Interpersonal skills were the focus of the first eight weeks of the fall semester Independent Living Seminar, led by Career Success Coordinator Sue Reeves and Kayla Currier Kipping, a former Aggies Elevated mentor and current Disability Studies doctoral student.
“Most of the students say making friends is a big goal when they come to college, yet many lack the necessary skills,” Reeves said. “Sometimes, our thoughts get in the way of meeting people or developing new friendships.”
Students were taught how to identify cognitive distortions, or “Instagram filters for your emotions.” Examples of these distortions include all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralizing, mind-reading, fortune-telling, and catastrophizing.
“These distortions, or ‘filters,’ make it seem like an emotion is real, when it isn’t,” Reeves said. “By teaching the students how to identify these filters, they could then change how they thought about the emotions they were feeling, which led to different actions, which then led to different outcomes.”
Aggies Elevated at Utah State University believes that all individuals, regardless of ability, have the right to meaningful employment, lifelong learning, self-determination and full community inclusion. Utilizing the MyCLIMB (My Career Ladder to Independence, Maturity & Balance) person-centered planning model, Aggies Elevated students, along with invited family members and/or other stakeholders, will chart their own paths toward independence within an individualized framework of supports that identifies challenges, builds on individual strengths and encourages personal responsibility.