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Transition Planning for Positive Adult Outcomes for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Domenico Cavaiuolo, Ph.D. Daniel Steere, Ph.D. East Stroudsburg University Department of Special Education & Rehabilitation. Fundamental Questions. What is the purpose of public education?

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Transition Planning for Positive Adult Outcomes for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders


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    1. Transition Planning for Positive Adult Outcomes for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders Domenico Cavaiuolo, Ph.D. Daniel Steere, Ph.D. East Stroudsburg University Department of Special Education & Rehabilitation

    2. Fundamental Questions • What is the purpose of public education? • Where are the former students of the special education with ASD?

    3. What have been the outcomes of students with ASD leaving schools • Data from NLTS-2 study: • 56% of youths with ASD are engaged in employment, postsecondary education and/or job training • 26% – 31% of students with ASD are reported to be employed upon exiting school • 26% of students with ASD are in postsecondary education or training

    4. Outcomes: Data from NLTS-2 study: • Students with ASD are among the least likely to be actively involved with individual friends • 44% never visit with a friend • 83% never receive telephone calls from friends

    5. Outcomes:Data from NLTS-2 study: • 45% of students with ASD have outcome statements of competitive or supported employment • 15% have outcomes statements that focus on sheltered employment • 2.6% of students with ASD were reported to take a leadership role in their transition planning IEP meetings • 67% were not present at their planning meetings or did not participate

    6. So what does the data tell us about education, transition and the IEP process for students with ASD?

    7. IDEA-04 Definition • “ …transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a student, designed within a results oriented process, which promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.”

    8. IDEA 04 Definition: Key Points • A coordinated set of activities • Designed within a results-oriented process that is focused on: • Improving academic and functional achievement in post-school activities, and • Is based upon the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s preferences and interests

    9. Responsibilities • The main responsibility of schools is preparing students with ASD and other disabilities for life after high school • HOW? • Among other things, a fundamental component is SELF-DETERMINATION

    10. Who are the Key Stakeholders in this Process? • Family • Students • School/Teachers • Community Providers • Potential Funding Sources/Government Agencies/Business Community

    11. Key Elements that Make the Difference in Transition Planning • Proactive Planning = Collaboration and preparedness – fulfilling the responsibility for transition • Students = Self-determination and student involvement in planning • Families = Involvement in planning • School = “Appropriate” curriculum content for attainment of post-secondary outcomes

    12. Proactive Planning Transition Considerations at 14 – 16 • Identify the student’s interests and preferences – Conduct Person Centered Planning • Identify course of study that reflects the student’s post-school outcomes • Educational and community experiences have been identified based on post-school outcomes • Options to explore are included in the student’s IEP

    13. Transition Considerations at 14 – 16 • Student learns to and is encouraged to make choices and decisions • Student is learning self-advocacy and self-determination skills • Accommodations and modifications are being explored as tools to access education, work, housing & community • Provide for opportunities for developing friends and relationships

    14. Transition Considerations at 16 – and Older • Providers identified and linked to community services • Community service providers, VR, DD, adult services have been invited • Family and student provided with information on adult services • Family and student have been guided toward financial support, SSI, Medical Assistance, etc. if needed

    15. Transition Considerations at 16 – and Older • Family and student have completed applications for services • Help student to develop portfolio and resume • Student is actively learning needed independent living skills • Student has identified post-school outcomes

    16. Transition Considerations at 16 – and Older • Student is learning responsible behavior that is necessary for success in employment, post-secondary education and other community settings in adulthood • The student is taking the necessary steps to register to vote and apply for selective service

    17. Students: Self Determination for Effective Transition Planning • In order to make decisions, young people need to know what they like, are good at, and are interested in • To make choices about careers, recreation, and places to live, students need choice making and decision making skills • To participate in planning, students need to be able to communicate choices and desires

    18. Communication!!!!!! • Address the communication issue of the student with ASD as early as possible • What is the best mode of communication for the student?

    19. Some Examples • Preparing for an IEP meeting – Social Stories • Participating in the meeting or even leading the meeting • Researching options for the future • Evaluating options

    20. Some Examples • Choosing courses to take • Developing a resume • Applying for services • Contacting sources of natural support for help • Learning to describe one’s own disability – Self Awareness

    21. Some Examples • Learning to self advocate for accommodations • Evaluating progress toward the achievement of the desired outcomes • Learning to be assertive, disagree, and speak up

    22. Self-Determined Life Guarding

    23. Families: Involvement in the Transition Planning • Transition from school to adult life is a major life cycle change! • Be prepared to switch from the Special Education system to the Adult Services world • Gather information and be informed • Develop a network of support “natural support” system for the student

    24. Families: Involvement in the Transition Planning • Connect with other families as a sources of support • Be clear of the expectations for the student – too low or too high? • Develop a clear picture of your son/daughter with regards to work, postsecondary education, housing, etc. • Have a life plan – Legal planning – Special Needs Trust

    25. Great Ideas to Improve Planning • Be prepared before the meeting so as to understand the process and play an active role in planning • Conduct person centered planning on an ongoing basis • Encourage the development of an action plan for all team members, include clear directions for responsibility for all

    26. Great Ideas to Improve Planning • Encourage as many experiences as possible and then help the student reflect on them • Revise the plan when needed • Start early!!

