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Navigating Rough Waters: Supporting Students with Disabilities in Transition. A presentation by the North Region SELPA Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund )DREDF) Cheryl Theis, MA Education Advocate October 19 th , 2009.

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navigating rough waters supporting students with disabilities in transition
Navigating Rough Waters: Supporting Students with Disabilities in Transition

A presentation by the North Region SELPA Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund )DREDF)

Cheryl Theis, MA

Education Advocate

October 19th, 2009

a vision for the future
A Vision for the Future
  • Take a few minutes to envision your hopes and fears about your child transitioning out of school (or for students, for yourself!)
  • What words describe the outcomes you envision?
  • So what are the outcomes right now?
current outcomes why are transition services required
Current Outcomes:Why are transition services required?

KEEPING IT IN PERSPECTIVE:

Studies show the “average” young person relies on parental support until age 26!

Compared to their peers without disabilities, people with disabilities experience:

  • Half the graduation rate
  • Higher dropout rates (21% v. 10%)
  • Lower college entrance/completion
  • Lower employment (35% v. 78%)
  • Higher dependency on public assistance
  • Higher poverty rate (26% v. 9%)
  • Lower life satisfaction rate (34% v. 61%)
  • TRANSITION PLANNING, DONE RIGHT, SUPPORTS ACCESS AND INCLUSION, AND CREATES NEW POSSIBILITIES!
the 2004 congressional finding
The 2004 Congressional Finding:

“Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by-

(A) having high expectations for such children and ensuring their access to the general education curriculum in the regular classroom, to the maximum extent possible, in order to –

(i) meet developmental goals and, to the extent possible, the challenging expectations that have been established for all children; and

(ii) be prepared to lead productive and independent lives to the maximum extent possible (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1401 (c)(5)

6

critical elements of transition

Transition

Assessment

Transition

Planning &

IEP

Interagency

&

Community

Services

Family

Involvement

Student

Involvement

Inclusion,

Access &

Accountability

Curriculum

&

Instruction

Critical Elements of Transition

Transition to

Adulthood

transition what is goal of idea
Transition – What is goal of IDEA?

Goal of IDEA is to promote maximum independence in adulthood

Goal of transition plan is to promote maximum transition plan in adulthood

Transition plan must address child’s interests, aptitudes, plans regarding education, career, housing and community involvement

8

transition planning is a process

Education or Training

  • Employment
  • Independent Living

Age Appropriate Transition Assessments

Transition Planning is a Process!

Step 1: Measurable Postsecondary Goals

Step 3: Needed Transition Services

Step 4: Annual IEP Goals

Step 2: Present Levels of Academic Performance

  • a. Course of Study
  • b. Needed Services:
  • Instruction
  • Related Services
  • Community Experiences
  • Employment and other post-school adult living objectives
  • Daily Living skills & Functional Vocational Assessment (when appropriate)

Step 5:

Summary of Performance

what are transition services
What are transition services?

Definition of transition services in the IDEA: …acoordinated set of activities… designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused 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…

The data just presented indicates a need for improved “results.”

slide11
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has required transition language in the IEP since 1990 with the following:
  • An expectation of coordinated services
  • Transition planning based on the student's interest and preferences
  • Including instruction, related services, community experiences, development of employment, or other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and a functional evaluation
  • Transition services
  • Transferring rights at the age of majority
the individuals with disabilities education act of 2004 requires
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Actof 2004 requires:

Transition language in the IEP at age 16

AT THE LATEST! Services can begin as early as IEP team determines necessary.

  • Measurable postsecondary goals
  • Based on age-appropriate assessments related to: training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills
  • Providing a Summary of Performance upon school exit
what are postsecondary goals
What are Postsecondary Goals?

The IDEA ‘04 requires:

appropriate, measurable postsecondary goals based on age-appropriate assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills

Postsecondary goals are what the student plans to do upon school exit

what are postsecondary goals1
What are Postsecondary Goals?

The IDEA indicates the need for:

… measurable post-secondary goals … related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills

What is the difference between

training and education?

what are postsecondary goals2
What are Postsecondary Goals?
  • Training = a program leading to high school completion or certificate like adult education or a short-term training program like a vocational program.
  • Education = community or technical colleges (generally two-year programs) or college or university (generally four-year programs)
without goals a transition plan becomes a transition to nowhere
“Without goals, a transition plan becomes a transition to nowhere.”
  • IEP inadequate where not based on transition evaluation, contains inadequate transition services, lacks goals.
  • ITP is a FLEXIBLE roadmap to a destination that matters!
what are age appropriate transition assessments
What are Age-Appropriate Transition Assessments?
  • What is age-appropriate?

Age-appropriate means chronological rather than development age

  • What is the purpose of transition assessments?

To provide the team with meaningful information to make appropriate decisions. Insufficient information is a major obstacle to collaboration and planning!

what are age appropriate transition assessments1
What are Age-Appropriate Transition Assessments?

