August 19, 2020 | Kellie Smith; Stella Beard
Webinar provide by KY-SPIN in Partnership with The Point Arc of NKY
Kellie: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us today for Kentucky SPIN’s Mapping Dreams The Transition to Adulthood. My name is Kellie Smith, I’m the training coordinator for Kentucky SPIN and we really appreciate you taking this time today to be with us. We would like to thank the Point ARC of North Kentucky for inviting us to do this webinar today. And we hope that it really, really helps ...
Kellie: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us today for Kentucky SPIN’s Mapping Dreams The Transition to Adulthood. My name is Kellie Smith, I’m the training coordinator for Kentucky SPIN and we really appreciate you taking this time today to be with us. We would like to thank the Point ARC of North Kentucky for inviting us to do this webinar today. And we hope that it really, really helps you with your transitioning child.
[00:00:37] I want to talk for just a second about who Kentucky SPIN is and what we do. So Kentucky SPIN is the, which is the Special Parent Involvement Network, we are the parent training and information center for Kentucky. We are at 501c3 nonprofit organization.
[00:01:03] The mission of Kentucky SPIN is to link families and individuals with disabilities to valuable resources that will enable them to live productive and fulfilling lives. Kentucky SPIN is the statewide parent training and information project, like I said, and it’s funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Kentucky SPIN parent center provides training, information and support for children and youth with all types of disabilities birth through age 26, their parents, families, and the professionals that work with them.
[00:01:38] So what makes Kentucky SPIN a little bit different from maybe the other organizations that you’re familiar with is that the majority of our board of directors and all of our stuff are either persons with disabilities, parents or immediate family members or persons with disabilities. So when a family member calls Kentucky SPIN they’re not only receiving expertise and knowledge of a professional, but also compassion and empathy of someone who walks in their shoes.
[00:02:09] At Kentucky SPIN we do not act as attorneys and we do not give legal advice. What we do is present you with what your options are. Explain the laws do you, teach you that information, and then you make the best decision for your family. We do empower families to effectively advocate for their children and provide peer support to help families access needed information and resources.
[00:02:43] The training is made possible your PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment. And so before we get started, I would love for you to look on the right side of your screen, and you should have it, it’s usually on the outside, and you should have your box there. And it’s going to show you, your desk work so to speak. And so in that you’re going to see a questions box. So if you have questions, feel free to pop those in at any time. Use, there’s also a chat feature, if you would like to reach us that way.
[00:03:18] There’s going to be handout, and then those are also going to be emailed to you at the end. So you’re going to have, you can either download them now or you can wait until they’re emailed to you but you’re going to have this power point and all the links in the PowerPoint are all clickable links. So when you download that, you’ll be able to have all the resources that we’re talking about. And in those two handouts, I just want to add, one is the PowerPoint. The other is a whole bunch of different documents, but we’re limited as to how many things we can upload, but this is such great information and we have such excellent resources. We kind of spin them all into one so you would have them all.
[00:04:07] But while we’re on box, I would like for you to look at the poll section, there are two polls that we’ve created, and I was like for you to select the first poll. And I would thought for you to tell us today who you are, are you a parent, professional? Are you both? Are you a person with a disability or maybe you don’t have a disability or you’re not a parent or professional, maybe you’re just interested in transition. So feel free to answer that however you want to, and if you don’t mind, just take a second to do that for us.
[00:04:54] And give you just a few more seconds because people are still voting.
[00:05:19] Alright, so it looks like about 59% of the people attending this webinar are professional. A 24% are both, 3% are persons with a disability. 7% are parents and 7% are none. So it’s great for us to know who we’re talking to so we kind of know how to break things down. So, again, if we were doing this in person, you know, things would be a little bit different than they are today, I don’t have to go over a traditional housekeeping options, but I do want you to know that we will be stopping after each section for questions and answers. But again, feel free to ask any questions that you have in the questions box or in the chat box. And we will be monitoring those through the entire session.
[00:06:19] Okay. So today —
[00:06:20] Stella: Kellie really it’s Stella here, just let everybody know, I’m Stella Beard also with Kentucky SPIN, I’m the Assistant Director. I just want to make sure, because on my end, I’m having just a little difficulty. I want to make sure Kellie on your end, you see the slide that says session agenda right now.
[00:06:40] Kellie: I do not.
[00:06:42] Stella: Okay. my slides are not working, so I’m a little concerned that people can’t see the slide. If you all could just real quick type in the chat box for me or in your question box, what you are seeing on your end. And I do apologize, it never fails. We had some technical difficulties. Kellie, I may have to make you the total presenter and you show it from your computer. Can you try that?
[00:07:12] Kellie: Sorry I forgot —
[00:07:15]Stella: People are saying no slides. So I’m going to see if you can show your screen Kellie.
[00:07:22] Kellie: Okay. Hold on.
[00:07:25] [unclear background noise]
[00:07:32] Stella: Check now and see if you can see Kellie before you switch over.
[00:07:55] Kellie: I’m still seeing the poll.
[00:08:02] Stella: Can someone just type in the question box or chat box again, what you’re seeing? Hopefully people are, oh, somebody can see the slides now. Okay. I refreshed an, it looks like we’re okay. On this end now, Kellie. So you don’t, you don’t have to show anything Kellie, I got it.
[00:08:22] Kellie: Okay. Well, I am still seeing the quick polls, so.
[00:08:32] Stella: Do you have your slides to follow along with then?
[00:08:36] Kellie: Yes,
[00:08:36] Stella: I
[00:08:36] Kellie: do.
[00:08:37] Stella: Okay. All right. Well, we’re just going to go ahead then. So just go ahead and start on this slide. Sorry for all the confusion guys, but you know what, welcome to working from home and technology. I’m sure everyone on this call understands that.
[00:08:52] Kellie: Okay, so today’s agenda, we’re going to be talking about, the power of parent involvement, transition, and the IEP, transition to employment, transition to postsecondary education or training, transition to independent living, and then some closing thoughts and questions and answers.
[00:09:17] Okay, so regarding COVID-19 for the purpose of this presentation, we will be discussing what transition looks like, under quote, unquote, normal circumstances and how things could and should look at the, you know, when things are quote unquote normal. However, At the end, we will be providing a resource to help you and how transition relates toCOVID.
[00:09:48] So parents are forever. Why are parents and families so important? You have the history you carry forward into adulthood. You’ve been parenting and a member of the IEP team since the very beginning, you know what’s worked, you know hasn’t worked. You know, your child. You’ve known your child their whole lot, not just parts of it. You aren’t going anywhere and you have the big picture.
[00:10:18] Parents are also the keeper of high expectations. And those high expectations, builds upon your young person’s strengths, interests, and needs, and that foster each youth’s ability to achieve independence and self-sufficiency. Parents also support and guide their children to make informed choices and decisions. Your involvement on the IEP team may formally end when the rights are transferred to the student at the legal age of majority, which is 18 in Kentucky. However parents frequently become the transition expert or case manager, if you will, once the student graduates so involvement in the school transition process will help parents understand options and gain needed skills.
[00:11:11] Students will begin to take on more responsibility and parents will find new ways to provide support. It’s important to remember that while parental roles change when a young person graduates from high school and reaches the age of adulthood, it does not end. As soon as maturity, cultural values and other individual characteristics will determine the kind of involvement and family support that is appropriate and helpful for each student.