    27. Sometimes Mothers can be Pushy

    28. Curriculum & Instruction Issues • What should we be teaching student with ASD of transition age? • How do we infuse functional skills into the general education curriculum? • Where should instruction take place?

    29. What to Teach • Depends on the desired post-school outcomes (Backward Planning) • Depends on the degree to which the typical curriculum can be adapted to meet the needs of a particular student

    30. The IEP Process Annual Goals and Objectives Post School Outcomes Present Levels of Performance Statementof Transition Needs

    31. What to Teach • We should consider basic living skills that all students need for success (functional skills) • We should consider recommendations from business and industry • Generalized skills and abilities are most useful and functional

    32. What to Teach • Self-determination skills • Social skills • Requisite skills for college prep and/or technical training school

    33. Research in Effectiveness of Transition Planning • The consensus is that earlier planning is beneficial (as early as age 14) (Flexer, Simmons, Luft, & Baer, 2005; Steere, Rose, & Cavaiuolo, 2006; Szymanski, 1994; Wehman, 2001)

    34. Research in Effectiveness of Transition Planning • Lack of specificity and completeness of transition sections of IEPs have been noted (Grigal, Test, Beattie, & Wood, 1997; Katsiyannis, Zhang, Woodruff, & Dixon, 2005; McMahan & Baer, 2001; Kraemer & Blacher; Powers, Gil-Kashiwabara, Geenan, Powers, Balandran, & Palmer, 2005)

    35. Research in Effectiveness of Transition Planning • Participation by students and their families in transition planning meetings is often inconsistent (Powers, Gil-Kashiwabara, Geenan, Powers, Balandran, & Palmer, 2005; Zhang, Ivester, Chen, & Katsiyannis, 2005)

    36. Research: Student Involvement • Student involvement in planning has often been lacking (Katsiyannis, Zhang, Woodruff, & Dixon, 2005; Martin, Greene, & Borland, 2004; Mason, Field, & Sawilowsky, 2004; McMahan & Baer, 2001; Powers, Gil-Kashiwabara, Geenan, Powers, Balandran, & Palmer, 2005)

    37. Research: Student Involvement • Other planning participants report positive results when students are active participants in their own transition IEP meetings (Grigal, Neubert, Moon, & Graham, 2003; Martin, Marshall, & Sale, 2004)

    38. Research: Student Involvement • Person-centered planning has been reported to be an effective planning approach in clarifying students strengths, interests, and preferences (Butterworth, Steere, & Whitney-Thomas, 1997; Hagner, Helm, & Butterworth, 1996; Held, Thoma, & Thomas, 2004; Miner & Bates, 1997; Steere, Gregory, Heiny, & Butterworth, 1995; Whitney-Thomas, Shaw, Honey, & Butterworth, 1998)

    39. Research: Student Involvement • The effectiveness of training in self-determination skills has been demonstrated with students with learning disabilities, mental retardation, and emotional disturbance (Allen, Smith, Test, Flowers, & Wood, 2001; Mason, McGahee-Kovac, Johnson, & Stillerman, 2002; Weymeyer & Lawrence, 1995)

    40. Research: Student Involvement • The effectiveness of teaching students to participate in IEP meetings has been demonstrated with students with learning disabilities, mental retardation, and emotional disturbance (Allen, Smith, Test, Flowers, & Wood, 2001; Lehmann, Bassett, Sands, Spencer, & Gliner, 1999; Test, Mason, Hughes, Konrad, Neale & Wood, 2004)

    41. Challenges facing students with ASD in implementing effective practices • Lack of awareness of ASD and how to fully work with the student with extreme movement differences • Ineffective transition programs to address the specific needs of the student with ASD • Poor transition plans that lead to poor or no outcomes after school

    42. Challenges facing students with ASD in implementing effective practices • Inexperienced staff and teachers to handle the challenges of the student with ASD • One-size-fits-all program design

    43. Effective Transition Practices for Students with ASD • Begin early • Conduct Person Centered Planning • Address personal interests, unique characteristics, skills and talents of the student • Build on experiences – create opportunities • Hone strengths, avoid weaknesses

    44. Some Final Thoughts • It requires creativity and commitment to include students and their families to be active participants in planning • Real choices come from real experiences, including work experiences • Student choices, interests and preferences are at the heart of transition planning

    45. Some Final Thoughts • Effective collaboration among agencies, schools, businesses, and community members is essential • Effective transition planning has positive impact on students, their families and their communities

    46. “Insanity is engaging in the same process over and over, and expecting different outcomes.” Albert Einstein

    47. Thanks for Listening Dr. Domenico Cavaiuolo Dcavaiuolo@po-box.esu.edu 570.422.3893 Dr. Daniel Steere Dsteere@po-box.esu.edu 570.422.