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Rethinking Transition Goals for Independent Living: The Importance of Community Participation, Recreation and Leisure Nancy Hunter, Special Education Consultant.

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Presentation on theme: "Rethinking Transition Goals for Independent Living: The Importance of Community Participation, Recreation and Leisure Nancy Hunter, Special Education Consultant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rethinking Transition Goals for Independent Living: The Importance of Community Participation, Recreation and Leisure Nancy Hunter, Special Education Consultant Mike Sullivan, Outreach Director- Special Olympics Texas

2 Transition: Beyond Writing the Post-secondary Goals ‘the Right Way’ When identifying transition needs and planning transition services, ask: What matters most to the family? “When you think about life after high school for your son or daughter, what are you greatest concerns?” Which of these may relate to a need for special education services? Which will have the greatest impact on ultimate Quality of Life (both meaningful and satisfying)?

3 IDEA, 2004 “Reminders” We All Need to Know Special Education (CFR ) - “specially designed instruction…to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability…including instruction in physical education…” Assistive Technology Device (CFR 300.5) – “any item, piece of equipment, or product system…that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability…”

4 “Specially Designed Instruction” (CFR (a)(3)) “specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child…the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction (i) to address the unique needs…that result from the disability; and (ii) to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards…that apply to all children”

5 Physical Education as Special Education in IDEA, 2004 CFR (b)(2) – “Physical education means (i) the development of – (A) Physical and motor skills (B) Fundamental motor skills and patterns (C) Skills in aquatics, dance and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports); and (ii) includes special physical education, adapted physical education, movement education, and motor development “

6 New in IDEA, 2004! CFR – Physical Education (a) “Physical education services, specially designed if necessary, must be made available to every child with a disability receiving FAPE (free, appropriate, public education)…. (b) Regular physical education – Each child with a disability must be afforded the opportunity to participate in the regular physical education program available to non- disabled students unless --

7 NEW! “Physical Education” in IDEA, 2004 Continued… (1) the child is enrolled full time in a separate facility; or (2) the child needs specially designed physical education, as prescribed in the child’s IEP (c) Special physical education. If specially designed physical education is prescribed in a child’s IEP, the public agency responsible for the education of that child must provide the services directly or make arrangements for those services to be provided through other public or private programs

8 What Are “Related Services?” CFR (a) Support services, such as transportation, interpreting services, counseling, occupational therapy, etc. “required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education” and includes- [11] Recreation including assessment of leisure function; therapeutic recreation services; recreation programs in schools and community agencies; and leisure education.

9 New! In IDEA, 2004 – “Nonacademic Services” CFR and – Each public agency must take steps….determined appropriate and necessary by the child’s IEP Team, to provide nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities in the manner necessary to afford children with disabilities and equal opportunity for participation in those services…..

10 “Nonacademic and Extracurricular Activities” (b) …including counseling services, athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the public agency, referrals to agencies that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities, and employment of students, including both employment by the public agency and assistance in making outside employment available.”

11 Adapted P.E. Evaluations (little known facts) Students for whom some or all of the enrolled grade level TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for P.E. are not appropriate will need an Adapted P.E. evaluation. The goals and objectives for P.E. should be developed as a result of this evaluation. They may include modified TEKS (e.g. some of the grade level TEKS instead of all, or pre- requisite skills of the TEKS, or unique goals specific to the child’s needs.)

12 How is a NEED for Adapted PE or “Recreation as a Related Service” Determined? An evaluation and written report indicating the student’s need for each service must be completed, including – The learning competencies which identify the need for the service Documentation that the service will enable the child to participate in or benefit from instruction A recommendation for the specific service to be provided Only an IEP team( ARD committee) can consider the evaluation and determine needed services

13 Texas Education Agency’s Comments on Appropriate P.E. for Students with Disabilities (TEA Comments from DEC Monitoring Document) The general education PE teacher and/or the Adapted PE teacher much be an active part of the evaluation and invited, if appropriate, to participate in the ARD/IEP meeting “Children who receive Adapted PE or modified methodology or content in PE are frequently placed in the regular PE class for instruction”

