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A final product of the Youth Statewide Initiative

Transition Information for Agency, School, Parents and Youth

What is Transition?

Transition is ANY change. Life is full of changes!  Some of life’s most significant changes occur when one is moving from high school to the adult world.

Secondary Transition

Transition in education is a process to prepare youth for adult life after high school.  Transition planning for all youth should begin as early as possible.  In Pennsylvania, the law mandates transition planning for youth with disabilities begin at age 14 in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and possibly earlier if the IEP team determines so. 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004) was first enacted in 1975 to ensure that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free and appropriate education.  Since 1975 there have been many amendments to the IDEA.  IDEA  defines transition as, “a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including:

  • Postsecondary education
  • Vocational education
  • Integrated employment (including supported employment)
  • Continuing and adult education
  • Adult services
  • Independent living
  • Community participation

Find summaries of the IDEA law for school age children at:

http://nichcy.org/schoolage

 What is family engagement in the transition process?

 

We asked parents/caregivers and this is what they had to say!

 

“A critical piece of the transition process.”

 

“When  schools and agencies provide information to families”

 

“Coming together to understand what needs the youth will need in the future.”

 

“Family members, school personnel, and THE youth working together to come up with goals and opportunities for the youth after high school.”

 

“Family members communicating what they envision for their child in the future.”

 

We asked families how and when they feel empowered in the process.  Here were some of the most common responses from families:

“When we have information.”   “When we are part of the plan.”

“When I attend meetings.”

“Having a relationship with other team members.”           “When we feel supported.”

 

 

Agency and School Personnel

 

The families we spoke to want to become active participants in the transition process.  So, why engage families in the transition process?

  • Families are experts regarding their son/daughter and are vital members of the team.
  • Families provide long-term support and are often the most helpful historians, providing the transition team with an essential level of background and experience,  and needs of the young person.
  •  Family’s members can serve as advocates for services and benefits.

 

The families we spoke to definitely want to be engaged in the transition process. So how can this goal be accomplished?

 The National Parent Teacher Association developed 6 standards for parent and school partnerships  - www.pta.org

The 6 standards include:

  1.  Welcoming all families in the school community
  2. Communicating effectively
  3. Support student success
  4. Speaking up for every child
  5. Sharing power
  6. Collaborating with community

 

The full guide can be found here.

http://www.pta.org/files/National_Standards_Implementation_Guide_2009.pdf

 

What else can school AND agency personnel do?

  • Encourage families to start planning early!
  • Build trusting relationships with families that will foster an ONGOING communication – not simply yearly goals.  Families are more likely to participate if they feel their input is valued.
  • Provide support for families to prepare for the transition process. 

 Check out this comprehensive approach to transition guide developed by Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD)

http://www.aucd.org/docs/publications/transition2_web.pdf

 

  • Help families develop skills so that they can support their son or daughter in the future.

 

Start by assisting families to develop the language to communicate about the transition process:

 

Common transition related acronyms:

http://nichcy.org/families-community/acronyms

 

It takes a team approach.  Who can be part of the team?

Chart developed by:  Dr. Joan Kester

How do you put the young person at the center of the plan?

PERSON CENTERED PLANNING approach:

A person centered plan can help those involved with the focus person see the total person, recognize his or her desires and interests, and discover completely new ways of thinking about the future of the person."
Beth Mount & Kay Zwernik, 1988

Person Centered Planning is an ongoing problem-solving process used to help people with disabilities plan for their future. In person centered planning, groups of people focus on an individual and that person's vision of what they would like to do in the future. This "person-centered" team meets to identify opportunities for the focus person to develop personal relationships, participate in their community, increase control over their own lives, and develop the skills and abilities needed to achieve these goals. Person Centered Planning depends on the commitment of a team of individuals who care about the focus person. These individuals take action to make sure that the strategies discussed in planning meetings are implemented

Learn more about the purpose of the person centered planning approach and the steps involved at the Pacer Center’s informative website:  http://www.pacer.org/tatra/resources/personal.asp


For Families

Where do I start?

Start by asking yourself and those who work directly with your child these questions:

  • What are the skills most crucial for my child’s success  as an adult?
  • How can my child best learn these skills and then practice them in various environments?
  • What agencies and community connections can support my child’s progress toward a full and self-determined adult life.

This is the young person’s future.  Get them involved in thinking about these questions.  They also need opportunities to explore their strengths so that they can understand what they are best at.

Here are some great resources for parents and families regarding transition:

http://www.aucd.org/docs/publications/transition2_web.pdf  - Check out this comprehensive approach to transition guide developed by Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD)

secondarytransition.org - This informative website developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) provides youth, young adults, parents, and professionals with secondary transition resources to facilitate a young person’s progress towards post-secondary goals related to education, employment, and community living.

 http://www.parentednet.org/ -  PEN provides training and assistance to parents who have children with  disabilities, and to parents and families who have children with learning and behavior problems.

lifeafterIEPs.com – an informative blog for parents and mentors of any age child with a disability

berkstransition.org – The Berks County Transition Coordinating Council (BCTCC) supports youth with disabilities to gain the experience, knowledge and confidence to transition successfully to the adult world.  There website provides valuable information for youth in transition both locally and nationwide.

  “What are all these acronyms?”

Links of common  transition related acronyms…

http://nichcy.org/families-community/acronyms

 

Develop your team!

It takes a team approach.  Who can be part of your team?

 joan

Chart developed by:  Dr. Joan Kester

How do you put the young person and family at the center of the plan?

