BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT OF EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN: TRANSITION SERVICES Transition Services is defined by the 1997 Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) as a coordinated set of activities for a student, designated within an outcome-oriented process, which promotes movement from school to post-school activities including: post-secondary education, career training, adult services, independent living, community participation, and integrated employment (including supported employment. The coordinated set of activities shall be based upon the individual needs of each student, taking into consideration his/her preferences and interests. IEP goals and objectives are required for the following areas: * Instruction * Related Services * Community Experiences * Development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives * Daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation are required. “The importance of the transition specialist, or career education specialist, in the types of projects cannot be underestimated.
The relationships these staff members maintain with the participants are crucial to the structure and success of these services”(Bullis and Cheney, 1999). Vocational Assessments Vocational Evaluation is a comprehensive process that systematically uses work activities, (either real or simulated), as the focal point for assessment of capabilities, vocational exploration and guidance. The purpose of vocational evaluation is to assist individuals in vocational development. Vocational evaluation incorporates medical, psychological, social, vocational, cultural, and economic data into the assessment process to determine realistic vocational areas.
Transition Planning Transition planning begins at a very early age. It continues through each educational phase of the student’s life, culminating with adult living. A continuum of services focuses upon a student’s preparation for transition through participation in career awareness activities, career exploration, vocational training and employment. A continuum of Transition Services has been developed to serve as a guideline for transition planning. The continuum begins at preschool and ends at age 22.
Transition planning is documented in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) beginning at age 14. “There is a lack of student and parent output, little documentation of transition plan specifics for each student, and IEP that were almost exclusively academically focused with no obvious links between goal/objectives and transition outcomes. Indeed, these weaknesses in the use of the IEP process and document planning for transition directly affect the implementation of transition services”(Collet-Klingenberg, L. L. , 1998).
It is the responsibility of the IEP chairperson – usually the special education teacher – to arrange IEP / transition planning meetings for students at age 14 and older. The IEP notice to parents must include the following information: * The purpose of the IEP meeting is to develop / review the IEP and to consider Transition Services for inclusion into the IEP. * The student is invited to attend the IEP meeting. * Appropriate agency representatives have been identified and invited to the IEP / transition planning meeting.
The IEP transition meeting must include all required IEP participants, plus two other representatives, as follows: * Parents or Legal Guardians * Special Education Teacher * Regular Education Teacher * Public Agency Representative (if appropriate) * Student * Other Individuals at the discretion of the parent or agency * Interpreter, when the parent or legal guardian is deaf or not proficient in the English language. * Career Education Teacher / Coordinator If the student does not attend the meeting, steps should be taken to ensure that his/her preferences and interests are considered.
If an invited agency representative is unable to attend the meeting, other steps shall be taken to obtain participation. The IEP /Transition Planning meeting participants will provide input for expected outcomes. The following questions may be discussed. * What are the interest, preferences, and goals of the student after graduating or exiting school? * What support would be required to reach post-secondary goals? * Will the student be referred to an adult agency? * What type of adult agency service(s) is needed after graduation, if any? Who will be responsible for the referral(s) (i. e. special education teacher, the school based staff, parent, student, others? * Who will follow-up to ensure that the linkage between the school and adult agency(ies) was established? The IEP Team will develop transition goals and objectives that focus on the desired adult outcomes (long range transition goals). Students’ preferences, strengths and limitations, career / vocational skills development, needed support services, job availability, medical and transportation requirements are also considered.
Parents’ expectations of desired student outcomes should be obtained and considered. What exactly is the Transition Plan? The Transition Plan is a part of the IEP. It includes long-range transition goals, indicating the students’ preferences and interests after exiting school, are identified. “The skills needed to be successful in post secondary educational and vocational; settings, such as self-awareness, awareness of appropriate career options, and the ability to engage in self-advocacy when necessary, takes many years to develop” (Janiga,s. , J. ; Costenbader, V. 2002). Transition Services needed to achieve the long-range goals are determined. Agencies involved in transition planning while the student is still in school should be identified. That involvement is considered “agency linkages”. Transition goals and objectives are written. Agency responsibilities should be recorded in the IEP on the Transition Plan. Transition activities (objectives), persons responsible for the activities, and timelines are recorded. If an agency fails to fulfill its responsibilities, the IEP Team must reconvene to identify alternative strategies.
Transition plans are reviewed, discussed and developed annually. The special education teacher, who completes the Transition Checklist, maintains a summary of transition planning. The Transition Checklist is reviewed and updated annually at the IEP meeting. A copy of the Transition Checklist is provided to the parent / guardian for further reference and planning. To assist in the development of transition plans at the IEP meeting Guidelines for transition services agenda is used.
The guidelines outline what should be done before, during and after the IEP meeting. Records Keeping The special education teacher maintains a portfolio for each student, beginning at age 14, or grade 9. The portfolio documents a collection of evidence of the student’s skills, abilities, and employment competencies (see your school’s Special Education Coordinator or your school-based Transition Coordinator to obtain the portfolio). The student is responsible for participation in the development and maintenance of his / her transition portfolio.
Portfolios are maintained as documentation of transition services activities. Adult Agencies An adult agency representative can attend IEP / Transition meetings for students who are 16 years of age, or in the 11th grade, and thereafter, if considered necessary by the IEP Team. An agency representative may attend IEP / Transition meetings for student’s age 14 or younger, if considered necessary by the IEP Team. Some students will move from school to adult life requiring little or no more involvement with adult agencies than their non-disabled peers.
Examples of such agencies or services are community colleges, vocational technological schools, other post-secondary educational institutions and the military. Other students may require time-limited adult services, such as the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). There are also students who will need ongoing support from adult agencies such as the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Administration (MRDDA). The IEP Team will determine which services may be appropriate for such students. Adult agencies may include, but are not limited to, the following: * Rehabilitation Service Administration Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Administration * Commission on Mental Health Services * Others Private agencies representation may be invited by parent / guardian or student of appropriate: * College / Community College * Vocational Technical Schools * Adult Education Services/ Training * Armed Forces * Others Transportation for Special Education Transportation is a related service for special education students when it is necessary in order for a student with a disability to participate in an appropriate educational program.
The Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) makes individual decisions about transportation during the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and placement. The MDT must consider the following: * Determine a need for specialized transportation and reflect the need in the student’s IEP * Review the student’s need for transportation at any IEP review * Qualifications for transportation include the following: * Limited sensory or physical endurance Significantly reduced intellectual development; and/or reduced problem solving skills Parents must do the following in order for transportation to be provided for their children: * Provide accurate address information to the Division of Special Education and ensure that it is updated if necessary during the school year * Call your child’s principal of any address changes during the school year. It can take 3 to 10 school days to make transportation changes during the school year * Have your child ready when the bus arrives in the morning * Meet the school bus in the afternoon.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Bullis, M. , ; Cheney, D. (1999). Vocational and Transition Interventions for Adolescents and Young Adults with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders. Focus on Exceptional Children, 7, 1-24. Collet-Klingenberg, L. L. , (1998). The Reality of Best Practices in Transition: A Case Study. Exceptional Children, 1, 67-78. Janiga, S. , J. ; Costenbader, V. , (2002). The transition from High School to Postsecondary Education for students with Learning disabilities: A Survey of College Service Coordinators. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 5, 462-8, 479.
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