KU News: Measure to teach students self-determination translated to American Sign Language

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Measure to teach students self-determination translated to American Sign Language, shown to be effective with deaf youth
LAWRENCE — A research-based assessment of self-determination is effective with deaf youth and speakers of American Sign Language, a new study from the University of Kansas and the University of Texas at Austin has shown. Promoting self-determination is a way to give young people agency in their education and goals for their future, and the research highlights how self-determination assessment can be used to support deaf youth to communicate about their self-determination and have better educational, career, health and life outcomes, according to researchers.

KU Libraries to present new exhibition highlighting disability studies
LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Libraries’ newest exhibition, “Expanding the Canvas of Disability,” will open Sept. 22 in Watson Library’s Haricombe Gallery. The exhibition highlights the research and creative work of disability scholars across disciplines at KU, and it ties in with the 2022-23 KU Common Book. The opening reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Watson Library 3 West.

Creativity, scholarship will be on display for Paper Plains Zine Fest
LAWRENCE – The Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity at the University of Kansas is partnering with multiple local organizations to host an event that allows attendees to explore written works meant to inform, inspire and instruct. The Paper Plains Zine Fest will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 3 at Van Go.

Ancient aqueducts offer lessons for future
LAWRENCE – Since her days as an architecture student when she first encountered them, Nilou Vakil has been fascinated by the ancient underground aqueducts that make the harsh Iranian desert bloom. The Persian qanat system is the subject of a chapter by the University of Kansas associate professor of architecture in a new book, “The Routledge Handbook of Cultural Landscape Heritage in The Asia-Pacific.”

Full stories below.

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Contact: Mike Krings, KU News Service, 785-864-8860, [email protected], @MikeKrings
Measure to teach students self-determination translated to American Sign Language, shown to be effective with deaf youth
LAWRENCE — A research-based assessment of self-determination is effective with deaf youth and speakers of American Sign Language, a new study from the University of Kansas and the University of Texas at Austin has shown. Promoting self-determination is a way to give young people agency in their education and goals for their future, and the research highlights how self-determination assessment can be used to support deaf youth to communicate about their self-determination and have better educational, career, health and life outcomes, according to researchers.
The Self-Determination Inventory: Student Report, known as the SDI:SR, developed at KU, is an assessment to help young people identify their self-determination skills and abilities, informing their ongoing learning. While the SDI:SR has been used by students with disabilities in numerous studies, the current study is among the first to look at the SDI:SR ASL version with deaf youth who use American Sign Language. KU researchers partnered with colleagues at the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes at the University of Texas at Austin to translate the Self-Determination Inventory into ASL, then to test its use with that population. Results showed the SDI:SR ASL is as valid and effective as the original SDI:SR in American English.
Researchers gave the Self Determination Inventory: Student Report to a sample of 3,309 young people, including 392 deaf youths who used the ASL version.
“We found the Self Determination Inventory is a valid, useful assessment for those who use ASL and can be another tool for educators, schools and others who work with deaf youth to support them to gain ownership of their education, careers and lives,” said study co-author Karrie Shogren, director of the KU Center on Developmental Disabilities and professor of special education. “This translation provides access to the SDI for ASL users.”
The study, published in the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, was written by Shogren, Daria Gerasimova, Jesse Pace, Tyler Hicks and Kaitlyn Millen of KU; and Carrie Lou Garberoglio, Jeffrey Levi Palmer, Paige Johnson, Claire Ryan, Jennifer Higgins and Stephanie Cawthon of the University of Texas at Austin.
The Self-Determination Inventory has several forms, including the Student Report, which was used in the current study, as well as a Parent-Teacher Report and Adult Version. It has also been translated into Spanish as well as ASL, and all versions are available for students, educators, family members and others at selfdetermination.ku.edu.
The study compared outcomes of the deaf youths who took the SDI:SR ASL with those of youths with and without disabilities who took the SDI:SR. Results showed the deaf youths scored more similarly to those without disabilities than those with disabilities. That may be because deaf youth have to overcome challenges throughout life resulting from an inaccessible society and inherently practice self-determination, researcher said. The authors noted that “deaf gain,” or benefits that emerge among deaf people and deaf communities that are related to the experience of being deaf, could help explain the finding.
“This is very telling. Deaf youth have self-determination skills and abilities that they use in their day-to-day lives. And when they are able to use their language and have access to the supports they need to express their self-determination, they show they are making things happen in their lives,” Shogren said.
“At the National Deaf Center, we talk with teachers, families and school administrators across the United States who have told us about the importance of self-determination for deaf youth. They’ve seen it – deaf young people who are prepared to advocate for themselves when facing challenges are better prepared for life after high school, where the barriers for deaf people are deeply embedded in the systems which they navigate,” said Garberoglio, co-director of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, assistant professor of practice at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author.
The results show that not only can the SDI:SR ASL version be an effective way for deaf students to communicate about their self-determination, it can also support teachers, families and others to understand how to support deaf youth to take leadership in their own education and life, which has been shown to result in higher academic achievement, better health outcomes, higher-paying careers and higher life satisfaction. Shogren noted the importance of culturally relevant translation and the partnership between the National Deaf Center and KU. ASL, like any other language, has its own syntax, grammar and nuances that are vital to any translation.
Researchers will continue gathering data on the experiences of ASL speakers and deaf youths who use the SDI:SR to make sure it is as effective as possible. In the future, they hope to translate SDI to additional languages, beyond the English, Spanish and ASL versions available now, to support students and others who could benefit from understanding more about their self-determination abilities.
“We’re hopeful to eventually have as many languages available as we can so that all people can access the SDI,” Shogren said. “We think self-determination has universal relevance and can make a difference across the world.”
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Contact: Alicia Marksberry, KU Libraries, [email protected], @kulibraries
KU Libraries to present new exhibition highlighting disability studies

