What Families Need to Know
The challenge is to keep all students in school and engaged in meaningful educational experiences so they will be prepared for post-secondary education/training, employment and independent living.
Effective Transition Planning
… depends on looking at your son or daughter as he or she is today and imagining what services and supports will be needed to achieve his or her dreams tomorrow.
Research Shows That:
- School administrator support and solid communication among the student’s team members (including educators, family members, the student and perhaps community agency personnel) lead to effective transition planning.
- Students are more actively involved in transition-related activities when their school provides them frequent opportunities to plan, express, and actively pursue their goals, as well as chances to evaluate progress and adjust their actions accordingly.
- Student, family and school factors all influence student involvement in transition-related services.
- Students with disabilities are more actively involved in their own transition-related activities when they receive special education services in general education classes.
- Students are more likely to become employed after they complete school if they had work experience during high school.
What Families Can Do to Support Their Son or Daughter:
- Find out everything you can about transition services in your school district. Know your rights and responsibilities and keep abreast of laws, regulations and policies regarding transition and adult services. Learn about community agencies that provide services to support students, including: counseling, job coaching and job training. The guidance counselor, the high school principal and families of other students with disabilities are good resources for this information. Contact your local Task Force (Carbon Lehigh IU #21 – (610) 769-4111) or parent groups for information. Check the Procedural Safeguards Notice for names of other organizations and their phone numbers.
- After graduation, available supports will probably be different from those your child experienced during high school. This is because your son or daughter was “entitled” to certain services while in school, and they must become “eligible” for services after school. Learn the difference between the two and what you need to do by talking to those organizations.
- Offer information and assistance to your son or daughter’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team when they are determining your child’s strengths and needs. You are a critical member of this team …. no one knows your son or daughter as well as you do. Remember that you have the right to invite others to IEP meetings who have a special knowledge about your son or daughter. Help the IEP team to develop annual goals leading toward desired post-school outcomes.
- Talk with your son or daughter about the future and what he or she wants it to be. Help your child identify his or her own strengths. Information about your child’s interests and abilities is important. Make sure your son or daughter’s IEP team has this information when the IEP is developed. Your son or daughter needs to have opportunities to plan for himself or herself even if it means that he or she sometimes chooses incorrectly. Your child will be making many choices after graduation and needs practice in weighing options available to him or her socially and educationally.
- Help your child learn job-related skills, such as punctuality, dressing appropriately and being interested in doing a good job.
- Teach your son or daughter social skills, such as how to accept constructive criticism, how to be courteous and how to respond appropriately to authority.
- Create occasions for your child to be socially active in your community, provide opportunities to make purchases, to use public transportation and to do his or her own banking.
- Help your child learn about his or her disability and how to ask for the supports needed. Provide opportunities for your child to express his or her desires, learn his or her strengths and advocate for his or her needs. These skills are important in both employment and post-secondary education settings.
- Maintain copies of all school records and medical information. Keep lists of all contacts that you make with other agencies such as the Office of Mental Health / Mental Retardation and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
For further information: Contact: PaTTAN, Harrisburg Office – (717) 541-4960 or 1(800) 360-7282