[00:11:39] So some tips for transition planning, super quick, are everything takes twice as long, so you need to be prepared for that. There’s going to be lots and lots of trial and error. So start now have a plan A and a plan B. And parents again, like I said, are often the case manager after high school. So you’re not going to have legal rights unless you become guardians so begin communicating and working as a team with your child as soon as possible.
[00:12:15] Okay. So the power of parent involvement and high expectations. Family involvement is a greater predictor of successful outcomes for youth, then income or social status. In addition students with one or more parents who participated in IEP meetings during 11th and 12th grade were more likely to be engaged in post-school employment. Students with parents who have high expectations, were more likely to be engaged in post-secondary education and employment. When families remain involved in their children’s middle school and high school education, students are more likely to attend school regularly, have a positive attitude about school, earn higher grades, score higher on standardized tests, graduate from high school and enroll in post-secondary programs. And those successes matter in the long run.
[00:13:26] Experts on human development consider late adolescents as launching period when parents helped youth develop skills they need as adults. But recent roles change when a young person graduates from high school and reaches the age of adulthood, they do not end. So stay involved. Again, active and supportive parental role.
[00:13:49] Remember that parent membership in transitions planning is required and it’s essential. Parents can provide a foundation for keeping the transition process grounded and focused on their child’s individual strengths, needs and preferences. Parents know their child’s post-secondary education or training and career ambition, and possible support needs. Parents might be able to identify family or community members that can provide additional support. Keep in mind, you know, your kid better than anybody.
[00:14:26] So high expectations for access, opportunity and participation. And so, and so as I’ve already said, parental expectations are a key factor in a young adults post school success. The higher educate expectations is that people disabilities will have equal opportunities for full participation. In the United States having high expectations for individuals with disabilities is not just an idea or wishful thinking. It’s embedded in our Civil Rights Law, the Rehabilitation Act findings state disability is a natural part of the human experience and no way diminishes the rights of the individuals to live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to society, pursue meaningful career and enjoy full inclusion and integration in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of the American society.
[00:15:31] As the student begins transitioning toward life after high school legislation, such as section 504 and the ADA related to employment, post-secondary education and community living have gotten much greater significance. We’ll be talking more about those in detail as we move forward.
[00:15:53] So we have another poll that I would like for you to take. And it is, I’m sorry, I also am having computer issues. Sorry guys, hey Stella what’s the name of that file?
[00:16:20] Stella: I was trying to launch it myself. Let me see.
[00:16:32] Boy, I’m telling you when it rains, it pours. There we go. It should be up now.
[00:16:41] Kellie: Okay. I still can’t see it. My computer is still on the first one. So can you kind of just control this one?
[00:16:50] Stella: Yeah, we’ve got, let’s see here,. We’re just, let’s let them go for a little while. The question is parents, do you feel you are prepared for your child’s future after high school and beyond?
[00:17:04] So looks like everybody might be still taking a little bit. We’ll give it just a few more seconds.
[00:17:21] All right. It looks like we’ve got about 12% saying yes, they feel like they’re prepared. 41%. No. And then 47% somewhat. So I think we all kind of fall in that, you know, as much as we want to think we’re prepared most of the time, we’re really not.
[00:17:41] Kellie: I definitely can, I thought I was prepared. For those of you who don’t know, I have a son who is 23 with a traumatic brain injury. And, I thought I was prepared for adulthood for him and I wasn’t at all. And so I usually tell people to do the exact opposite of everything that I did. Because I mean, as sad as it is when he graduated high school, it was a bit shocking because we hadn’t really prepared him.
[00:18:19] Like he really needed to be prepared and we’ll talk about, as we continue, you know, I will use him as an example a lot just so, you know, well, first of all, he’s what I’m familiar with. Second of all, just to kind of state how things can be and housing can be different. And I want, I would love for everyone to learn from my mistakes and not have to make all those mistakes again.
[00:18:48] So what we parents can do right now is we can hold and communicate high expectations. We can understand and take an active role in the IEP process. We can support our youth’s participation in the IEP process. And I actually am going to insert that August 27th, Kentucky SPIN has a workshop, that is about student directed IEP, which is a great way for students to start getting involved in self-advocacy, learning how to obviously advocate for themselves. See two people discuss their disability and how it affects them and kind of explore ways to get assistance that they need. We can make sure academic skills, self-advocacy skills and accommodations are addressed. And we have to understand that the school cannot and will not do it all. So they’re working super hard with our kids in school or should be, and we have to work super hard with our kids at home. Keep in mind that we are a team.
[00:20:13] So while parents are important, this student is at the center of transition planning. As the teen moves towards adulthood, the family and the IEP team member will support his students as he, or she looks more closely at the big question.
[00:20:30] So some of the questions that the student needs to be thinking about is, am I going to go to college or do I need another type of education? Do I need to go to a different type of school to get the training that I need after I graduate? What kind of work do I want to do? Where will I go to learn those skills to do that work? Where and how do I want to live? What do I want to do for fun? And where will I belong and who will I hang out with? And how will I get places? And I can insert it here that when my son was in school, we didn’t put out a lot of focus on, you know, where he lived. We knew the goal was for him to live independently. But we didn’t think about recreation and friendships. And did he need social skills to build those friendships. I’ve shared on a webinar a couple of weeks ago that, you know, he’s 23, we moved to a different town than he had grown up in, for better employment opportunities.
[00:21:52] He, you know, for four years out of high school, he was pretty well unemployed. I mean he had a few jobs here and there, but he didn’t really have many opportunities. So we moved to just outside of Lexington so he would have a better, you know, better opportunity. And he is always been extremely social, but what we didn’t realize, because he had so many friends in school, was that he lacked social skills. He had those friends, he had great friends, he was always surrounded by people. He was always invited to go do things. I always had a slew of teenage boys at my house, but those were friends that he had grown up with. Those were friends that didn’t really require any effort. When he was, you know, and preschool and kindergarten, he started making these connections.
[00:22:48] But we all know that making connections as an adult is different than when we’re children. A good friend of mine, stated that, you know, making friends as a child is it’s pretty easy as far as the actual job of it goes. So you walk up to someone and you say, hey, will you be my friend? And they say yes or no. And that’s it. But as an adult, if we walk up to somebody and say, hey, will you be my friend? That’s kind of creepy and weird. And they’re probably definitely, and tell you no.
[00:23:23] So I didn’t realize when he was in high school, that he needed social skills. So I didn’t think about, well, what happens if we moved to another town? Does he have the ability to make friends? To start new connections? And so that has been a really, really big struggle for him because we’ve lived here a year and a half and he still doesn’t have any friends here. You know, he works 40 hours a week, but he still doesn’t have any friends here. So just things like that, keep that in mind, those things that you know, that we’re talking about, the skills that they need, where are they going to go to school? Where, and how do they want to live? Those are just as important as anything else.
[00:24:10] And then some other things they’re going to want to ask is to get their desired results or their outcomes for the life, they’re going to want to ask what skills do I need? What supports do I need? And who’s going to help me get where I need to go?
[00:24:26] So now we can get started into the meat of the presentation. So how do we get from here, where we are right now to there? Okay as families, your involvement in the transition process is going to include becoming aware of options, whether that’s in your community, a different community, where your child wants to live, you need to know what the options are.
