Criteria

PsyR Principle

Criteria for Supported Education

1. Normalization

2. Self-determination

3. Support and relationships

4. Hope and recovery

1-1: Supported education programs conduct comprehensive, individualized assessments of participants (including academic needs and skills, personal goals and preferences, recovery/wellness plans) and help students establish vocational/ career objectives.

1-2: SEd programs utilize a campus setting for at least some of the services provided.

1-3: SEd services are provided in a manner and in an environment that protects privacy, enhances personal dignity, and respects cultural diversity.

1-4: SEd services are evaluated on an ongoing basis so they can be revised, as needed, to keep them responsive to students' needs.

2-1: SEd programs provide knowledge of the postsecondary educational environment (demands and resources), and skills training and practice to survive in postsecondary education, including brushing up or acquiring needed academic skills, or coping and adaptation methods (e.g., how to access available resources).

2-2: SEd programs assist students to use their knowledge and skills to set their own educational goals and objectives.

2-3: In SEd programs, choice is fundamental. Choices are offered in terms of teaching strategies and learning topics, the amount and type of support provided, how services are provided (in terms of modality: group, individual, face to face, mail, phone, etc.), frequency, and intensity. Students can make choices about service provision, based on individual needs and preferences.

3-1: SEd programs invest staff resources in outreach to and engagement of potential program participants; making presentations and/or having an ongoing presence at settings in which these individuals are likely to hear the message, such as self-help groups, consumer-operated programs, and clubhouses.

3-2: SEd services have continuing availability; they can be accessed on an as-needed basis for as long as students want or need them.

3-3: SEd staff establish individualized and personal relationships with students. One-on-one educational counseling is available, as needed.

3-4: Students are encouraged, given skills or assistance in establishing their own support networks to continue beyond the SEd program.

3-5: Resources are available, as needed, to assist with overcoming individual barriers to educational involvement, e.g., needs for transportation or child care expenses, scholarship and loan information, resolving prior educational debt, or applying to loan forgiveness/repayment programs.

4-1: The SEd program philosophy and service delivery methods emphasize participant strengths, encourage possibilities, foster hope, and promote rehabilitation.

4-2: Exclusion based on participant diagnoses or mental health history is not appropriate because it contradicts SEd values and principles. However, inclusion criteria may specify needed basic academic skill and survival levels.

TABLE 10.1 Continued

PsyR Principle Criteria for Supported Education

4-3: SEd programs have a rehabilitation and recovery philosophy, rather than focusing on mental health treatment or clinical services.

4-4: SEd programs involve students in all aspects of operations, including paid staff positions, so that role modeling and examples of success are available.

4-5: SEd programs facilitate participants transforming their perceived identity from the stigmatized role of psychiatric patient to the valued and culturally acceptable role of college student.

5. Systems change 5-1: SEd programs incorporate personal empowerment strategies, such as promoting and teaching self-advocacy, providing shared access to valued resources, and promoting nonhierarchical thinking and open communication.

5-2: SEd programs promote and model group empowerment, whereby the group advocates on behalf of the generic needs of its members.

5-3: SEd programs cultivate and maintain stakeholder involvement and incorporate stakeholder perspectives, needs, and demands into their programming. Resources of an educational setting and the community are brought together to work for the benefit of the students.

5-4: SEd programs have a structure and mechanisms to address systemic barriers to full inclusion of students with psychiatric disabilities. These should include formal involvement with mental health agencies and with higher education institutions.

Source: From Mowbray, C. T. (2004). Supported education: Diversity, critical ingredients and future directions. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 7(3), 355-356.

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