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Libraries’ newest exhibition, “Expanding the Canvas of Disability,” will open Sept. 22 in Watson Library’s Haricombe Gallery. The exhibition highlights the research and creative work of disability scholars across disciplines at KU.

“Expanding the Canvas of Disability” was created in conjunction with the 2022-23 KU Common Book, “Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century,” edited by disability activist Alice Wong. Reyma McCoy Hyten, disability activist and contributor to “Disability Visibility,” will present “Out of the Margins: Storytelling as a Pathway to Disability Visibility” at the opening reception. An online livestreaming of the event will be available for those who wish to attend virtually.
“We want to be a part of the scholarly conversations currently underway across campus concerning disability,” said Sarah Goodwin Thiel, faculty & community engagement librarian and coordinator of the Haricombe Gallery. “We feel ‘Expanding the Canvas of Disability’ will be a rich addition to the multiple Common Book activities and events being planned for the coming year.”
The exhibition, on display in the recently updated Haricombe Gallery, will include a virtual exhibition story map, learning module and project display, all of which will be made available Sept. 22 on the Haricombe Gallery website.
Haricombe Gallery exhibitions serve to highlight the broad range of creative work and research generated by KU and community scholars. “Expanding the Canvas of Disability” will showcase projects and scholarly work from some of the many schools and departments engaging in this work, including from KU Medical Center, the School of Education & Human Sciences and the Department of Theatre & Dance.
“We are very excited to showcase the many scholars on campus and in our community who are centering disability in their research,” Goodwin Thiel said. “I hope this exhibition and related events will resonate with viewers both on and off campus.”
The opening reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 22 in Watson Library 3 West. McCoy Hyten will begin her presentation at 6:15 p.m., followed by a Q&A session. Register for the event online. For more information about the exhibition, please email Sarah Goodwin Thiel.

