I have a daughter with special needs. She has Down Syndrome. Not a big deal, really. Not a big deal, until we need to change services, school districts, or (when we were still in the military) relocate.
Since we have retired from the Army, we fortunately do not have to move anymore, however, Anna just graduated from high school and is transitioning into the…wait for it…Transition program. The service is supposed to help the student and caregivers to bridge the path from student to professional life.
What is the “Transition Program”?
The Transition Program is a collection of flexible community based services for 18- to 21-year old students with ongoing needs in on or more of the following post-secondary areas: education/training, career/employment, independent living. Services are provided in collaboration with adult service providers.
Since we live in School District 12 – I will quote what D-12 has to say:
We believe that students (18-21) who access transition services should have a variety of educational experiences, job related training, technological skill development, functional skill development, and access to community resources/agencies, which will allow them to develop the skill necessary to live more independently and become participating members within our community.
Transition Services are…..
• individualized and based on the student post-secondary school goals outlined in the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP)
• designed to build skills necessary to attain post-secondary school goals
• designed to bridge school-based services to community services
Note: The Transition Program is broadly considered or at least talked about as a 3 year program. (18-21)However, depending on how your students birthday falls or the student stayed back in school (held back) he or she will only qualify until age 21. The age reference is not meant as “the YEAR he/she turns 21” but services basically end on the day he/she turns 21….
I am glad you asked. We are one week into our transition program here in D-12. I have received assistance and guidance which is very much appreciated, however, the sheer length of my To-Do list is very overwhelming, but…. one step at a time, right? We’ll have to see how everything continues and how Anna likes her new environment.
This week she started to “work” a few hours a week as a PE teacher’s assistant at a D-12 elementary school. She has someone shadowing her during her whole time there (I like this very much). I was told depending on how Anna is doing they will extend her hours.
Anna is not very verbal and the district is trying very hard to determine which professional environment Anna would enjoy (with our input) and is guiding her this way. I appreciate all that, but to be honest, I don’t think Anna gets the “job thing”, so it remains to be seen just exactly HOW MUCH this will help her. In the mean time, 3 x times a week she is in a community setting only for 4 hours at a time and I am a bit fearful that she’ll regress in the few communication skills she has. Our current solution is to individually sign her up with group programs.
Depending on where you live please contact the Transition Program coordinator to learn more about your district’s Transition Program. There are many resources for you out there. I know, I have just scratched the surface and I am hopeful to complete most of my T0 Do list items soon.
Transition Services updated for 2016
District 2, Harrison
Information about Transition:
Don’t be shy and call the The Resource Exchange. TRE.org. They do fabulous work.