[00:24:52] You’re also going to have to invite new people into your child’s life. You’re going to need to stay flexible, ask questions and advocate for your child’s needs. So exploring what’s possible. It can be very challenging to figure out what expectations to have for your child with a disability, especially when you want to have high expectations, but you don’t understand what possibilities are even available. Understanding what’s possible is a great beginning step to creating a vision for your young person’s future. Families need to know what’s out there and the route to get there. You need to learn about possibility, meet or talk with other parents of older children that have your child’s same disability.
[00:25:44] Parents support groups, they’re phenomenal, highly recommend getting involved. Check out your area’s independent living center, vocational rehabilitation center, disability organizations and ask any PACERs National Parent Center on Transition and Employment. And if your child already has a County social worker, he or she might be willing to provide examples of how other young with similar needs are meeting their post-school goals in your community.
[00:26:18] And you’re also going to have to become an adult services detective. Visit a community college and meet with disability services about entrance requirements, the accommodations that they offer, the support that they provide and the range of abilities of their student body.
[00:26:37] Attend transition resource fairs, as a family. I don’t know about your kids, if you’ve been to those, my son went to one his junior and senior year. I never received one thing, he never brought anything home. He didn’t tell me anything about them, even though I was pressing him for information. He didn’t tell me anything, he didn’t tell me what they ate for lunch. And that was really it. So it wasn’t until I started getting booths at those transition fairs that I’m like, oh my gosh, these things are phenomenal. And then other people, you know, other adults that I know when they start going to these, even if it’s professionally, they’re like, oh my goodness, this is amazing. So I highly recommend getting involved as a family and going to those.
[00:27:31] Connect with other parents and share what you’ve discovered. And ask the rehab services, County, social workers, and college disability services personnel to share success stories of other youth with your child’s disability. And as you plan and define clear goals entering for your child, that you’re going to increase his or her chances of achieving them.
[00:27:58] And the good news is families don’t have to do this planning all alone as the next block, going to start to explain.
[00:28:08] So who does the planning and why? Transition planning in the IEP often includes additional members at the IEP meeting. This student, although the student’s attendance at the meeting is not required, now the school does need to invite them. The student’s dreams and goals guides decisions about which transition services are needed. If your child does not attend the meeting, the team still needs your son’s or daughter’s input.
[00:28:45] So what can families do to support their youth’s meaningful participation in that meeting? You can have a discussion about his or her hopes and dreams for the future. You can use checklists that are located in this presentation to identify your child’s dreams, needs, preferences, and interests before attending the meeting. You can help prepare your child to attend the IEP meeting. And some students are going to be able to participate in their IEP meetings more than others. And many students find it help to prepare a brief PowerPoint presentation with the help of school or their family to communicate their strengths and goals to the team.
[00:29:30] And then the family. Parents must be invited to the IEP transition meetings and informed prior to the meeting that the discussion will involve transition issues. Parents know their child best and remain equal members of the IEP team until their son or daughter reaches the age of majority at 18. Once the student turns 18, he or she assumes the rights as a parental role and can invite the parents to the IEP meetings. This school is no longer required to invite the parent unless they have become the legal guardians of that adult child.
[00:30:10] And then additional people may be needed. When test assessment or new evaluations are being discussed, a person who can interpret the results is required to be at the meeting. Additional staff may include transition staff, a guidance counselor, a work coordinator and service learning coordinator. Some other people may also be involved like a representative as a participating agency that’s going to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services. This could be a social worker, a vocational rehabilitation counselor, post-secondary school staff and medical related service providers. Parents or the student may invite anyone, including staff of other organization with knowledge or special expertise about the student, such as family, friends, a mentor, or people in the community.
[00:31:09] Now let’s talk about transition in the IEP. Well, let me ask this. Does anyone have any questions about parent involvement?
[00:31:18] Stella: Well, Kellie, it’s a little bit about the friendship part that you were talking about. And someone wants to know how do kids deal with friends, especially with social media and all the different apps, about, you know, maybe, being able to create resumes and scholarships. And that was one. And then how can parents get the information for the support groups?
[00:31:44] Kellie: Well Kentucky SPIN, first, let me start, Kentucky SPIN can provide you with information regarding support groups. At the end of this presentation, all of our contact information is going to be displayed, take down our email address or go to our website and contact us or our phone number. However you want to contact us, letting us know the disability, the County that you’re in and, you know, basically what you’re looking for. And we can definitely help connect you with those support groups.
[00:32:20] And if you, if you don’t mind, I broke up just a little bit. Can you repeat the first question for me?
[00:32:28] Stella: Sure sure. It was mainly talking about friendships with kids, you know, and, and how do they deal, how do kids deal with friends, especially with social media and different apps that are out there?
[00:32:44] Kellie: I wish that I could say that our experience has been positive, but it hasn’t. I do not have guardianship of my son. We use supported decision making and in our supported decision making when he makes the friend that, you know, would rather him not be friends with. I explain to him why I feel like maybe that person is not a good influence for him or something about that person that maybe, you know, would cause me to maybe not want to be, you know, hanging out with them or whatever. But I do allow him to make those choices. And, I can say when we were going through his transition in his IEP, the school encouraged me to file for guardianship because they were concerned that he would be easily taken advantage of. And he is pretty well easily taken advantage of. But, you know, he does let me handle his finances. So we do a very limited amount of money. You know, he does have a car. He didn’t, he was in a horrible accident and didn’t drive much for quite a long time, but he has started driving again, but his vehicle is in my name. And so I feel like, you know, if he’s doing something extremely reckless, he knows we’ll take his car.
[00:34:31] So we’ve chosen personally to go about things a little differently. Yeah he does hang out with some great, great guys that he’s been friends with forever and they have his back and he has theirs. And I do not worry about him at all when he’s with them. And then he has some people in his class that when he’s with them, I’m just about nauseous, I’m up all night worried to death that I don’t know. I can’t say that’s any different because I don’t, then say my mom, I don’t have a disability, but my mom, you know, stayed up all night worrying about me. My mom warned me about friends I was making. My mom warned me if she felt like someone was maybe taking advantage of me. So I personally handled things just, you know, from kind of standing back. I feel like that’s his right to make the friends that he chooses and that it’s his right to experience, you know, love and loss and you know, whatever else. So I don’t know if that helps you at all, because I don’t have guardianship, but Stella did have guardianship at one time of her son, and he has a ton of friends and is most social guy every, so maybe she has some great advice for you right now.
[00:36:07] Stella: I think you’ve covered it very well. Kellie, I think the main thing is sometimes we have to step back as parents and we’ve talked about this before also and let them make mistakes. And you know, not always try to make sure everything is perfect for them. We have a tendency to do that. I know when I do that, it seems like it always bites me in the end. So I have tried to step back and allow Clayton to even make mistakes that I know he’s going to make. Not ones that would harm him physically, but things that he can learn from. And that includes even with friends and, you know, learning what it means to be a friend, and just helping him with that. And you know the social groups I think are great, getting them involved with typical peers, but also, folks that have disabilities. He chats a lot with some of his adult friends who had the same disability as him and that tends to help. So I think you covered it well, and we’ll probably bring it up again as we go along.
[00:37:17] Kellie: All right. Well, whoever the asker was, I hope that helps. If it doesn’t help, please reach out to us, we’ll be happy to help you one-on-one as much as we possibly can.
[00:37:35] Transition in the IEP, the graphic provides kind of a map of this secondary transition planning process in the IEP. The transition process begins with the evaluation and leads to goals, services, and courses of study as steps on the pathway to achieve long-term goals for adulthood.