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Contact: Megan Williams, Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, [email protected], @KUETCWGE
Creativity, scholarship will be on display for Paper Plains Zine Fest
LAWRENCE – The Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity at the University of Kansas is partnering with multiple local organizations to host an event that allows attendees to explore written works meant to inform, inspire and instruct.
The Paper Plains Zine Fest will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 3 at Van Go, 715 New Jersey St.
A zine is a short, self-published booklet. As described on the Paper Plains Zine Fest website, zines have long been a favored medium of creative expression as well as a means of accessing power and agency for artists working outside mainstream culture, either due to systemic oppression or by choice. Zines inform, inspire and instruct, exploring a diversity of topics and genres, including art, design, illustration, poetry, personal narratives, politics and subcultures.
At the Paper Plains Zine Fest, participants will exhibit, sell and trade their independently published zines, pamphlets, comics, books and other works. According to organizers, the zine fest will host over 80 local and regional artists, including those who are Black, Indigenous or people of color, woman/femme and LGBTQIA+ as well as zinesters with disabilities.
The free public event will feature programs such as a mini zine-making workshop for children hosted by the Lawrence Public Library, a panel on self-publishing and a roundtable discussion with KU instructors who use zines in their classrooms. The Emily Taylor Center will release “Queer Futures,” a zine collaboration with KU’s Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity, and host a discussion with its contributors. The day will also feature a keynote from Imani Wadud, KU doctoral student in American studies.
Programming will take place indoors, where masks will be required.
Planning committee member Megan Williams, assistant director of the Emily Taylor Center, said making zines is a way of practicing feminism and creating community.
“I am thrilled to partner with Wonder Fair and Van Go to feature the work of local zinesters and KU scholars while building a diverse zine community in Lawrence,” Williams said.
Paper Plains Zine Fest, originally planned for April 2020 in conjunction with Lawrence’s Paper Plains Literary Festival, is sponsored by Wonder Fair, the KU Emily Taylor Center and Van Go.

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Contact: Rick Hellman, KU News Service, 785-864-8852, [email protected], @RickHellman
Ancient aqueducts offer lessons for future
LAWRENCE – Since her days as an architecture student when she first encountered them, Nilou Vakil has been fascinated by the ancient underground aqueducts that make the harsh Iranian desert bloom.
The Persian qanat system is the subject of a chapter by the University of Kansas associate professor of architecture in a new book, “The Routledge Handbook of Cultural Landscape Heritage in The Asia-Pacific.”

The book was co-edited and co-written by Vakil’s colleague Kapila Silva, professor of architecture.
Vakil said qanats are an archetypal example of a cultural landscape, as defined by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization since the 1990s – significant, deeply rooted built environments that may not rise high above the ground but which are uniquely worthy of preservation. UNESCO listed the Persian Qanat as a World Heritage Site in 2016.
Vakil said this type of canal system “spans a lot further than the ancient Persian region. It started from that region, but it goes from Spain all the way to parts of China.”
It is well-known in Middle Eastern desert environments, Vakil said, but not so much outside there.
Vakil said she wanted to bring knowledge of the qanat’s exquisite engineering, communal achievements and traditional methods of construction to a wider audience with her contribution to the new book. Essentially, qanats are networks of underground tubes that use gravity to convey groundwater far from their subterranean hillside sources. The ones in Iran date back as many as 3,000 years.
“I think the future challenge of our world is water,” Vakil said.
The qanat system, she said, offers a model of a complex cooperative, in which differing tribes work together for mutual benefit. Qanats could even provide the basis for future ecologically motivated tourism, Vakil wrote in the chapter’s conclusion.
“I was very interested in how communities come together — which is really the basis of my research, whether it’s in education or elsewhere — to do something that is bigger than them,” Vakil said. “Historically, you have several tribes of people coming together to create this huge infrastructure that their livelihood depends upon. So they were protected.”
The oases and irrigated fields at the outlets of gently sloping qanat tubes serve as sustenance and communal gathering places, according to Vakil. She said she believed the specialized tools and knowledge that generations of tunnel builders known as muqannis have used to create qanats deserve preservation.
Vakil cited several sources written in Farsi in her footnotes.
“I ended up buying a lot of books, and people have gifted me a lot of books on the subject,” Vakil said. “I was lucky enough to have a good collection published in my own language, so it was interesting to be able to read and translate them.”
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of qanat systems were built across the ancient Persian region, Vakil said, but only a few remain intact and operating. But even qanats that have dried up due to modern drilling and pumping of their source groundwater can have value, Vakil wrote.
“The ones that are not functioning can create educational sites, in addition to just tourism,” Vakil said. “It’s not recommended for groups of people to go into a functioning water-distribution system because they can pollute the water. But if there are empty qanats, there is a way to preserve them for exploration. That’s also one of the pieces of the puzzle. What do you do with these sites next? Do you have a strategy to make them part of the historic preservation … the heritage of the country?”
Much like the monumental Iranian UNESCO World Heritage site Persepolis draws tourists from around the world, Vakil said, “There’s a beauty in the desert that could also be explored.”

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