The IDEA ’04 requires:

appropriate, measurable postsecondary goals based on age-appropriate assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills

For some students, a FUNCTIONAL VOCATIONAL ASSESSMENT is necessary to drive appropriate services.

four step iep process
Four-Step IEP Process
  • Identify student’s post-school goals
  • Determine present levels of performance
  • Develop annual goals to support post-school goals
  • Identify needed transition services
age appropriate transition assessments outcomes to consider where needed
Independent living

Selecting a lifestyle and living arrangement

Money management

Health care

Mobility (travel training, driver’s license)

Independent living

Nutrition

Cooking/cleaning

Community participation

Accessing resources

Connections established with adult service providers

Age-Appropriate Transition AssessmentsOutcomes to Consider, where needed
what are annual iep goals that support postsecondary goals
What are Annual IEP Goals that Support Postsecondary Goals?
  • Does the student know what his/her post-school goals are for education or training?
  • Does the student know what his/her post-school goals are for employment?

If not, annual goals to support self awareness and career exploration might be appropriate.

Annual goals for work or work-like experience (service learning, WorkAbility program, Regional Occupational Program) may also help the student make informed decisions.

what are annual iep goals that support postsecondary goals1
What are Annual IEP Goals that Support Postsecondary Goals?
  • Does the student know what their post-school options for independent living are?

If not, annual goals to support daily living skills, exploration about housing options and community resources might be appropriate.

  • Does the student need connections to post-school adult service providers?

If so, annual goals to establish those connections are appropriate.

what are annual iep goals that support postsecondary goals2
What are Annual IEP Goals that Support Postsecondary Goals?

Annual goals that support postsecondary goals for:

Instruction/training

Employment

Independent living

Most sample annual goals show alignment with selected English/language arts content standards or CAPA levels

what are transition services1
What are Transition Services?

IDEA ’04 requires

transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those (postsecondary) goals

what are transition services2
What are Transition Services?

A. Courses of study are:

    • A multi-year description of coursework (necessary) to achieve the student’s desired post-school goals.
  • For students working toward a general diploma, a transcript that lists courses taken/courses required may be appropriate.
  • For students working toward a certificate of achievement/completion, a listing of the academic and functional courses may be appropriate.
what are transition services3
What are Transition Services?

A. Transition services may be:

  • Services the student needs to complete needed courses and succeed in the general curriculum
  • Services the student needs to accomplish the annual IEP goals that support the postsecondary goals, such as assistance gaining work experience or obtaining a social security number or driver’s license
what is a summary of performance
What is a Summary of Performance?

The purpose of the summary is to provide the student with a document that will help establish eligibility for reasonable accommodations and supports in post-school settings. It is also useful for the Vocational Rehabilitation Comprehensive Assessment process.

It is NOT an assessment in itself!

what is a summary of performance1
What is a Summary of Performance?

Part 1: Background information

Part 2: Student’s postsecondary goals

Part 3: Academic and functional performance

Describes accommodations/modifications

Part 4: Recommendations to assist goals

Part 5: Student input (recommended)

  • Note: This is NOT an assessment. However, in most cases, to access DSP services in college, recent (No more than 3 years) assessment is required.
what can parents do to help
Families provide critical relevant information!

Participate in the process—listen, question, collaborate and challenge on high stakes issues

Negotiate in good will—follow through on your end, ask what you can do to support teachers, staff.

Remind team of who this youth IS and what they CAN do.

What am I most worried about?

Is there something I can recommend?

If your child cannot participate in meeting, speak to their dreams and interests—bring them in in any way possible.

Bring in concrete examples of strengths and challenges to help team understand.

What Can Parents Do to Help?
what can parents do to help1
Supporting Self Determination and Advocacy

What can you do to encourage self determination and advocacy?

Help youth make doctor appointments

Provide incremental independence opportunities

Ensure youth understands his/her disability, and can explain it to others

Make sure student understands LEGAL rights and responsibilities

Encourage youth to USE accomodations.

PROVIDE PRACTICE OPPORTUNITIES!

Student Rights and Responsibilities.

What are your child’s rights?

What are your child’s responsibilities?

Never hesitate to bring team back together if things aren’t working—do it sooner rather than later.

ADVOCATE BEYOND YOUR OWN STUDENT!

GET INVOLVED!

PARTICIPATE IN LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES!

What Can Parents Do to Help?
the family participation fund to encourage engagement get paid to attend cac meetings
The Family Participation Fund:$ to Encourage Engagement!GET PAID TO ATTEND CAC MEETINGS!
  • The Family Participation Fund provides assistance for family members to attend and participate in policy-making meetings.
  • TO QUALIFY FOR FUNDING, Families must:
  • Have a child with disabilities.
  • Attend local, regional or statewide meetings to provide their ideas to decision makers about education policy.These meetings include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • The Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC);
    • The Regional Coordinating Councils;
    • The State Special Education Advisory Committees;
    • Task forces/committees where families provide input on issues affecting the education of children with disabilities, to appropriate decision makers.
family participation fund
Family Participation Fund

Family members may:

