Texas A&M University — Project LEAD

Project LEAD

  • Impact
    • 301 students participated in classroom-based instruction
    • 189 parents and other adults participated in 12 parent seminars and educational activities
    • Students gained awareness and essential skills on decision-making, goal setting and attainment, and self-evaluation
    • Parents who participated in seminars gained practical knowledge about opportunities, supports, and services available to their children
    • Five local high schools and their special education teachers learned how to implement self-determination curriculums and how to guide students to participate in leadership projects

Statewide Need
There is a continued need for the development of training programs and resources to assist Texans with developmental disabilities (DD) and their families learn leadership and advocacy skills. To do this, leadership development and advocacy skills training programs must exist in many different areas around the state. Because it is unlikely that any one organization can provide enough funding to meet the demand, it is imperative that organizations that offer this kind of training work with others. This type of collaboration can help to increase the number of identified leadership development and advocacy training programs that are able to provide culturally appropriate training for individuals with DD.

Project Goal
Establish a leadership and advocacy program for youth with and without disabilities and their parents in Brazos County. Students in special education classes and in classrooms structured for youths at risk of dropping out of high school will receive classroom training, as well as support in completing leadership projects at school and in the community. Parents will learn how to promote leadership and advocacy skills for children with disabilities at home and in the community.

Project Summary
Project LEAD (Leadership, Empowerment, Action, Determination) worked collaboratively with five high schools in the Bryan/College Station area to provide direct, in-classroom self-determination instruction to students. Special education classrooms and classrooms structured for students at risk for dropping out of school were involved in this program. Students were taught using the “self-determination curriculum” and each student developed and executed a leadership project. Three national and state level speakers provided inspirational speeches to students who were taking the lessons and others in the school.

Project LEAD also provided support to schools involve students in their communities to design and implement leadership projects of their own. Most students who received self-determination instruction developed and implemented their own leadership project. They received mentoring and support from project staff, teachers, and peers. The leadership projects covered a number of topics, including academic goals, employment goals, and getting to know new friends. Students who completed their leadership projects were invited to participate in the follow-up celebratory events.

In addition to student education, information and training seminars were provided for parents through presentations by invited speakers, printed materials, and electronic media. Topics of the training included employment, postsecondary education, social security benefits, independent living skills training, transportation, social skills, recreational activities, obtaining support from various state and county agencies, medical needs, goal setting, community participation.

Project Period
Jun 2012 – May 2015

400 Harvey Mitchell PKWY South, Ste. 300
College Station, TX 78745

Geographic Reach
Brazos Valley

shape of state of Texas in blue with Brazos county colored orange