iQuest (Independence Quest)
Welcome to the iQuest!
For those of you who are familiar with START, the iQuest (independence Quest) is an updated version of the Passport. If you are interested in renewing your Passport, we have made some revisions we want to share with you. We hope this new version will inspire you, your child, or your student on a Quest toward independence!
*Please note we use the words “child,” “student,” and “self-advocate” throughout our iQuest documents in acknowledgment that the iQuest resources may be used by families, school practitioners, and self-advocates.
What is the iQuest?
The iQuest helps users identify and practice skills that lead to independence. Users of the iQuest may have goals in mind or may use the School Independence Goal Ideas and Home Independence Goal Ideas to identify options in the areas of self-advocacy and self-determination, social, safety, health and sexuality, community, and general independence skills.
Users participate in selecting goals for their iQuest. Adults may present ideas or options of goals and allow the child to make choices about the particular goals they would most like to address, or self-advocates may select their own goals. Encouraging child/student input promotes self-advocacy and furthers conversations about their hopes and dreams for the future and how iQuest goals connect to those aspirations.
Why the Change?
As a project, we are focused on designing materials that represent the needs and lived experiences of a broad range of users, with a lens toward equity and inclusion. The iQuest is designed to engage users on a motivating virtual journey toward real-life independence. The tool includes options for individual customization so self-advocates, families, and school teams can add pictures and text to illustrate the user’s personal interests, hopes, and dreams.
The new iQuest is also focused on accessibility. We have a Google Slides version and a printable option. Additionally, we broadened goal possibilities by replacing the four-goal options per grade level with an extensive list of home and school independence goals to help users consider ideas that are relevant based on the strengths, needs, and social context of the individual.
Use the Implementing the iQuest Guide to begin to use the iQuest. We provided three options below iQuest in full color in Google Slides, iQuest in a low-ink option in Google Slides, and an iQuest 2-page summary.
The iQuest and Family Engagement
START developed the iQuest as a tool to support collaboration between families, school staff, and self-advocates. The iQuest embodies START’s Core Values for Family Engagement.
START Core Values for Family Engagement Statement:
Parents and families are children’s first teachers and, in many respects, their most influential role models and motivators. There is growing acknowledgment of the critical importance of Family Engagement in leading to positive educational outcomes for students and families. START's commitment to prioritizing and promoting intentional Family Engagement is centered around five Core Values.
- Families are central and critical to their child’s development and are essential members of their school teams.
- Effective communication and trusting relationships support the ability of families to access helping resources.
- Family diversity is valued; differences in culture, language, and family structure are recognized as strengths.
- Learning opportunities and supports are individualized, addressing student needs by embracing the skills, interests, and experiences of the student and family.
- Families and schools are partners in establishing high expectations that result in positive learning outcomes, and building a foundation and vision for the future.
“Meet them where they are, and show them where they can go” - Jana Benjamin, Parent of a Young Adult with ASD