  • One person per household per activity may apply for stipend and reimbursement.
  • $1,000.00 per person per year maximum.
  • Will not be receiving a stipend from the agency conducting the meeting
  • Total number of meetings reimbursable per month is two (2) meetings
  • Applications must be received within 30 days of the meeting that was attended.
    • NOTE: Trainings, Workshops, Lobbying and Conferences are NOT paid for under this program.
  • SEE HANDOUT!
what about the age of majority
What about the Age of Majority?
  • One year before student will turn 18, parent and student need notice that this is coming.
  • What happens when students reach the age of majority (18 years old)? They are in the driver’s seat.
  • Ask team: How can we help student get ready for this?
  • Questions to consider:
    • Is your child able to make informed decisions?
    • Will your child live independently?
    • Who can help with conservatorship?
new rule on parent participation
New Rule on Parent Participation

Student has a right to complete a Delegation of Authority or some other mechanism for allowing the parent to participate on behalf of the student even if parent is not taking conservatorship

Even in this case, make every effort to involve and engage youth!

**See sample in your packet

35

35

what agencies support transition
What Agencies Support Transition?

There are many! See checklist in Transition to Adult Living Guide in packet

  • Lists major federal/state agencies that support transition
  • Describes eligibility and services
  • State-level contact information is listed to obtain regional agency assistance.
interagency collaboration is essential and difficult
Department of Developmental Services (DDS/Regional Center) caseworker

County Mental Health

District Foster Youth Liaison (where applicable)

Workability Staff/Job Coaching program

Department of Rehabilitation

Vocational Assessment professional

Health Care Coordinators / Social Workers /Therapists

Any other Agency or individuals that may be responsible for input or delivery of plan services.

Interagency Collaboration is Essential—and Difficult!
if student is eligible for support from other agencies address
If student is eligible for support from other agencies, address:

Steps for applying and determining eligibility

Assistance with securing enrollment

Plan for effective use

Examples: Center for Independent Living, Department of Rehabilitation, Center for Assistive Technology, Social Security Admin, Adult Assisted Living Program…

38

so what about the cahsee
So what about the CAHSEE?
  • See DREDF Special Edition for September 2009.
  • State Exit Exam is not required for students with a 504 or IEP plan beginning this year
  • Not retroactive
  • Students must still attempt exam in 10th grade
  • Not an excuse for not providing services, supports, opportunities for students to meet all graduation requirements and state standards, but allows school boards to continue setting their requirements with some flexibility for students with disabilities
eligibility for accommodations on act sat graduate and licensing exams
Eligibility for accommodations on ACT/SAT, Graduate and Licensing Exams

Requires documentation, e.g., evaluation and special education or 504 status

No longer flagged on reports

Evaluation agencies toughening criteria

Must now link disability to history of adverse impact in relation to general population

40

burden on student applicant to document disability
Burden on student/applicant to document disability

In testing and education context, student must affirmatively request and document need for accommodation

Same in employment context, but applicant must balance risks of disclosure in employment context with benefits

41

additional factors in determining eligibility for accommodation
Additional factors in determining eligibility for accommodation:

Must be otherwise qualified

Provides right to accommodations, but not remedial services

Accommodations cannot be unduly burdensome or fundamentally alter nature of program

42

criteria for eligibility for accommodations
Criteria for Eligibility for Accommodations

Must have up-to-date evaluation (generally not more than 3 years old—senior year is ideal

IEP or 504 plan insufficient—need ASSESSMENT REPORTS

Special education/Section 504 eligibility helps – not legally essential, but functionally essential

Evaluation must be by qualified professional

Must show impairment in comparison to average population

Must link need for accommodation to impairment

43

when do services stop
When do services stop?

Graduation with regular diploma.

22nd birthday in California

44

the buck stops with the school
The Buck Stops with the School

If the Transition Plan involves other agencies and they fail to deliver, the school must reconvene the IEP to “identify alternative strategies to meet the transition objectives….20 USC 1414 (d)(6)

45

remember
Remember:
  • ACCOUNTABILITY IS KEY:IEP Team should never assign responsibility to a person or Agency not present to ACCEPT and UNDERSTAND what is needed!
  • ASK: What tools, modifications/accommodations, services, staff training and relationships will support Student in meeting this goal…
  • Cost cannot be a consideration—Appropriateness and identified need are the issue.
key components of success
Key Components of Success:

Provide youth with maximum input into charting their own course without forfeiting adult support or safety nets available—the Training Wheels metaphor.

School-Based Preparatory Experiences and environments to support skill acquisition, educational and vocational opportunities INDIVIDUALIZED to the student’s own goals.

Career Preparation and Work-Based Learning Experiences while still in school …(could be an ESY service)

final remarks
FINAL REMARKS
  • Transition Planning should start early
  • Plan must be Person Centered
  • Plan must link activities, classes and learning at school to post secondary goals
  • Parents are critical partners in the process
  • Students should be increasingly in the driver’s seat from 16 on.
  • Interagency collaboration is key
  • JOIN THE CAC!