[00:38:00] Evaluation forms the foundation of the IEP. The IEP team, including parents and the student will collect information needed to determine the students’ current skills and abilities, strengths, interests, and preferences. Academic and functional needs, which is their activities of everyday life, long-term goals for learning and the impact of your students’ disability on reaching these goals.
[00:38:32] So using this information, the team will develop the program, which is IEP to help pave a path from where your child is now to where they’re going, or we’ll call it there, you know, in this presentation from here to there.
[00:38:49] The IEP team uses transition assessments, comprehensive evaluations, parent concerns, student input, professional input from schools or other identities, Congress and regular and special education, state and district test results and a slew of other things to identify the student’s present levels of academic performance and then they develop that program. So the IEP team must include long term, measurable, post-secondary goals in the areas of education and training, employment and if appropriate to the students’ needs independent living. Even though the student may not know what they want to do in the future, it’s still important to begin to figure out some of the initial long-term goals and what support they need to develop those goals. So work with your IEP team to address these questions.
[00:39:48] What transition services in the form of annual goals, course of study, activities, support services, and linkages are necessary each year to move toward achieving these desired outcomes after high school? What extracurricular activities and enrichment opportunities might support these goals? When determining what activities and goals to include in the annual IEP, families want to consider whether progress on the goal or with the activity will move the student closer to being ready to successfully pursue their high expectations for learning, living, and working. And so I mentioned creating linkages or linkages that may be needed.
[00:40:35] So when other agencies or service providers will be involved with the student after graduation the IEP team should create the context and links that are needed. Parents or students can request this of the school to invite individuals to participate in IEP meetings, or they may invite them directly. So of course, most people would use vocational rehabilitation as an example here, as someone who’s going to provide services or pay for services after your child graduates high school. You also might think maybe your child is going to need adult day training, you would definitely want to have someone there. Or if you know for a fact that your child’s going to need supported employment, you might want it to have, you know, not only someone from voc-rehab, but an invited job coach who may be able to help offer some insight on things that you can work on while they’re still in school.
[00:41:38] And I know that most schools now have, you know, adopted the CWTT, it’s a ready to work program that is in collaboration with the schools and the Human Development Institute. And so lots of schools have job coaches onsite now, and they’re working on their self-advocacy skills and all that is absolutely amazing. So just get involved as much as you possibly can and start to really critically think about what your child is capable of and what they need to learn to achieve their goals.
[00:42:27] So we’re going to talk [inaudible] about the transition to employment. Okay, so just like everything else, you’re going to explore your options. You’re going to have the conversation and you’re going to set a destination, you’re going to map your course, and then you’re guaranteed to have to recalculate it at some point.
[00:42:52] So the first step in thinking about employment is to explore interests, skills and dreams. Encourage your son or daughter to explore a variety of elective classes, extracurricular activities, or volunteering community-based activities while in high school. And then the next step is to discover how interests, dreams, and skills relate to employment possibilities. So talk to your child about what you do at your own job. If appropriate, invite your child to your place of work, visit local businesses with your child and explore opportunities. You know, let’s say your child loves McDonald’s, then let’s go to McDonald’s and look at all the different jobs that they do, and kind of see what’s involved in that job. And which of those jobs, you know, your child is really interested in.
[00:43:47] Have your child observe essential functions of an occupation by job shadowing someone who works in that field of interest. Arrange for informational interviews with friends or family members. Use web based resources to research labor market trends and occupation. Contact the vocational rehabilitation services counselor assigned to your child’s school to see if your child is going to be able to receive their services. If your child is eligible for those services you’re going to want to ask for a vocational evaluation, which I think they probably do those automatically now. That’s going to help determine the tops of the jobs that fit your son’s or daughter’s abilities and interests the best.
[00:44:38] Then of course, like I said, participate with IEP team in developing career exploration, goals and services that can be written into that IEP. Having a job or work experience during high school is another important step towards post-school employment success. So plan for work based learning opportunities with the IEP team. Encourage internship opportunities, consider self-employment and community as an option such as babysitting or doing lawn care. Explore volunteer opportunities that allow your child to experience a job, develop a routine and learn about responsibility.
[00:45:20] And Stella, I have heard you say in the past that you just made it a normal thing in your house. You’re 16, you get a job. And so with your son, things weren’t any different, is that right?
[00:45:32] Stella: That’s correct, we, we did not make it any different for Clayton because he had a disability. So when he turned 16, he started working at a cafe in our community and he’s been there ever since and he’s 24. So what that has done for him is that it’s given him a consistent job record, which is wonderful for resumes. And so I encourage families, you know, to do that. And it just became just a normal thing in our house. And, you know, he does it, he only works, I believe he worked 12 hours a week, but it’s still, give him that opportunity to be out with peers and with others in the community. And he was absolutely heartbroken for three months when he couldn’t work. But he’s back now at his job and just loving it. So that is something I think that is really important. And if you establish that in your home and in your children, they’re going to follow suit for sure.
[00:46:31] Kellie: And I love that. My son did not work in school, I wish he had. I really, really do, I didn’t understand everything about, at the time, I guess I didn’t understand how he might struggle with employment after high school, and so the sooner they start work, the better and easier for them, it’s going to be. So when he had, you know, been out of high school for two years and is still looking for a job that threw up or big red flag for employers, they’re like, well, you’ve been out of high school for two years, but why haven’t you been working? Not, you know, what’s the deal. And so it led to very negatively on him. And so, and I really hate that.
[00:47:33] And then also I want to throw in there, that lots of people who have children who have disabilities and receive SSI, they’re scared for their children to earn money because they feel like that is going to count against them. And there is a different, there’s a whole different set of standards for social security purposes so students who are working can earn Boo Koo’s before it ever affects their SSI. It’s called the student income exclusion, if you need more information about that, feel free to contact us and we can send you all that information so your children can work and still receive their SSI. And not only can they still receive some of their SSI, but they can work a whole lot and still receive all of their SSI. So I just like to throw that in there for parents because a lot of people are afraid of that.
[00:48:39] Okay. So exploring options. Another step as you prepare for, as you’re exploring employment options, is to take note of your child’s soft skills. So what are soft skills? These include being dependable, responsible, punctual, adaptable, honest, well-mannered, positive toward work and appropriately dressed and groomed. Soft skills also refer to such attributes as the ability to get along with others, work in teams, attend to tasks, work independently and provide excellent customer service both within the company and externally. Having good soft skills will increase your son or daughter’s chances of finding and maintaining employment.
[00:49:33] Family can do so much to help their child develop these important skills. Some of the things that you can do is have a sign towards the home, use school as their job, and you know, that can really be a key to future success. Learning how to show up every day, get to class on time, follow directions, take responsibility for your work [inaudible] and those are all valuable skills that they’re going to have to need in the workplace.
[00:50:04] To improve communication and active listening skills encourage your child to join a social skills group outside of school. Lots of Centers for Independent Living will have the self-advocacy organizations and other disability organizations often have those. The IEP may include a related communication goal.
[00:50:28] Encourage good personal hygiene and stress that most workplaces require their employees to be well groomed and to dress appropriately. And I do know that this is a huge issue for a lot of our kids. It’s very, very important not only that they understand it, that it’s important for them and for their health, that their employers are going to expect it, because they’re also witnessing having good personal hygiene.
