Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Places You'll Go

The Places You’ll Go!

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  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 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:
For Students:
For Professionals:
Includes articles, videos, and procedures ,past webinars
 cross posted

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Think college

College options for people with cognitive challenges.

Colleges can be inclusive as possible. It is simply the right thing to do!
Higher education opportunity act 2008 implemented 2010
Definition of a student with intellectual disability
Model demonstration
National coordination

Work study for student.
Think college for intellectual disability
WHO were covered with IDEA

Why is college important for ID?
26% more likely to leave with vocational
58% of students with disability had goal for college
11% of students with ID had a goal to attend college
Coordinating center at UMASS Boston
Check out office of special education programs previous directors who championed this.
Three kinds of programs STRIVE U is a segregated program
Pathway to college
Traditional - matriculated through a program
Non matriculated alternate - plan for the student with a job in mind
High Aspirations

Under higher Ed act authorized by financial aid meets the requirements- must work with financial aid office
Full access to course catalogue
Partial or limited access
No access all specially designed

Kinds of PSE experiences
Dual enrollment
Duly enrollment via a program on a college campus to serve ID/DD
Individuals accessing college options
TPPSID. Transition and post secondary for students with intellectual disabilities
Grant money
5 year cycle for funding
However use the lessons learned
Many TPPSID programs are serving autistic and asperger syndrome students

We can make a college experience available to more students

Give kids inclusive classrooms
Give them the technology

Unless kids have been exposed to algebra they may have a hard time with accuplacer test
73% of Maine students enrolling in community colleges are taking remedial classes in English and Math.
Madeleine Will quote

Interactives on for middle and high schoolers
Deb Gilmer Syntiro

Univ of Vermont
Many schools in MA

Discovery employment

.05% of people ever get off Social Security.
So , best to look at customized employment.
People are always hiring. Just need to convince you there is a person to fill your needs
Looking for a opportunity for a career or a job. Give our students a career not job.
Solve. One person one job. Wages at or above minimum wage.
Discover and describe a job. Find the unmet need at the job.
Employment specialist course is a 40 hour course anyone can take. One week in Augusta , 250.00. VA commonwealth offers it.
This economic potential is good for the community .
Do you know all the businesses on your main street? Make it your job to know
This is a 40 hour course. Meet the individual in their home. Where they are comfortable. See people doing certain tasks. Find the ideal conditions for
Really allows a student to follow
Their dreams and have a successful career.
Customized employment allows us to capitalize on strengths of individual
Everybody can work!
If a day
Program , day program, costs 22,,000 per year, let's
Half and invest in a career.

Employment for all

Customized employment. Streamed on website

Customized work for the person
Many self employed .
Discovery is the foundation for customized work. Where the person is considered not the disability
Process of discovery takes about 80 weeks to complete
People look less disabled when they are at work.
Discovery is not person centered planning
It is different.

Employment First

Integrated community- based employment as a priority for state funding. Same wage expectations for all. Dreams for your child. What are you doing to work towards your goal. Specific items to put on a checklist. (to check off at each IEP) There is a Maine transition network. Employment First across the country TN WA CA IN MN GA ND WI MI KS OH
What is happening in ME?
Alliance for full participation.
What is the progression what is our score , what is the plan, number of changes
Legislative and statutory change attitudes funding and how system responds and provides services.
Youth with disabilities leaving HS must have an opportunity and expectation and supports to enter the workforce
Adults too
Educators and parents must share the vision and gain the knowledge and skill necessary to realize the vision.
We have too many life skills isolated classes with the outcome is a job

What will it take to re- tool our services and plans?
Customized employment where individuals now are fully supported with income and insurance.
Educators need to understand the school to work transition intricacies.
Engage with schools so firmly making a plan for after school employment

APSE is a state organization for employment

We have talked transition for so long and we are still so bad with it, check out Florida

Idea, go to Chamber of Commerce to find out what jobs are not being filled

Ask your student, what do you want to be doing the year after you get out of HS? Make it part of the transition plan.

Teach self advocacy to students and parents.
Post school success!!!
Extent kids participate in gen Ed
After school activities, band, sports, drama,
After school and summer employment

Look at the place kids want to work with the kid,

Personal relationship with employers and student, ask student lots of questions.