PERSON CENTERED PLANNING approach:

A person centered plan can help those involved with the focus person see the total person, recognize his or her desires and interests, and discover completely new ways of thinking about the future of the person."
Beth Mount & Kay Zwernik, 1988

Person Centered Planning is an ongoing problem-solving process used to help people with disabilities plan for their future. In person centered planning, groups of people focus on an individual and that person's vision of what they would like to do in the future. This "person-centered" team meets to identify opportunities for the focus person to develop personal relationships, participate in their community, increase control over their own lives, and develop the skills and abilities needed to achieve these goals. Person Centered Planning depends on the commitment of a team of individuals who care about the focus person. These individuals take action to make sure that the strategies discussed in planning meetings are implemented

Learn more about the purpose of the person centered planning approach and the steps involved at the Pacer Center’s informative website:  http://www.pacer.org/tatra/resources/personal.asp

 

How do I know what goals my child should be working towards?

Youth should participate in assessments and understand how the results relate to their transition planning.

 

What is transition assessment?

Transition assessment is an ongoing process of collecting data on the individual's needs, preferences, and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future working, educational, living and personal and social environments.

 

Federal law requires “appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills” (§300.320[b][1]). Types of transition assessments include: behavioral assessment information, aptitude tests, interest and work values inventories, intelligence tests and achievement tests, personality or preference tests, career maturity or readiness tests, self-determination assessments, work-related temperament scales, and transition planning inventories.

  

 Can my child work?

Youth need to make informed decisions about work.   They need to engage in experiences that allow them to gather information about the careers in which they are looking into. 

Job shadowing is a great way to check out a career and learn what tasks are performed as well as what skills are needed. 

Learn more about job shadowing at:

http://www.ncwd-youth.info/innovative-strategies/practice-briefs/career-exploration-in-action

             Work based learning experiences

Work experiences can be paid or unpaid and are a very important part of preparing for competitive employment. Check out the value of work based learning experience at the NCWD site below.

http://www.ncwd-youth.info/work-based-learning

 Volunteering: - Why volunteer?

 8 great reasons for volunteering from our friends at Life after IEPS

http://lifeafterieps.com/8-great-reasons-for-kids-to-volunteer-plus-2-yes-buts/

 

For more information on employment after high school in Pennsylvania:

Contact your local Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).

Find an OVR office in your area:

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/vocational_rehabilitation/10356/ovr_office_directory/606620

 

Can my child live independently?

What does it mean to live independently?

The National Secondary Transition and Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) posts the following definition of independent living.

Independent Living or life skills are defined as “those skills or tasks that contribute to the successful independent functioning of an individual in adulthood” (Cronin, 1996) in the following domains: leisure/recreation, home maintenance and personal care, and community participation.

There are many different options for independent living, including:  Living on your own, Living on your own with support, Life sharing  and many others!

 Learn about the area of independent living such as housing, financial, recreation, leisure, transportation by visiting these great sites:

 

Berks County Transition Coordinating Council:  www.berkstransition.org

The Self-determination housing project has useful information on different housing options - www.sdhp.org

 

What other resources and supports are available for families?

There are many agencies out there that are ready to support parents/caregivers and youth on this new journey!  There are so many it can be overwhelming and often parents and caregivers don’t know where to start.  Often it can be helpful to contact your local Center for Independent Living (CIL) to get families headed in the right direction.

Centers for Independent Living (CILs)

  • A CIL IS A DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER FOR ALL PEOPLE WHO HAVE ANY TYPE OF DISABILITY AT ANY AGE
  • CILs are based on CONSUMER CHOICE

 

In Pennsylvania where is the closest CIL to you?

                        http://pcil.net/pages/cils/locate_a_cil.aspx

 

What is a circle of support and how do I get one?

More and more families are building personal networks, sometimes called circles of support. Sometimes families do this with the help of a professional facilitator using person-centered planning strategies. Other times, families build these circles themselves or in partnership with other families

Building a circle of support is simply building or growing one’s own social network. This does not JUST HAPPEN.  It takes work to build your own personal networks.  However, the relationships that you make will lead to increased opportunities such as:  increased community experiences, employment opportunities, and recreation opportunities to just name a few!

For more information on building personal networks:

http://www.uoguelph.ca/oaar/STRATEGIES7.shtml

 

Build social capital!

Building social capitol is an important part of living independently.  Check out this video on social capital!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTvbf1WVYFE

 

How can I build social capital?

Check out this list of things youth and adult can do!

Social Capital

 

Useful financial transition information for youth and families:

Social Security Administration:

Check out this page on the social security website for first-time Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants as well as those who needing to re-apply or appeal a previous denial.

https://disabilityapprovalguide.com/gsn2/social_security_disability_application.html?src=gsn2&gclid=CKLEpuLEsL4CFYFQOgodtRsAzg

Are You A Social Security Beneficiary? Learn about Ticket to Work!

The “Ticket To Work” program can help Social Security beneficiaries go to work, get a good job that may lead to a career, save more money, and become financially independent, all while they keep their health coverage. Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program that gives beneficiaries real choices that can help them create and lead better lives. Individuals who receive Social Security benefits because of a disability probably already qualify for the program. Learn more about how to get started making these choices.

https://disabilityapprovalguide.com/gsn2/social_security_disability_application.html?src=gsn2&gclid=CKLEpuLEsL4CFYFQOgodtRsAzg

 

Financial planning is an essential part of the transition process.  Learn more at:

http://lifeafterieps.com/essential-tips-from-a-special-needs-financial-advisor/

 

Assistive technology funding in PA: 

PA Assistive Technology Foundation’s mission is to provide financing opportunities to people with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians helping them to acquire the assistive technology devices and services that improve the quality of their lives.  Check it out!

www.patf.us

 

 

 

 

Funding provided by:

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Department of Labor and Industry and the PA Statewide Independent Living Council.