[00:51:05] Look for opportunities for your child to work cooperatively with others participating on a team sport, volunteering in the community, or engaging in teamwork at home. Create opportunities to practice independence. Learn a new skill or pursue interests. I think one example that is given, somewhere, I don’t know if it’s in this presentation or another one, but it’s to allow your child to, you know, maybe go to the movies, allow them to help decide how they’re going to get the movies or how they’re going to, you know, if they’re going to take someone to the movies and to plan the whole trip. Those are great ways for them to start while they’re still under your wing to prepare for the future.
[00:52:03] Enforce expectations of personal responsibilities or creating an organizational system to keep track of appointments, schoolwork and social events. We’ll talk more about that —
[00:52:14] Stella: Kellie, I love that. I love that one right there, and I just wanted to share something that we’ve done in our home that’s really helped, is not only can they set little reminders on their phone if they need that. And my son totally uses Siri to voice activate everything. He’s really struggled with, you know, spelling and all of that so Siri has become a great friend and we use that a lot. Also to schedule, put things on his calendar, which will also beep and remind him. And we actually incorporated that into his IEP when he was in high school.
[00:52:53] So there are so many cool things that you can do, that will help them meet their transition goals that can also be done while they’re in school, but then can transition out. We didn’t expect the school to buy him a piece of equipment for that, he had his phone. So we were able to utilize that, while he was in school. And then of course that’s something that does stay with him after high school, which was good. We didn’t want him to learn a piece of equipment or do something while he was in school, but it wasn’t going to transfer with him after school. So that was really neat.
[00:53:23] One other thing that we’ve done too, that’s really helped on planning for those activities is having him make the phone call to the friend, set it up. We parents seem to set those things up for them a lot. And so, you know, working on that social skill of, hey, you know, Alan, I would like for us to get together this weekend, what does your plan look like? And so then scheduling that like you were saying from start to finish. And then, you know, making them say, how are you, how are you going to get there? Well you’re going to have to ask somebody to take you or whatever. And those are really, really good. Then you can write those steps down for them after they’ve done it and have it a visual for them. And so they know then what steps to take for the next time they want to do that.
[00:54:10] Kellie: I love that. I love that. I love the idea of writing it down and making it a visual.
[00:54:18] So one more important thing to do, very, very important thing to do. Is to talk specifically about employment with your students. And I’m going to go ahead and share another mishap in my son’s life, at my hands. I always would ask him, you know, what do you want to do? What do you want to do? What do you want to do? And I mean, you know, he’s 23 and it’s still, I have no idea. What I want to do. He really likes his job, he works at Kroger’s. They have been so great with him. And he been there for seven months. And he still really liked it. And he says, that’s a really big deal that if he works there more than three weeks and didn’t hate it, it must be a good job.
[00:55:11] So, but I kind of pushed him. And I pushed him with the absolute best intention. I thought well, okay so we took the voc-rehab assessment, and one of the things that it said that, you know, he might be good at, based on his interest and skills would be a hair dresser. So we looked into barber school and barber school is nine months and then you’re out, that’s it, nine months then you take your test and you’re good. And I’m like, and it’s a great living. I’m like, you know, we can totally do this. You can be a barber. And he was like, I don’t know. And he’s like, I don’t know anything about cutting hair. I’m not really that interested. And so I started showing him like how much money barbers made. We had a couple of friends who were barbers and they talked to him and he jobs shadowed with a barber and he’s like, okay but I’m really worried about the class, you know cause they have classwork and, you know, the instructors there, they assured him that they would work with him and that they would make it their personal goal that he would not fail.
[00:56:42] And so he enrolled in barber school and he was there for three months before he came to me, literally in tears, telling me that he hated it and that he didn’t want to do that. And that he only did it so I would be proud of him and because he wanted to do what would make me happy. And so I didn’t take as much time as maybe I should have. I wasn’t as patient as maybe I should have. You know, maybe I should have been, he graduated with a traditional diploma at 18 years old. If I had it to do over, I, you know, and this is a whole different conversation, but if I had to do over we would have stayed in until he was 21 because emotionally he wasn’t ready.
[00:57:36] And so I kinda pushed him in a way that I really, really, really regret now. And it caused him a lot of emotional grief to the point to where two days after he was crying in my kitchen, because he was so overwhelmed. And he was extremely overwhelmed because, you know, the words in the book were very, very hard and the way they do their class schedules, you don’t necessarily start on chapter one. So he started on chapter like 20 something and he couldn’t, he couldn’t wrap his mind around, you know, what happens before that, you know, the, what happened in the 20 chapters previous. And he didn’t know any of that. And he just, he was lost. And he actually packed his bags and moved out of my house in the middle of the night because he couldn’t face me because he thought that I was disappointed. And I could never be disappointed. I can’t stress that enough.
[00:58:43] And, but he just wanted so much to make me happy., but I strongly, strongly suggest that you talk to your kids. Give them time, give them time that they need, which is another reason to start as early as possible. You know, when you first started with the ILP in middle school, you know, he wanted to police officer. That’s wonderful. It’s not going to happen, that’s not possible for him. It’s not a realistic opportunity, goal for him. A barber was a realistic goal, but it wasn’t what he wanted. And he had a hard time with that. So, I just, you know, this is the main component is talking to your child.
[00:59:35] And in your presentation or in the PowerPoint and also in your handout, you have a handout, that is called Talk with your child about employment. And so this hand covers, you know, what am I good at? What is hard for me? What do I like to do for fun? What kind of work would I like to do? What skills do I need to learn and what kind of accommodations or supports help me at school?
[01:00:06] And lots of times they don’t even realize that they have supports and accommodations. This is another reason for them to attend their IEP meetings and understand what their accommodations and supports are.
[01:00:23] So now let’s fast forward, we’ve got a goal, we know what your child wants to do. So we’ve set a destination. So you’re going to have a measurable post-school goal for employment in your IEP. You can go to careeronestop.org. There’s some great, great information there. And then Kentucky schools require kids six through 12th grade to have an individual learning plan or ILP, like I just mentioned.
[01:01:01] And then you’re going to map your course. So that looks like developing a plan. What kind of employment support do they need? How can, how can, you know, what kind of support can the family provides? What support services such as workplace accommodations, transportation, or technology are needed? How can your son or daughter obtain the training that they need and? Will job placement services be provided or will your child, you know, need to look for their own job? And as you map your course, you’re going to want to set smaller goals along the way.
[01:01:46] Find out if your child can volunteer at a possible place of future employment. Encourage your child to seek summer employment or part-time employment to develop work experiences. Help select specific classes that will support your son or daughter in reaching long range goals. Work with the IEP team to incorporate career interests into the IEP. Work with the IEP team to build the work readiness, reading, math and computers skills. Practice basic interview questions with your child. Practice working on automated job applications using a computer. Create a paper application template, support them using it, completing it accurately, then laminate it and bring it along for them to copy from when filling out paperwork in person. Or they can create a video resume, which can be created from different apps that may be an effective alternative to a traditional resume.
[01:02:51] You may need to find others to help. So like I said before, that may be like, vocational rehabilitation. specialized deaf, and hard of hearing services. Kentucky school for the blind. Community mental health centers. There are all sorts of different organizations that can help get them.
