iQuest: Begin your Independence Quest
This article originally appeared in START Connecting in November 2023.
START is happy to introduce the iQuest, or independence Quest!
The iQuest is an electronic and updated version of the Passport. The Passport was designed as a physical booklet, where teams and families identified relevant independence and self-advocacy goals by grade level and tracked them. While the Passport helped schools and families address important, age-appropriate independence skills, we received feedback from the Regional Collaborative Networks (RCN) and users of the Passport that they wanted an online option for documenting goals and greater flexibility for personalization. This feedback led us to re-envision the Passport as the iQuest.
The new iQuest is in Google Slides, allowing users to save the document and make changes electronically. Users also have several printing options, including printing the iQuest in color, printing in a low-color option to preserve ink, or printing as a 2-page summary. Once a goal for the iQuest is met, users can choose to complete a certificate and set a new goal.
We encourage the child or student to participate in selecting goals for their iQuest. Adults may propose ideas, provide input, or offer options for goals, but the child or student should be encouraged to make choices about the goals they would most like to include on their iQuest.
Research suggests that if skills are not valued, they are unlikely to be used and practiced (Gerhardt et al., 2023). Involving children and students in this process in a meaningful way encourages conversation about hopes and dreams for the future, teaches about goal-setting, increases motivation, and promotes self-advocacy. Learning and using self-advocacy skills in early elementary and secondary education experiences can lead to benefits later in higher education settings (Roper, 2023).
K-12 School Goals
We have expanded the START Home and School Independence goal options for populating the iQuest. Instead of limiting users to four goal options per grade level, an extensive menu of home and school independence goals is available to help users identify areas that are important to them based on their strengths and areas for growth. These goal ideas are organized by K-12 Home Goal Ideas and K-12 School Goal Ideas. Goal ideas are provided in self-advocacy and self-determination, social communication, safety, health and sexuality, community, and general independence. Each of these documents also includes a section on secondary transition programming.
We hope that users will be excited by the new design of the iQuest and engage with it to identify and document real-life goals for pursuing greater independence. The iQuest can be customized based on the interests of the individual so children, students, families, and school teams can add pictures and text to record how these goals connect with the user’s passions, hopes, and dreams.
Watch for further announcements about the iQuest as we enhance the tool and related resources in the future. To help us improve the current iQuest template and structure, please contact Stacie Rulison if you have ideas or thoughts regarding the usefulness or format of the tool. We want your feedback!
We hope you, your students, and your families can embark on many new quests for independence!
Written by: Stacie Rulison, M.Ed., BCBA, (Project Consultant) and Jamie Owen-DeSchryver, Ph.D. (Project Faculty)
- Gerhard, Peter F., et al. (2023). Adulthood begins in preschool: Meaningful curriculum in support of increased independence for individuals with autism. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education 15(3), 213-223.
- Iris Center-Student Participation Skills: (secondary transition)- This website outlines how students can participate in their IEPs. This involves the skills of decision-making, goal-setting, and increased independence.
- May Institute-Providing Support and Promoting Independence: This brief article describes the importance of prioritizing and supporting meaningful independence skills.