In the land of special education once a student turns 14-16 a significant part of Individual Education Planning focuses on something called a transition plan, where the team including parents, students, teachers and others’ who work with the student help direct the student through a series of activities designed to end up with the student making a choice about what they may want to do post high school and beyond!
While we used to believe that post secondary college options were not for our Intellectually Disabled, today we know differently, and now we move on to promote this to others.
A paragraph from the Community for Inclusion lays the groundwork for this journey, “Of all students with disabilities, those with intellectual disabilities have the poorest post-school outcomes. Until recently, the option of attending college, especially the opportunity to participate in typical coursework, has not been available to high school students with intellectual disabilities. The usual options for these students, especially those past the age of 18, have been limited to segregated life skills or community-based transition programs. Inclusive PSE (post secondary education) options are beginning to replace such programs and have great potential to improve student outcomes.“
If you are familiar with planning transitions it should be easy to add college to your list of options and turn them into activities for your students. If you are unfamiliar with college as an option for your students with intellectual disabilities please check out the information from Thinkcollege.net where you will be introduced to planning documents, webinars, research and journal articles. The best part of this informative website includes student videos about why they want to go to college.
As an educator building transition plans for my students, I have a vision that all my students will take a college class at our local community college while they are still in high school, dual enrollment. What I have learned since becoming familiar with Thinkcollege.net is that all of my students can continue with a customized college experience once they graduate from high school and are no longer considered as a dual enrollment student. Dual enrollment will help them get their foot in the door and a customized college program will keep them there. The benefits of our students with ID continuing in a college program include: “... that students with intellectual disabilities who had some type of PSE experience were much more likely to obtain competitive employment, required fewer supports, and earned higher wages. Additionally, students had increased self-esteem and expanded social networks that included students without disabilities, and all involved had overall higher expectations for these students.”
Planning for our special education students will keep them on the road towards being a lifelong learner. It is exciting to be involved with new options for our students and their families.
For Families: http://www.thinkcollege.net/for-families/for-families
For Students: http://www.thinkcollege.net/for-students/for-students
For Professionals: http://www.thinkcollege.net/for-professionals/for-professionals
cross posted Techlearning.com