Curriculum and skill development
Successful Transition programming requires a change in mindset on the part of the special educator, parent and student. We must shift from an academic model of service and think in terms of real-life expectations. Academic programming may continue to be important for some students, but for others, functional skills may be more beneficial.
The Ten Sigma Targeting Transition program was designed to assist in the Transition process and provides a common language, a curriculum, a systematic approach to skill building, a management and accountability system, and a user friendly way for IEP teams to develop goals and objectives that focus on the 5 areas of Transition. The teaching of Transition skills, as defined under IDEA, is the number one priority of Transition Plus staff. In order to assist students in focusing on the Transition skills, teachers, case managers and work coordinators utilize a 43-skill transition curriculum as a guide for helping students manage the transition from school to life after graduation.
The 43 skills are divided into seven areas: (1) Workplace Skills and Attitudes, (2) Responsibility, (3) Interacting with Others, (4) Technology Skills, (5) Basic Academic Skills, (6) Habits of Wellness, and (7) Planning for Success. During the Intake Process, Transition Plus staff will work closely with the high school case manager to gain knowledge of each individual student's needs. As a parent, you should complete a checklist/summary of needs based on the 5 areas of Transition. This checklist will be discussed at the Intake and will allow the team to create IEP goals and objectives focusing on the areas of highest need. This checklist will align with the 7 skill areas listed above and will allow the team to develop skill development opportunities based on the individual needs of the students assigned.
Transition areas as defined under I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
Jobs and Job Training
Students will have the opportunity to focus on skill development in the areas of Workplace Skills and Attitudes, Responsibility, Interacting with Others, Basic Academic Skills, Planning for Success and Computer and Internet Skills. Transition Plus offers a variety of community-based settings such as job shadow, volunteer sites, work skill/assessment center, competitive employment and internship. Students are supported by job coaches in some sites and are assigned to a work coordinator as part of their IEP team. Most students will be able to complete the job search process with a goal of becoming employed as described in their IEP. Work Seminar classes are a part of most student schedules at Transition Plus and are a requirement if students are competitively employed. Seminar topics may include; previous employment history, personal work values, employment interests, job search skills, interviewing skills, dressing for success and accepting employment. Workplace safety, problem solving/conflict management, maintaining positive relationships and learning to accept praise and constructive criticism are important topics that are included in all levels of seminar.
Recreation and Leisure
Student-driven Recreation and Leisure groups plan activities in this area. Typically there are activities offered each week. Depending on the level of programming, skill development may focus on Computer and Internet Skills, Basic Academic Skills, Interacting with Others, and Habits of Wellness. Activities such as planning and researching cost comparison and budgeting, reading for understanding, team work/collaboration and problem solving, stress and time management are included in the development of these skill areas.
Because Transition Plus is a community-based program, this transition area tends to appear across many IEP goals and objectives. Some examples of Community Participation may include skill development in the following areas: Interacting with Others, Responsibility, Habits of Wellness, Computer and Internet Skills, Self Advocacy, Community Resources, and Transportation. Activities may include conversing on the phone, making appointments, working on group or personal goals, accepting responsibility for actions, learning the legal system, participating in regular health care, making good choices, internet and e-mail skills, and accessing needed resources.
The goal of Transition Plus is to produce young adults who are as productive and independent as possible. By developing the necessary life skills, graduates of Transition Plus are better equipped to face day-to-day obstacles in independent living. This transition area can include skill development in all areas and must be focused on the IEP goals developed by the team.
Workplace Skills and Attitudes, Responsibility, Interacting with Others, Basic Academic Skills, Habits of Wellness, Planning for Success, and Computer and Internet Skills all offer important independent living skill development opportunities that will affect the way a young adult transitions to adulthood. While it is impossible to list them all, activities offered in this area may include; home safety and maintenance, menu planning and prep, comparison shopping and budgets, consumer skills and banking, employment and income, healthy relationships and choices, self advocacy and community supports, and understanding your disability.
Often we equate post-secondary to college or training programs. At Transition Plus, we encourage students and families to look at post-school planning and remember that this plan should be personal to each student. Again, this transition area can include skill development in all areas and must be focused on the IEP goals developed by the team.
Workplace Skills and Attitudes, Responsibility, Interacting with Others, Basic Academic Skills, Habits of Wellness, Planning for Success, and Computer and Internet Skills all offer important post school planning opportunities that will affect the way a young adult transitions to adulthood. Some post-school planning opportunities that may be available include: Hennepin Technical College Pathways career exploration courses, Post–Secondary Education Options college tuition program, Goodwill training programs, Community Education classes, Day Placement programs such as Opportunity Partners and Choice, Vocational Rehabilitation Services support, Hennepin/Carver County Adult Services support.