Designing an approach for including youth with disabilities in the Youth Tobacco Survey (ACE Award – Year 2)

Study Team

Steven Martin, Center for Drug and Health Studies, UD (PI); Elizabeth Dubravcic, Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at DHSS/DPH (Co-I); Eileen Sparling Center for Disability Studies, UDel (Co-I); Mia Papas, ChristianaCare (Mentor)

What we wanted to learn and why it matters

The Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS) is routinely administered in Delaware schools to monitor the prevalence of youth tobacco use and help guide the design, implementation and evaluation of prevention and risk reduction programs. This survey does not collect information specific to youth with disabilities. In partnership with the Delaware DHSS/DPH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, the Developmental Disabilities Council and the IMPACT Tobacco Coalition we assessed whether accommodations or modifications were needed to facilitate participation in the YTS among students with disabilities. We examined the types of accommodations and modifications needed and their implications for comprehension, completion rates and the overall validity and reliability.

What we did and learned

We established an Advisory Panel of students, parents, teachers, school administrators, health professionals, and staff from partner state and federal agencies. We conducted classroom observations, interviews, and student focus groups to identify the need for accommodations and promising alternative accommodations for the YTS. With our Advisory Panel we developed a pilot YTS survey and protocol that responded to research findings.  We field tested the adapted YTS with students special education programs in three schools. We developed a report outlining study findings, lessons learned and implications for the inclusion of special education students in future administrations of the YTS and other surveys in Delaware.

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