Integration on a social, academic, and community level is necessary for supporting better outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Integration refers to an individual’s ability to identify with peers and members of the community. Integrating and establishing social supports are more difficult for individuals with a disability due to, curriculum, peer-to-peer interactions, and changing social landscapes, especially during transition (Carter, et al., 2015). Lack of friendships and support networks contribute to exceedingly high dropout rates in college, low independent living, employment, and community integration for individuals with a disability. Friendships and support networks are the strongest contributing factor postsecondary education for all individuals (Noel-Levitz, 2012). Innovations with Internet-based gaming and communication may offer solutions to increase integration and postsecondary outcomes for individuals with a disability by creating and reinforcing opportunities for positive social, academic, and community interactions. The benefits of Internet-gaming which utilizes complex, diverse, realistic, and social mediums have been documented (Gallup, et al., 2016; Granic, et al., 2014). These skills include communication with others and on a team, digital literacy, time management, and task completion which are hypothesized to be parallel to the skills required in postsecondary education, employment, and may yield better lifelong outcomes. (Gallup, et al., 2017).
International Assistant Professor of Special Education at Idaho State University
Biography: Dr. Jenn Gallup is an Assistant Professor of special education at Idaho State University with a focus on inclusion through effective integration of Universal Design for Learning, particularly in science and mathematics. She publishes and disseminates research in the area of Autism and effective integration technologies such as video games, simulations, and virtual environments, that support and develop communication, interpersonal relationships and soft-skills required for careers in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.