[01:03:14] Employment opportunities for people with disabilities has come a long way. This includes services and support for those with significant disabilities. No longer is it acceptable for a student to be placed in noncompetitive employment or day programs without being given the chance to explore competitive, integrated, paid competitive employment. This philosophy rooted in high expectations is known nationally as Employment First. And it’s the vision of making employment the first and preferred outcome of people with disabilities.
[01:03:50] Families are encouraged to advocate for inclusive employment, post-secondary education and training and independent living goals so their youth can be full participants in their communities. So, did anybody have any questions related to employment?
[01:04:11] Stella: I don’t see any questions right now.
[01:04:14] Kellie: Okay, perfect. So we’ll move straight into post-secondary education and training. So the transition from high school to post-secondary education or training. Again, you’re going to explore your options, have a conversation, set a destination, map a course, and most definitely recalculate.
[01:04:38] So why is post-secondary education or training important? It provides preparation for employment, it builds life skills and social skills, lower unemployment rates for those who attend college. College graduates earn more money than those who did not attend college. Most college students agree that going to college was quote unquote worth it.
[01:05:06] And does anybody else have any other input that they would about to say, you know, why is it important for an individual with a disability to go to college or seek training?
[01:05:23] If you want to respond within the chat box, I would love to hear from you guys.
[01:05:33]Stella: Or in the question box, I know some, for some reason can’t type into chat, so if they want to even type it in the question box. That’ll work also Kellie.
[01:05:41] Kellie: Awesome.
[01:05:51] I don’t see anybody coming through with anything. There may be —
[01:05:55] Stella: I see self-confidence. Self-confidence came through.
[01:06:00] Kellie: Perfect. Sorry guys, I’m literally just winging it over here. Yes, absolutely. There is a ton of reasons that our kids may, you know, their reasons for going to college shouldn’t be any different than our reason for going to college. And I think it’s very important that we all remember that.
[01:06:26] So what can you do to increase the chances for success? 63% of high school students with disabilities enrolled in college. Only 16% attain a bachelor’s degree and 25% of those students earn an associate’s degree or a vocational certificate. So fortunately, there are action steps that the students and families can take now to improve this statistic and increase your son or daughter’s chances of post high school success.
[01:07:04] So the first thing you want to do is you’re going to want to learn about the changes and rights and responsibilities. In the United States, public K through 12 education is a right. When students graduate high school, their legal rights change. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA no longer applies to that child after they received their high school diploma. For some students that’s going to be at the end of 12th grade while others, it may be after receiving additional transition services when they’re 21. The goal is for the student to have a specific plan for post-secondary education or training in place when they received their diploma, whichever one it is. And IEP does not transfer with your child to a post-secondary education program. So that’s very important. When your child goes to college, or even to a post-secondary training program, they are not going to have an IEP.
[01:08:10] Also equal access rights are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act the provision of academic adjustment also referred to as accommodations or auxiliary aids and services or disability services will not be initiated by the post-secondary program. Once accommodations are approved, it will be up to students to take advantage of the support and services available to them.
[01:08:42] So in school, you know, you have Child Find where you’ve got, you know, everybody’s looking out for kids who may have disabilities. That doesn’t happen in college. Your child will have to go to the disability services office. They’ll have to talk to them, they’re going to have to turn in some paperwork that we’re going to talk about here in just a second, and then they’ll be approved or denied those services. And then it’s going to be up to your child to make sure that they receive those services. Nobody’s going to come to them. It’s totally going to be up to your child.
[01:09:22] So while IEPs include modified expectations, curriculum and test students at the post-secondary level must be quote unquote otherwise qualified to access the same quote unquote rigorous college program requirements as students without disabilities. So that’s another thing that’s important for parents to understand is they will not alter the curriculum. They will give them support. They will not alter the work, they can have, you know, extra time, they can use technology, things like that, but they’re not going to modify their curriculum for them is what that’s saying.
[01:10:12] And then, so you have another handout that is Talk with your child about postsecondary education or training. With all the considerations in mind, we’re going to talk about some of the steps in mapping the transition to post-secondary education and training. So when you’re planning this journey, you’re going to need to decide on a specific destination or goal, and then map your course of action to reach that goal.
[01:10:43] The measurable post-secondary goal in the area of post-secondary education or training should describe that destination. The first step is for parents and youth talk to each other. Discussing your responses to the checklist questions along with family realities and possibilities is a good way to get started in the exploration phase to discover options. When discussing college options you’re going to want to think beyond a particular major, a schools’ location or size could deter your son or daughter, even if the program is perfect. Maybe it’s too big. Maybe it’s too small. Maybe it’s too far away. There are all sorts of things to consider.
[01:11:29] Some other things might be, you know, what kind of support services do they offer to students? What are their housing options? What’s their student to instructor ratio? And is it in the city or is it in the country? Do they have, or will they have access to the needed transportation that they need? And then how are they going to pay for it? So in addition to this checklist, families can explore the going to college websites and there’s some great tools on there to also help generate discussion with your child.
[01:12:06] And so explore those post-secondary options together. There are many different options, you know, different things our kids can do. They can go to a certificate or trade school program. These programs typically complete it in less than one or two years. Some examples of our certificate program includes like cosmetology or, you know, barber school, things like that. And then lots of the things that used to be considered certificate programs now are an associate’s degree. So you really just have to look into whatever it is that the child wants to go into.
[01:12:51] They may want to go to a two year technical school or community college. These schools have a variety of admission requirements, and those with open admission typically put anyone with a high school diploma or GED. And then of course there are four year colleges or universities. These schools tend to look at grade point averages, academic preparation, and scores on standardized tests. They also typically consider volunteer and community work and require a personal essay.
[01:13:24] College experiences for students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Some two and four year colleges are making efforts to include these students with disabilities, requiring modified expectations and additional support by offering specialized daytime and residential program options. Thinkcollege.net has information about those opportunities as does the PACERs and NTEC website.
[01:13:57] Some other post-secondary and training options include adult basic education, workforce training, apprenticeship stuff, or military training or adult day training and rehabilitation, which offers training and life skills and work related activities.
[01:14:18] In Kentucky, we have the Office of Career Technical Education, Supported Employment Training Project and the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center.
[01:14:33] So disability disclosure, how it works at college. So once a student reaches the legal adult age, parents can only talk to or meet with the disability services office with the student’s written permission. And even then colleges are gonna prefer to work directly with the student. College staff will not seek out youth to provide accommodations. Even if the college is aware that that child has a disability. If academic adjustments or accommodations will be needed the student must disclose the disability and provide the required documentation. The student can share as little or as much as they desire. Disclosure is a choice, including what information to share and when to disclose it.
[01:15:20] If the student needs to have accommodations right away, they must disclose right away. If they prefer to try to self-accommodate and see how that works out, they can disclose their disability to disability services at any time. But they also have to understand that the college will not make retroactive adjustments. So they’re not going to go back and apply those adjustments to time that’s already passed.
[01:15:49] So the interactive process at college. Post-secondary institutions can’t discriminate against the student who otherwise qualifies to enroll just because they have a disability. They must provide access to the education or training program they offer. And the accommodations cannot alter the program of study. And or cause undue hardship to the college such as requiring too much money or resources. So the student needs to be ready to work collaboratively and they need to compromise, or come to an agreement on the accommodations to be provided.
[01:16:26] So some of those look like extra time and reduce distractions during testing. Note taking support as that could be a note taker and a note taking technology. Alternative formats for books and materials and housing accommodations. And students can also change their mind or request different accommodations at any time. No one will be making sure that the student takes advantage of the accommodations that are available. So remember that the student being able to self-advocate is key.
