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Transitioning Students with Severe Disabilities Aubrey Rubin Nicole Sparra Monica Davis-Oliver Mary Lavalley Linda Maestri-Goodnow University of Phoenix.

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Presentation on theme: "Transitioning Students with Severe Disabilities Aubrey Rubin Nicole Sparra Monica Davis-Oliver Mary Lavalley Linda Maestri-Goodnow University of Phoenix."— Presentation transcript:

1 Transitioning Students with Severe Disabilities Aubrey Rubin Nicole Sparra Monica Davis-Oliver Mary Lavalley Linda Maestri-Goodnow University of Phoenix SPE 535 October, 2007

2 Transitions can be difficult given the best of circumstances; the challenge can become even greater when dealing with students with severe disabilities. There are strategies that can be implemented to make this process smoother and easier for the student with special needs as he/she passes through elementary, middle, high school and ultimately into adulthood.

3 Transition Services IDEA 2004 defines transition services as a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that: Are focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the student with a disability to facilitate movement from school to post-school activities Are based on individual strengths, preferences and interest Include instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. (P.L. 108-446, Sec 603 (34))

4 Elementary to Middle School Steps to facilitate a smooth transition include: Preparing the student during the last year of elementary school Plan visit to the new school Meet teachers Practice organizational skills Create a practice schedule Planning the new curriculum goals and schedule for the student Plan IEP goals Review students strengths and challenges with new team Orienting the parents Suggest study material to be reviewed during the summer Compile contact list of middle school staff Collaborating with the middle school staff Present students portfolio Discuss effective intervention techniques Encourage communication during the following year Vicker, B. (2003).

5 Students transitioning from middle to high school look forward to having more choices, making new friends, and graduating. However, students with severe disabilities face a greater amount of challenges as they transition to a new environment they are not accustomed to. Adolescents view themselves more negatively and experience a greater need for acceptance by peers; (Mizelle & Irvin, 2000) students with severe disabilities can feel the same way. It is important that schools provide a supportive environment for their students with severe disabilities by designing a transition program that addresses the needs of the student, parent and special education staff.

6 Middle to High School Things to consider… The IEP should specify the students level of functioning and support services required; and help set realistic goals in regards to employability. Student orientation of the new building, support staff, emergency procedures and drills. Ensure transfer of data has taken place: medical records, IEP, etc; and complete appropriate emergency contact forms. Confirm that all special education staff (OT, PT, Speech) are informed of the building location/schedule of the student. A social support network should be established to help bring severely disabled students and their parents together. Parents should be aware of the districts stance on graduation (age of 21 limit) and No Child Left Behind policies. The High School staff should work to keep parents involved in their childs education and school activities which will make their child more comfortable coming to school (Mizelle & Irvin, 2000). Provide incoming students the opportunity to meet other students. Programs like big buddy/little buddy pair new 9th grade students with an older student to provide social support and peer mentoring. (Mizelle & Irvin, 2000).

7 Beyond High School… Post Secondary Opportunities World of Work

8 High School To Post Secondary Opportunities High school transition planning includes exploring post- secondary opportunities and employment options and may include connecting with the adult service agencies that may provide the student with services when he or she graduates or turn 22 years of age. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that transition planning be part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Beginning no later than the first IEP developed when the eligible student is 15, the Team considers the student's need for transition services and documents this discussion. …

9 … Continued Should students pursue post secondary education, their rights and responsibilities will be slightly different from what they had in high school. Students are expected to independently manage their own academic life. Testing accommodations are permitted. Curriculum modifications that ensure non discrimination are guaranteed.

10 High School to World of Work Due to the complexity of the IDEA definition; states, schools, and school districts continue to explore various ways to appropriately meet the federal requirements. In particular, matching a handicapped child with an appropriate transition from school to work requires further expenditures of oftentimes, limited amounts of time, energy, resources, and funding.

11 In an attempt to help states and school districts meet these federal transitional mandates, Rusch and DeStefano (1989), identified 10 successful characteristics or best practices for transition. These included: Early planning Interagency collaboration Individual transition-planning Focus on integration Community-relevant curriculum Community-based instruction Business linkages Job placement Ongoing staff development Program evaluation

12 Possible Challenges… Despite the best intentions and the fact that transition plans are legally required, schools continue to exhibit difficulties in transforming federal mandates into successful practice. This is particularly true in the area of school to work plans and programs. Limiting factors can include: Lack of time Lack of effort by parents & school staff Insufficient funds for transition activities Poorly developed IEP Cultural issues/differences

13 Legislative Support When students transition to postsecondary opportunities, and/or the world of work, it is crucial for them to understand their civil rights. The legislation that provides for special education services while in the public school system ceases upon graduation from high school, or at the age of 22; whichever comes first. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and/or Chapter 688 are still available to ensure protection of their civil rights.

14 Students with severe disabilities should be encouraged to actively participate in their transition planning to the extent that they are able to do so. Although there are many limiting factors that can interfere; legislation, the students family, support staff and most importantly; the students own self advocacy and determination are factors that all contribute to the successful transition of a student as they progress through their academic path and ultimately into adulthood.

15 References Grigal, M.; Test, D.W.; Beattie, J. & Wood, W. M., (1997, Spring). An evaluation of transition components of individualized education program. Exceptional Children, 63(3), 357. Hertzog, C.J., & Morgan, P.L. (1998). Breaking the barriers between middle school and high school: Developing a transition team for student success. NASSP Bulletin, 82(597), 94-98. Misilo Jr., F.M. (October, 2007). Coming of age – A legal guide for individuals with developmental disorders and their families on transitioning to adult services. Mizelle, N.B., & Irvin, J.L. (2000). Transition from middle school into high school. Middle School Journal, 31 (5), 57-61. Monroe, S. (March, 2007). Students with disabilities preparing for postsecondary education: know your rights and responsibilities. Retrieved 10/24/2007 from UNC School of Medicine, (2006). Strategies for surviving middle school with an included child with autism. Retrieved 10/19/2007 from Vicker, B. (2003).Transition to middle school. The Reporter, 8 (3), 19-21. Indiana Resource Center for Autism. Retrieved from 10/17/2007

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