Impact: Issue on Achieving Secondary Education and Transition Results for Students with Disabilities

What is helping students with disabilities in transitioning from school to adult life? That’s the focus of this issue of Impact. It includes articles written by researchers, community service providers, and others. This edition of Impact has nineteen articles and sidebars that explain many of the sub-topics that fit under the very large banner of “providing appropriate education for secondary students with disabilities in an era of educational reform.”

 There are eight articles that profile successful research or community programs that assist youth in transitioning into adult life. One of these explain the work of the DO-IT Program housed at the University of Washington . Using a technology-rich approach, this program combines residential summer study, computer and internet activities, and career preparation to prepare youth with disabilities for success in college.

http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/163/163.pdf

Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth

The Kennesaw State University Academy for Inclusive Learning is a unique two year certificate program designed to provide students with developmental disabilities a college experience. This is an inclusive program focused on balancing academics, wellness and employability.

http://www.kennesaw.edu/chhs/centers/aiae/

Do-It Program

The international DO-IT Center promotes the success of individuals with disabilities in postsecondary education and careers, using technology as an empowering tool. DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs such as those in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. Primary funding for DO-IT is provided by the National Science Foundation, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Department of Education.

http://www.washington.edu/doit/

College is Possible for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Article from February 19, 2009 U.S. News highlighting one young woman with Down Syndrome’s pursuit of her Associate’s Degree and the push for further research in the field of postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

http://www.transitiontocollege.net/percpubs/CollegeIsPossible.pdf

Website: Life After IEPs

Link

http://lifeafterieps.com

Description

This site provides helpful information, free resources and lots of encouragement for families as they support their child’s transition to a fulfilling self-determined life after high school. Many articles include videos of teens and young adults with disabilities sharing their own journeys. Links to key transition resources are provided and explained in a clear and friendly manner.

Source

Submitted by Life After IEPs

Website: Empower The Village

Link

http://www.empowerthevillage.com

Description

Elizabeth Villanueva created this website after the state of California has continued to make budget cuts to children and families in the Early Start Program for the past three years. The website is free and a continuation of the vendor program Niños Del Cielo.

Source

Submitted by Elizabeth Villanueva.

Website: Project SEE

Link

http://www.arcwake.org

Description

Project SEE provides students with access to a variety of work settings/samplings which allow the participating students to make informed vocational choices. Participating students gain valuable insight into their occupational interests and strengths as well as develop skills to enhance their opportunities for employment in the community after completing high school. Project SEE staff encourages the development of natural supports and promotes the philosophy of inclusion, within the work environment. Under the expanded Project SEE school-year program, approximately 20 high school students with developmental disabilities are working at volunteer host job sites with a college student intern job coach. The ratio is two participating students per one student intern job coach. These students are selected in conjunction with case managers and occupational preparation teachers in the Wake County Public School System. The students are paid at the prevailing minimum wage through program funds. Participating high school students with developmental disabilities work at job sites during or at the end of the school day; they are transported from their high school to the job site through transportation provided by the Wake County Public School System. Transportation from the job site to the student’s home is arranged by participating students.

Source

Submitted by The Arc of Wake County.

Website: Leadership, Enrichment, Achievement Program (LEAP)

Link

http://www.arcfc.org

Description

The Leadership, Enrichment, Achievement Program (LEAP) at Frederick Community College (FCC) is a personal growth and enrichment class for transitioning students and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. LEAP is a collaborative project between The Arc of Frederick County, FCC, and Frederick County Public Schools. This course helps students develop positive habits and a proactive approach to life as they design personal mission statements, explore individual talents and gifts, and learn to apply their strengths and passions to the workforce, post secondary education, and adult world. The project expands this partnership to support students to enroll in credit and enrichment classes already offered on the college campus. The Arc and FCC is evaluating current courses offered on the college campus and working in collaboration to design customized courses that are accessible to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Traditional FCC students also participate in customized courses. Support is also offered to help transitioning students and youth to identify activities on the campus they would like to join and to build natural connections for students on the college campus.

Source

Submitted by The Arc of Frederick County.

Website: School-to-Community Transition Project

Link

http://www.thearcjackson.org

Description

The purpose is to engage students in year-round activities throughout Jackson County within their home communities. It is well documented that students with developmental and intellectual disabilities benefit greatly from year-round instruction. Research has shown that students that are engaged in meaningful activities year-round are more successful, less likely drop out of school, get into less trouble, and enjoy a better quality of life. The goal is to have initial instruction occur at the Transition site with concurrent instruction being given in the students’ homes and communities and broadened to include non-academic school year services. Toward the end of each student’s Transition period, the final outcome will be full community inclusion. Project activities include: locating employment and volunteer opportunities within students’ communities, learning to create a resume, fill out job applications, and go through the interview process. Additional components include personal safety, community adult and independent living skills, health and wellness, as well as skills for improving communication and social interactions.

Source

Submitted by The Arc of Jackson County.

Website: Transition in Action

Link

http://www.school2life.org/arcmecknc/

Description

The purpose of the project is to work with a variety of agencies in the community to expand an innovative program that meets the needs of the clients in the area and assists them in successfully transitioning from school to adult life. An interactive website is being developed to include three “doors” or sections to enter. One “door” is geared towards students and youth, another “door” is geared towards parents, guardians, and support staff. The third “door” is geared towards employers in the Business Leadership Network to post job openings. The internet is the wave of the future and by making this an interactive site and encouraging conversation between all parties we hope to advance transition outcomes for youth with disabilities locally. In addition, a transition specialist assists families inquiring about services and supports, provides agency referrals, coordinates educational workshops, and updates the curriculum as needed. The next component is a tool-kit for community coaches. This tool kit includes best-practice approaches for employment with an emphasis on self-determination.

Source

Submitted by The Arc of Mecklenburg County.