14 Adapted P.E.: What Does the Child Need? Placement in a regular PE class does not exempt a student from an Adapted PE evaluation Modified content or methodology questions need to be raised in an ARD/IEP meeting: “What are my child’s unique needs?” “How will they be addressed in a general ed. P.E. class?” “Are regular sports appropriate for my child, or would training and competition in sports along with peers at a comparable skill level be more equitable for my child?” “How can my child’s needs most naturally be addressed?” (i.e. actual training, real competition, related community experiences, social skills training)

15 Curriculum Challenge facing LIFE Skills Teachers Today Historically, “what was/is LIFE Skills?” Learning In Functional Environments (20+ years in practice)….programming for children with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities Changes in state assessments, have changed also curricular expectations: No Child Left Behind (“same rich curriculum for all”) NEW: Requirement for all students to participate in the state assessment (TAKS) -- enrolled-grade level standards Emphasis on general education curriculum (math, reading, science, social studies)  The dilemma: Balance with traditional LIFE Skills curriculum

16 Special Olympics and Transition Special Olympics Texas saw a need for transition information for youth who have participated in school-based Special Olympics programs Misperception that Special Olympics opportunities ‘come to an end’ upon graduation No information readily available about adult Special Olympics teams With the loss of Special Olympics participation for many youth, their social network as well as their outlet for physical exercise and team participation ends Solution: Special Olympics Texas Transition brochure with area-specific information on adult teams/programs

17 Recreation as a Related Service in the IEP Recreation can be a ‘Related Service” in the IEP If a child needs development of recreation and leisure skills -- including life-long sports, wellness activities, etc. Special Olympics is a natural fit for Recreation as a Related Service and can be written into the IEP. Benefits of Recreation Enhances quality of life Impacts the quality of the relationships with others (social skills objectives in the IEP) Provides a means to occupy leisure time in socially acceptable ways Focus on Independent Living Skills connection

18 Research in the Field of Developmental Disabilities Supports….. Students with intellectual disabilities need more opportunities to generalize skills to other settings, etc. Students need hands-on experiential learning in natural settings Students need to work on the life skills that are both needed now and will be needed in the future Skills should focus on those that maximize independence, social acceptance, and participation in the community at large.

19 Where Do Students Learn Recreation and Leisure Skills From a LIFE Skills context, the settings should not be different from those used by the rest of society Home and neighborhood Community School Physical fitness venues

20 Key LIFE Skills Concepts We Can Teach through Special Olympics Generalization of Skills Can the student demonstrate a skill learned at school in a new environment? Are the skills being taught needed both immediately and for the long-term? Is the skill promoting independence? Is the skills FUNCTIONAL? Student self-determination (knowing what you want/prefer and how to get it – “Informed Choice”)

21 The “Gold Standard” for Selecting Appropriateness of IEP Activities Are there some skills and activities that are more valuable than others? What factors determine relative value? Activities that remain appropriate into adulthood and have lifelong value

22 Travel Training Promotes independence Decreases dependence on school/agency/program Promotes natural connections, decision-making, and personal responsibility Related skills: Getting ready to leave Traveling with others, conversation skills Using community streets safely Using elevator Understanding community signs Using social skills

23 “Transition” in the IEP: Shifting the Focus to Future Plans By 16, the IEP must contain post-school goals based on assessments of the student’s needs for: Employment Education and Training (could include Special Olympics training, connections to adult teams, ALPS, etc.) Post-secondary Education Independent Living Skills, if appropriate The special education and related services that promote movement toward those post-school goals Any needed interagency responsibilities and linkages

24 Special Olympics & Transition “Quality of Life” Bonuses Athlete Leadership Program Athletes as coaches, as volunteers ‘community service’ opportunities Youth’s ‘status’ is elevated in the community at large Benefits: seeing the athlete as a potential worker  Showcasing competencies  Enhancing social skills, acceptance and independent living skills naturally


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