Educators must not only have college night but must have transition to work meetings with VR and other agencies

Transition worksho Orono

Raising aspirations
How we did things years ago we grouped only our special education students and adults. Everything was compartmentalized and separate!!! Then started asking questions how to do this better!! Need to get individualized valued work for all. It is not just about a job it is about living. How do we build the necessary supports?
Provide for one person at a time. Very creative individual options. Gail Fanjoy , speaker, what are we waiting for? We still isolate people with public support dollars.
5 areas of accomplishment.
Community and what your community has to offer. Choice in everyday decisions. Competence the opportunity to be functional and valued. Connections to people without disabilities . Community participation. Community is relationships.
Transition planning is the bus. Be the driver.
Top 10 list
Make the VR Referral no wait list
Keep regular contact with case manager
Contact legislators to keep funding
Become familiar with low income housing in community
Brainstorm with friends and family about potential jobs
Create a circle of friends without disabilities
Encourage son or daughter to participate in home and community
Work on competences 2 lists. Write all the things parents do for or to the child. Then next list what they do for themselves and move things to the kids list
Become familiar with what is available for your child in the community your community is it personalized for your child
Get support for yourself, the parent.

Dream big!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Where did you learn to do that?

If you live in the US, you will understand the lonely repair man who sits in his office and waits for something to break, in order to keep him busy and provide value and purpose to his life. I have a theory about how he spends his time, but read on.
It used to be that when something broke with my home appliances, I would procrastinate, then finally call our local repair man, who would schedule a time, when I was home, to repair the broken item. I must still say, that I have a broken turn table on my microwave and a broken water flow on my refrigerator door that have not been addressed. However, for me, a simple project arose and I was determined to fix my dishwasher dish racks that had begun to rust and fall apart.

Two weeks ago, I found the model number on my dishwasher, used my google search, found an online appliance parts store. Now, the dishwasher parts were expensive, but still cheaper than a new dishwasher. When I looked at the dishwasher rack, I told myself that I could fix it!

Then part way down the page I found a video, titled, replacing your dishwasher racks, on youtube!  I wondered why a repair parts place would have a video for repair people to watch, didn’t they already know? I watched the video and thought to myself, I can fix this. So this video isn't for the lonely repairman but rather you and I.

I searched out two parts online stores, found a site that did not charge a shipping cost, and spent half of what the dishwasher would cost if we replaced it (minus labor and time for my husband to install the new dishwasher). The online parts store claimed the parts would ship out that day and I would be installing parts the next day. There was an online chat associate who helped me confirm the correct part number and rack and I ordered the two racks.

The next day there was a huge box in the garage and I looked at it. I considered opening the box, but decided to wait for the weekend.

Two days later, I loaded the youtube video, opened the box and uninstalled the old racks, carefully watching the process so I could attempt to reverse it. Then I watched the youtube videos, several times. All I needed was a screwdriver and kitchen table knife. I went to work. Finally with enough bravado I got my screwdriver, YouTube video and I went to work.  It was easy enough to take the racks out. Then I began with the video, again. When I was sure I understood the process I began the repair. The old, rusty,  top rack came out easily and I unpacked the new rack, slid it onto the roller and secured it into place. Next came the bottom rack. I needed to take out the spray arm first, then I was able to,slide the old rack out, replace the new rack, and before I installed the final clip to the roller,  I needed to go back to the video one more time! After one more viewing I was ready to  finish this project. I was happy.

 My husband was happy he did not need to figure this out, and we have a pretty, updated, working dishwasher. When I shared this with my teaching partner she said she used YouTube when she needed to learn how to put air in the tires on her car. Where else would you learn how to change a battery on your ipod? Another friend learned how to take care of a wild rat, as well as  how to plant azaleas, and yet another friend learned how to clean a slow draining sink and at the same time she learned to sing in the shower the proper way! Yet another friend learned how to make a ninja mask from a tee-shirt. I could go on and on. Lastly, a friend checked out how to make 3D books with her students on YouTube.  Now that is what I am talking about!  It is like having that lonely repairman in your back pocket! (Maybe he spends his time on youtube looking for something else to do?)

So, why are we still turning off YouTube in our classrooms? Check it out,

 coakes picture