[01:17:01] For those with hidden disabilities there may not be as much stigma at college as there may have been with special education services and high school. Many, many people go into disability services, the office area there. Students who provide the services and also students who receive services. And I’m telling you this because lots of times our students don’t want to be pointed out. For instance, my son, along with several of his friends that have invisible disabilities and they don’t want people to know. So it would deter them from going to disability services because then they would think people would know. So it’s important that they know that all kinds of people go in and out of that office for all different kinds of reasons.
[01:17:54] And so I’m now going to hand the baton to Stella. I appreciate you guys listening.
[01:18:02] Stella: That was great Kellie. You probably need a drink or something. A little bit of glass of water too. You’ve been talking a long time.
[01:18:09] This is such a great presentation. Kellie and I both loved this very, very much. Transition is, is very near and dear to our heart. And so what we’re going to do now is talk just a little bit about what families can do, and how self-advocacy is the key to success. And one of the things that I can’t stress more than anything is start preparing now. It doesn’t matter where you are, where your child is at their stage of life, start preparing now. But the family and the IEP team can support the student developing, and understanding skills that they need to know to be successful after high school. And these are just some tips that they can do.
[01:18:55] First of all, practice disclosing to teachers, coaches, friends, and family members that they have a disability. I can’t tell you how many parents that we’ve worked with and talked with that sometimes they just don’t talk them about it with their child. And it’s so important. My son Clayton has known that he has a disability since he was little and knew that things were a little different. And we’ve always talked about it. You know, he has Williams syndrome. We talked about it, he understands that he’s able to talk about it with other people too.
[01:19:26] But pay attention to accommodate that work and make a list. Keep track of those at work. When he was little and in school, they were trying to give him goldfish as a reward, a token reward. He doesn’t even like goldfish. So finally I was like, guys, that’s not going to work, but he loves gummies. So we were able to switch and then it began to work.
[01:19:48] ‘But make sure your students’ final school special education evaluation is within three years from when they’ll be going to the disability services office. And that is real, real important. What that technically means is every three years, while you’re in school, while your students in school. They do, or it comes up that they might need another evaluation. Sometimes they will use what’s called, read existing data, because they don’t really need to do another full evaluation to determine eligibility. We had another one, we requested another one when Clayton turned 16, because that’s more of an adult measure that they do on those psychological tests. And so that test is what carried us over to when he exited high school. So that would be really important to do that.
[01:20:36] And ensure that all medical documentation is up to date. Let them begin to start understanding if they do take medicine, what it means, what they’re taking for, make sure they have a list somewhere, maybe in their phone. That’s what we do with Clayton. He has a list of his medications under his notes and we have it locked. But it’s there in case he needs to know, if I’m not around or something. So make sure that that’s real important.
[01:21:01] Explore post-secondary options and create a timeline checklist and checklist or tasks. That’s really important that you’re going to know, okay, what comes next? What do I do next? I’m a list person, I love to check things off my list. So that’s really important to do.
[01:21:18] And, you know, retake those entrance exams. Goodness, I can’t talk, if needed, the ACT, if they’re going to like a four year college, that’s really important. Look into financial aid, even if your young person has, you know, of course a disability, they can still apply for financial aid. FAFSA, scholarships, all of that. There are a lot of scholarships out there that are even available for students specifically with disabilities. So I would encourage you to do that, which is real, real important.
[01:21:51] And there’s also just some specific skills that they need to know. Some of them, I’m just going to list a few that I think are important, but they need to understand and understand their disability. Know their accommodations, as we’ve talked about and have those self-advocacy advocacy skills and self-determination skills that they need in order to request those accommodations. Cause as Kellie said once they get to college or anything like that, they have to begin to disclose their disabilities. That’s real important.
[01:22:24] They need to know those daily living skills, we like to call them soft skills too. Money management, self-care, social skills and also how to navigate a campus, is real important if that’s going to be something that they’re going to do. But working with your child at home and with the IEP team will help them develop these skills before leaving home.
[01:22:47] And there’s so many things that you can start at home also. And we’ve talked about them a little bit. But one was, you know, creating a chore list or to-do list is we call it here. And I think that’s real important that they begin to see that you know, they are going to have to learn those steps of what to do. We make sure Clayton is up every morning. At the same time, he takes his medication. He, you know, start his to-do list. You know, is it a work day? He needs to get his work clothes together, things like that, that he is responsible for.
[01:23:21] And another thing that I had to do that was really hard, especially having a young adult living still at home. He’s 24 is when he forgets something, if he forgets something at work, he goes without it. I don’t run it to him and make sure he’s got everything that he needs all the time, because that is just creating that self-dependency on someone else. And so he’s forgot his phone many times for work. And I’m just, I just always say to him, sorry, you’ll have to wait till you get home. So those are the things that are hard for us as parents, because we want to fix everything for them. We can’t always do that.
[01:23:57] But some important documents to keep on hand. And Kellie has just done a really great webinar that will be up, it might already be up on our website, on creating an IEP binder. And, this goes right along with that. But always keep the current IEP or 504 plan handy near you. And also that recent evaluation report that we were talking about that should be handy. Any medical documentation, high school transcripts, the summary of performance, they will get their final year so you will know, just their summary of all their performances while they were in school. And then a copy of that diploma, all that needs to be handy.
[01:24:40] Now, there are so many really cool ways. Kellie’s great at this, I am so not, of uploading those documents to Google docs or to the cloud, wherever that cloud is out there in the world. You know, those are things that are real important to know about and have them know. And I promise you, they probably know more about it than we do. But like it or not, paperwork management is required. I mean, we have to know how to do that because you’re going to need these documents, not only for college, but for anything in their adult life and in their future.
[01:25:09] But students with or without disabilities who do not have family support in this area, they’re often at a disadvantage. So encourage your young person to begin collecting records. And this is something that you can help them with, that they will need to make the transition to adulthood and further education or training. And like I said, Google docs is a great form of online record keeping. And so just find what works best for you. I’m still kind of the paper, pencil gal so we still use a lot of notebooks and checklists and things like that. So whatever works for you is perfect.
[01:25:41] We are not going to watch this video for the sake of time, but as Kellie said, you will get an email with this PowerPoint and all of the handouts. And you can go back and watch this, but this is talking about assistive technology when you go to post-secondary education. So it’s really a good video, but just for time, we’re not going to watch it.
[01:26:02] So now again, we’re going back and we’re looking at that destination and mapping the course for post-secondary education. And this handout, it’s also included in your handouts and it’s just real important just so you can, it just shows you some things that you need to do in mapping that course so I encourage you to look at all of the handouts, they’re valuable and have some wonderful, wonderful resources.
[01:26:26] [coughs] Excuse me, now we’re going to look into independent living. And I’ll tell you a little bit about my son’s story too, as we go along. But when parents are thinking about transition to adulthood employment, post-secondary education those are often those first considerations. But it’s important to give careful thought to the skills they’ll need to live independently as possible. And that’s where kind of where we are in our journey and mapping our dream for my son’s future.
