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The Transition to Adulthood Supporting the Dreams of Youth and Families with Complex Needs.

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Presentation on theme: "The Transition to Adulthood Supporting the Dreams of Youth and Families with Complex Needs."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Transition to Adulthood Supporting the Dreams of Youth and Families with Complex Needs

2 I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly because you tread on my dreams. -W.B. Yeats

3 The Transition to Adulthood is a Natural Process If you live long enough, you cease being a child and become an adult, with all the attendant privileges (often fewer than hoped) and responsibilities (often more than imagined) conferred by that status. (Ferguson& Ferguson)

4 Transition Defined Refers to a change in status from behaving primarily as a student to assuming adult roles in the community Involves the participation and coordination of school programs, adult agency services and natural supports within the community (Halpern)

5 The Role of Educators in Transition Assisting youth and their families to make informed choices about the future Anticipating the demands of future roles and environments and helping youth prepare for them

6 The Focus on Transition Has resulted in significant gains in most domains of adult life for youth with disabilities However, to some degree, we have separated the transition to adulthood from its natural processes by making it special We have made transition our process

7 Part of the problem.. Educators become prisoners of accountability In the case of transition, youth and families become spectators of their own process

8 The Historical Context Independent Living Movement Career Education Movement OSERS Federal Transition Programs IDEA (PL )

9 Genesis of the problem Progressive disability movements supported by government funding Government funding attached to procedural regulation Result: an obsessive focus on regulations and procedures Multiple intiatives schools are confronted with (NCLB, etc.)

10 The result… Regulatory compliance trumps practice

11 Yet experience tells us… Compliance does not necessarily produce quality

12 The Big Ideas All students leave school systems equipped to be successful, interdependent adults Schools cannot possibly be responsible for all the activities necessary to achieve the successful transition from childhood to adult roles

13 Involve students and families Planning should begin no later than age 14 Students should encouraged to the fullest extent of their ability to assume responsibility for their transition planning Family participation should be encouraged Educators facilitate this process Use person centered planning processes

14 Collaboration Networking Coordination Cooperation Ongoing activities that save time and resources

15 Networking Gain awareness of available resources (community asset mapping) Learn how to access or refer individuals to services Leverage generic resources through typical community groups (Rotary, Elks, C of C)

16 Coordination Assisting in the selection and scheduling of services Communication between agencies with responsibility for transition services

17 Cooperation Finding ways to support and complement each others roles Example: Schools conduct assessments that are useful in determining adult agency eligibility

18 Its about relationships Schools with quality transition service programs have strong linkages to community resources School personnel establish and nurture personal connections with families, local business, post-secondary institutions, and adult service agencies

19 Transition Coordination Reflects the connection between knowledge and skills domains and the range of services and supports a student may need Requires a team effort

20 Knowledge and Skills Communication and Academic Performance Post-Secondary Education and Training Employment Leisure and Recreation Independent Living Health and Fitness

21 Knowledge and Skills Community Participation Interpersonal Relationships Self Determination

22 Transition Services: A Shared Responsibility Instruction Related Services Community Experiences Development of Employment Post-School Adult Living Daily Living Skills Functional Vocational Evaluation

23 Transition Teams Education serves as the lead agency By generating ideas, tackling barriers, and opening doors, local transition teams provide the mechanism through which successful student outcomes are achievable (Blalock & Benz)

24 Benefits of Teams Team approach distributes work across many instead of a few Many minds generate more and better ideas Design unique delivery systems that meet local needs Share responsibility and ownership Improve accountability and follow through

25 Benefits of teams Team composition affords reality checks, dispels myths, and offers firsthand information Encourage local employers to become school to career advocates

26 Team Activities Involve students and former students Self advocacy conferences Host a futures conference where students can learn about post-school options

27 Team Activities Actively involve family members Establish a parents as partners program, or parents as faculty Encourage parent participation in organization of events, networking Conduct topical parent training

28 Team Activities School and Employer Partnerships Host career talks and fairs, set up workplace tours, job shadowing, internships or mentoring

29 Student Self Advocacy Learn about their strengths and skills and be able to tell others Learn about their disability, including how to talk about to to others Learn what accommodations are, and what types benefit them Learn how to express themselves

30 Student Self Advocacy Learn about the IEP and how this forms the basis of their education Understand their rights Develop a future focus

31 Insanity is… Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. -Einstein

32 Some Final Thoughts Transition is a shared responsibility Educators need to learn skills of collaboration Transition should drive the secondary curriculum Knowledge and skills areas should be infused within GE curriculum Students and families own the process

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