A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

To Assure the Free Appropriate Public Education of All Children with Disabilities - 1996

Program for Children with Severe Disabilities

Division of Educational Services
Office of Special Education Programs

I. Context for the Agenda Process

To set forth an agenda for the Program for Children with Severe Disabilities, program staff solicited input from the community members to refine the vision and conceptualization of an integrated lifestyle for individuals with severe disabilities.

II. Components of the Agenda


The mission for the Program is to improve results for individuals with severe disabilities as measured by an integrated lifestyle.

In order for the Program for Children with Severe Disabilities to achieve this mission, an operational definition of an integrated lifestyle was formed by program staff. Community members who serve children with severe disabilities were asked to further refine the definition. The operational definition of an integrated lifestyle includes aspects and indicators.


Seven aspects define an integrated lifestyle. These aspects are: education; employment; social relationships; self-determination; recreation and leisure; neighborhood and community; and home. While the aspects serve to bind the concepts of an integrated lifestyle, indicators operationalize the definition. See table D.1 for the aspects and indicators of an integrated lifestyle for children with severe disabilities.

TABLE D.1 Framework for the Program for Children with Severe Disabilities

Program Targets
Aspect Description Indicators of an Integrated Lifestyle
Education Individualized functional curricula and experiences with students without disabilities.
  • Home school placement
  • Inclusion in regular age appropriate classes and activities
  • Functional curriculum
  • Community referenced training
  • Individuals and their families integral members of the IEP planning process
Employment Employment, with the necessary supports, in regular job settings.
  • Individual receives transition services and has employment experiences prior to graduation
  • Individual engages in real work in real workplace settings
  • Individual receives support in the work environment
  • Natural proportions of individuals with and without disabilities are employed at the work site
  • Individual receives wages and benefits appropriate to skills and qualifications
  • Individual communicates with peers in the work environment
  • Individual has transportation to and from work
Social Relationships Social networks and friendships throughout the individual's life.
  • Individuals has friends in the community
  • Individual is included in after school and out of school activities with peers
  • Individual has informal support network of family and friends
  • Individual has long term, intimate relationships
  • Individual has support in developing social relationships
Self-determination Making choices that affect all aspects of lifestyle.
  • Individual has opportunities to make real lifestyle choices
  • Individual preferences are valued and acted on in lifestyle decisions
  • Individual is involved in all aspects of lifestyle planning
  • Individual is supported during decision-making processes
  • Individual has ability to affect lifestyle changes
Recreation and Leisure Access to and membership in clubs, groups, hobbies, and cultural pursuits in the community.
  • Individual has choices about recreation and leisure activities
  • Individual participates in leisure and recreation activities in the community
  • Individual is a contributing member of clubs and groups of their choice in the community
Neighborhood and Community Access to and inclusion in community activities and services.
  • Individual uses neighborhood and community services on a regular basis
  • Individual participates in neighborhood recreation and leisure activities
  • Individual Education Plans include use of neighborhood and community services
Home Appropriate living alternatives and family involvement at each stage of the life cycle.
  • Participates in the selection of a place to live
  • Individual selected a place to live among a range of options
  • Individual selects roommates (if roommates were desired)
  • Necessary supports were individually determined
  • Individual is pleased with living arrangements
  • Family is pleased with living arrangements
  • Transition planning efforts address where a person will live
  • Choices and desires at home are valued and respected
  • Individual makes decisions about all aspects of home routines (decorating, meal times, vacations)


[National Personnel Agenda] [Table of Contents] [Appendix E]