by Dr. Darlene Magito McLaughlin
As students approach middle school and high school, parent training needs often
shift from the “here and now” to “thinking and planning for the future”. Our February inservice, led by Theresa Giacobbe-Grieco, shed light on the many tools and strategies for supporting families in planning and preparing for a smooth transition from school age services. The first step is to determine the strengths, needs, and priorities of the student and the family. This is accomplished through a student-centered process, listening to parents talk about the vision for their child, and listening to the child talk about their vision for life after school is over. PBS consultants are encouraged to use “person-centered planning” maps and tools, located on the Shared Drive, to facilitate this process. It is also helpful to review the child’s IEP, educational classification, and clinical diagnoses, so you can get a sense of what supports and services will be the most appropriate.
Next, the consultant should plan out a series of parent trainings, outlining the process of transition, and honing in on the particular resource needs of the student and family. PBS’ “Transition E-checklist”, located on our Shared Drive, will be an invaluable tool for planning your discussions. The E-checklist will enable you to explore and choose pathways for transition that are the most likely to lead to the desired outcomes. Transition planning is based on the student’s strengths, preferences, interests, educational program, and career experiences/aspirations. The 12 “Touch points” on the PBS E-checklist will provide you with guidance on navigating the transition process. When using the tool, each area is assessed and evaluated as either “in progress” or “completed” The links that are included will direct users to the most up-to-date information and resources that we have available on a particular topic. Many of these resources are publicly available, and others are PBS proprietary materials .
The 12 Touch Points of the Transition checklist include:
(1) Person-centered planning
(2) Pathways to graduation
(3) OPWDD eligibility resources
(4) Long term care coordination
(5) Pathways to employment
(6) Medical care
(8) Financial resources
(11) Social lIfe and independent living skills; and
(12) College resources.
How much or how little time is spent on each area will depend on the needs of the student and family. Our job is to make sure that everyone is working together and doing what needs to be done in order to ensure the best possible outcome for the student. It’s never too soon to start planning!