Do you have a child with autism that is 16 years of age or above, receiving special education services? Do you worry about what will happen to your child, after they are no long eligible, for special education services at the age of 22? Would you like to learn what 4 areas need to be considered when you are writing a transition plan for your child? This article will discuss four important areas of transition, that must be included ,when special education personnel write a transition plan for your child.The Individual with Disabilities Education Act require a transition plan and needed transition services on the plan, for all children with disabilities who are 16 years of age. Some states require that the plan be developed when the child is 14 and ½, so check with your state board of education and see what the age requirements are in your state.Transition Services means a coordinated set of activities, designed in a result oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement, of the child with a disability to facilitate movement from school to post school activities.There are 4 areas that must be addressed in the transition plan, these are:1. Employment is defined as competitive, supported etc. Transition assessments may be done in the area of employment to determine Strengths, weaknesses, preferences and interest of the student in developing post school outcomes. You may request a functional vocational evaluation, if you think that your child needs it. It is important to have high expectations in the area of employment so to help a child reach their full potential.2. Post Secondary Education is defined as college 2 yr. 4 yr, trade school, vocational school based on student preference. The transition goals should help bring the student to the place they need to be in order to go to post secondary education.3. Post Secondary Training is defined as vocational training, independent living skills training. This is different from #2 because this training is usually given by an agency that works with adults with disabilities. This would be appropriate for students with moderate to severe disabilities, though high expectations should still be expected. Hopefully this training can be given in the community and not at the agencies building (most people refer to such as sheltered workshops). Community is always better!4. Independent Living Skills training if needed, and is defined as, activities of daily living, functional home skills, cooking, shopping, housework, money skills, budgets, transportation, recreation/leisure, and future planning.I believe that all students regardless of the level of their disability must be given functional skills training and independent living skills training. It will help the adult become as independent as they can be, and will ensure that they reach their full potential.If you make sure that your child’s transition plan includes these 4 areas: Employment, Post secondary education, Post secondary training, and Independent Living Skills training, your child will be on their way to reaching their full potential as an adult.
Do you have a 17 or 18 year old with a disability receiving special education services? Have you been told that your 17 or 18 year old with autism or a learning disability, will be given a certificate of attendance? Have you also been told that your child will no longer be eligible for special education services, if they receive a certificate of attendance? This article will discuss a new tactic by some special education personnel to convince parents that their child is no longer eligible for special education. The tactic is certificates of attendance and will be discussed.Several months ago I heard from a parent in Pennsylvania that had this tactic used on her. She contacted me and asked me what I thought about this issue.The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states the following: The obligation to make a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to all children with disabilities does not apply with respect to the following: Children with disabilities who have graduated from high school with a regular high school diploma.The truth is that a Certificate of Attendance does not make a child ineligible for special education services. IDEA also states that children with disabilities have the right to be educated from the age of 3 years to 21 years. As long as the child does not accept a regular education diploma, they are eligible to receive special education services.Another thing that parents must keep in mind is the importance of functional skills as well as academic skills. When IDEA was reauthorized in 2004 Congress added a section about functional skills. A child’s IEP must now include present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. Make sure that your school district is testing your child in the area of functional performance.For children over 13 years of age I recommend the Scale of Independent Behavior. It is performed by parent survey, which means that the parent answers questions about what their child can do and cannot do. This scale covers: activities of daily living, communication, functional skills, job skills etc. Awesome measure of a young persons functional ability.Also the purpose of IDEA is to: prepare children with disabilities for further education, employment, and independent living. If a child who is 17 or 18 years old and is not ready for post school learning, a job, or independent living they may need additional years of education. Parents often overlook functional skills when advocating for their child’s education.If your school district tries to tell you that a Certificate of Attendance ends your child’s right to further special education services, consider filing a complaint with your state board of education. In my experience the more parents stand up to special education personnel who are not truthful the less they try and get away with. Do not let your child’s life be ruined by deceptions from some special education personnel. Good Luck-keep up the fight!