Thursday, February 10, 2011

How To Begin?

Are you the parent of a teen with significant disabilities, or do you provide services and support to that teen? If so, I need your advice.

It’s transition IEP time for my Ashley. Although technically my school district and I should have been talking about transition already (Ashley is going to be 16 years old next month), I was too focused on her moving to high school and receiving appropriate educational services. But now it is time, and I honestly am not sure where to start.

I mentioned last week that I was very pleased with the IEP and transition planning for my 20 year old daughter, Jessica. But Jessica’s disabilities are more commonplace than Ashley’s. Jessica fits into a model transitional approach and Ashley does not.

Ashley, as you may know if you have read my blog previously, is deafblind. She also has a seizure disorder, and her seizures are not completely controlled by medication. She still has 2-3 seizures a day on a good day. She approaches life with unbridled exuberance and doesn’t mind sharing her opinions, likes and dislikes with anyone.

Throughout elementary school and middle school, my school district underestimated her abilities. High school appears to be different. She has teachers who care and believe in her, and I truly think they want a good transition plan as much as I do.
But how do we get there?

So here’s where I need your advice. What approaches to transition planning for a teen with significant disabilities have you seen work successfully? What were the pitfalls along the way? And most importantly, is your child or the child you support happy with where he/she is in life post-school?

Thank you in advance for any help and advice you have to offer!


Queenbuv3 said...

Wish I could offer some advice but Stephen is just about to be an official teen, 13, this year. I will be interested to see what advice you do get because I'm sure it will help me start to think about the transition period for my son.

Rena said...

Queen Teen is about to have a transition IEP too (she'll be 16 in May). Her team and I have talked generally about transition, but nothing specific. I plan to meet with her Regional Center worker before the IEP and talk about plans, plus invite him to the meeting. We've been lucky that her worker is so helpful (he's about to retire, which makes me very sad and a tad nervous to lose our strongest ally).

Terri said...

We have done Level One Assessments for a couple of years. I find it helpful to think about strengths, interests and types of tasks that are enjoyed... I find it very frustrating because there are many interesting things becoming available, but they are hard to learn about. We meet on Tuesday with the transition team... will let you know if I glean anything useful.