SOESD / Learning Matters / Newsletter Archive / May 2007 / Accessibility and Transition
Accessibility and Transition
The year a student turns 16 his/her IEP must address Transition Needs including the student’s Post Secondary Goals. The term “transition services” means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process. The focus is 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. These activities may include post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment, (including supported employment) continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and/or community participation. Services are based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences and interests. Services include instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
School districts have the responsibility to ensure that the district assists families and students in accessing services outside the school system as well. In order to do this, schools need to help families and students build relationships in the community with people who can provide lifelong supports. These services may include Developmental Disability Services, Commission for the Blind, Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Housing Authority, among others.
There are a number of things that districts do to assist in the transition process for young adults and their families. These include but are not limited to: skill training; agency information; college applications and financial aide paperwork; instruction in money management; civic responsibilities; etc. Transition services are meant to provide a seamless and non-interrupted system of service to prepare students for success in their adult environment. This means that as adults, they will know how to access the community and doing typical adult activities such as living on one's own, having a job, having friends, recreating, traveling around the community, taking classes, etc. For students with significant disabilities, districts have asked SOESD to provide services in the STEPS program. The transition program offered by SOESD is a community based program which provides training on functional skills around community inclusion, vocational training, and daily living skills. As part of this program we provide direct training that the IEP team develops for the particular student which promotes as much independence, community participation, and work skills as possible. Additionally, we assist families with the process of signing up with a variety of service agencies, provide mobility training and assist the student and family in obtaining Valley Lift cards, inform families of meetings and materials which relate to preparing for adult life, give information on guardianship issues, Special Needs Trusts, etc.