[01:27:00] But independent living skills impacts all areas of adult living. Interdependence is also highly valued in families, communities, and work settings. So who of us does not need the support of a coworker, family, or friend member almost daily? We have weekly staff meetings here at Kentucky SPIN. Of course we do them via zoom, all of our staff, well, the majority of our staff work from home and we have our little staff meetings and the first, pretty much 45 minutes of our staff meeting is just really, we’re just dependent on each other just to kinda, you know, just to hash things out. We talk personal things and it works really, really well. So we all need that support from others. But these skills affect opportunities to learn, work and live full lives into our community.
[01:27:50] So for instance, will your son or daughter have the skills that they need to participate in the community, help or manage a home and take part in recreation and leisure activities? But all of that is so important for them to learn and it can be incorporated in the IEP. And so be thinking about that. So it’s really important that you can incorporate those independent living skills into that IEP.
[01:28:16] But you’ll also want to explore their needs and strengths in that area of independent living regardless of the school services. So what we’re doing right now with Clayton, as I said, he’s 24, he’s been out of school since 2015. He does work, like I said, he has a couple of jobs actually, and so we are really thinking, you know, now is the time to begin to plan for that independent living. And so we live very rural, we live in the country and we are in the process now. And hopefully by this time next year, Clayton will have his own at home, on our farm. And, we’ve been talking about it and planning for it and saving for it. So that’s something that we’re real excited about. He has a girlfriend, she’s actually visiting us right now, she’s been here for a week and she goes home on Friday. She lives in Florida. So they’re talking future plans and all of that. And so we really had to start taking those next steps of what is it going to look like for him to transition into independent living. And so we have been really, really exploring those options.
[01:29:18] But once they get to be an adult, they need to stay involved in their community and activities. And you may have to initiate those things for a while. We’ve talked about friendship building is kind of hard as they get older. And so keeping that involvement, in recreation and leisure activities are so, so important. I can’t tell you how much they are. But find some activities that they’re interested in. If they enjoy gardening, or projects. It’s music in our household, computer activities, poems, stories, arts, crafts, photography. Find something that they enjoy. My son loves public speaking. So we have incorporated that into and, also like a little part time job. So he goes out and does some motivational speaking at different events and he actually gets paid for it. So that’s been wonderful.
[01:30:11] But there are so many programs out there available, especially if you do live in a larger community. There is special Olympics, there are centers for independent living that had some wonderful self-advocacy groups available. I would highly recommend that you look into that. That’s really important and reach out to us if you need some direction in that. Summer camps, community recreation programs, lots of different things that they can get involved with. Community theater, museums, art galleries, find out what’s going on at your local public library. There’s so many activities that go on at your local library that are free. Ours has an adult reading program and so Clayton has attended that many times. And so that’s been really, really good. Visiting a retirement home and staying involved there, making those connections, going to, you know, maybe a community event hosting a community event, whatever you can think of and maybe some things your son or daughter is involved with. I think those are really, really important things for them to do stay connected.
[01:31:18] But something that you have to think about too, is you want to explore the areas that they want to be independent. So, you know housing is really big deal, a huge deal. And it seems like to me that our housing options for people disabilities are slim, and so we have to really begin to think about what do we want for them? I know a lot of parents who say, well my child will always live with me. And I’m probably gonna have some people mad at me about this, but to be honest, that is not the best idea. Because you want to teach those independent skills so that they do feel confident enough that they can live on their own with support, okay. But away from mom and dad. And sometimes that is so very important because what we do is we just kind of create that eternal child in them. When we say we want to keep them sheltered and protected the rest of their life. We want them to begin to explore, you know, different transportation options. Being able to do their medical care sometimes on their own, who can help them with financial management other than you?
[01:32:29] And you know, PACER has a great housing project. When you get this PowerPoint, you will, you can click on it. That link there, there are some wonderful options out there. So what do they want to do? Do they want to live at home? As we said, Clayton has been here, and he’s 24 now. We’re just now exploring that option. You know, there’s a lot of great things that, you can do. A lot of parents create a separate living space in their home for their son or daughter. And that’s wonderful too. We are actually doing it outside of our home, but very close to where we are. Actually, I will be able to see Clayton’s home from my home. And so that’s really good. You know, living, in their own homes like that, maybe with support, that’s what we’re going to have for him.
[01:33:14] Also, you know, there are group homes available. Clinton’s girlfriend actually lives in an apartment complex in Florida, she lives with another adult with a disability, but it’s in an apartment complex that is just a fabulous place for them. And so I love that concept too. There’s subsidized housing section 8 is a program that can be used, HUD housing, and they can have reduced rent payments. And there is a waiting list usually for those programs. But if you go ahead and get your name out there on that list, that’s something that could definitely be available for them. And PACERs website on that has a lot of great information that can be just transferred over to Kentucky and you can look up those areas, in Kentucky.
[01:34:04] But again, this is a great handout that you can work with your son or daughter or a student talking about independent living and what they want. And you know, you can ask them of questions. Where do you want to live? What do you want to do in your community? What are some of your favorite activities? How can you connect with people in your community? And what are activities that I’d like to do in the future? And you can brainstorm from there. And of course, most of the time if we’ve enabled our young person to depend on us totally, they are gonna say to you, I want to live with you mom for the rest of my life. But here’s the thing, and here’s an analogy I love to share. If someone has never had a steak before they’ve only had hamburger, they’re not going to notice what a steak tastes like until they try it.
[01:34:53] So your child adult, isn’t going to know what it’s going to be like to live in their own place. Or to have those independent living skills, if you’ve always done everything for them. So what we started to do, about a year ago as we started storming with Clayton and talking about his own house. We talked about what it would look like and asking him what he would like. And then we drew it, we put it on a house plan. So this has been a year process that we’ve been working on this. So we kind of had a two year plan this whole yea. We’ve been talking about it. And now this next year, we’re hoping to start it. And so we drew some plans up and actually my mother-in-law did and just very simple little plan and talked about what he would like.
[01:35:34] So those are visuals that are great, that you can do to begin to prepare those steps about independent living, but you can practice those skills at home and in the community. And make sure that if there are things that they need to work on, you can address it right then instead of when they’re already on their own. So, you know, including them when cooking, cleaning, and shopping. And, you know, give them a list of groceries that you can buy. We do that with Clay and it’s been great, he can navigate Walmart pretty well now, and so that’s been really, really good.
[01:36:06] Help them schedule the doctor’s appointment and that they, maybe they might have questions that they want to ask at the doctor. If you answer for them all the time, they are never going to have to have that critical thinking skill that they need. Sometimes you have to say back, and this is the verbiage I use, I don’t know, Clayton. What do you think? And so what that does is that makes him begin to have to think for himself, but guess what? My son has slow processing speeds so I have to be quiet long enough to let him talk and think about it and process it. I am a speedy Gonzalez type of person. So that has been a skill that I have had to work on, so that he has been able to shine and be able to let his voice come out.
[01:36:51] But you know, talk about his prescription. We do that, here’s why you take this medicine and what it’s for. He does self-medicate. He does take his own medicine. We have a pill box that we fill weekly and then he goes in every morning and night and types of pills. And, you know, we talk about what those pills are for and I think that’s real important.
[01:37:10] Have them open up a joint checking account. Clayton has a debit card that he uses and so that’s been wonderful. He saves his receipts and then we talk about him later. He doesn’t have a lot of cash. Cash just doesn’t seem to work for him very well. So he just has a little bit in his wallet, but he knows how to use that debit card and knows his pin, and I think that’s real important.
[01:37:31] If you live on in a community where public transportation is available that is something that I would highly encourage you to begin to work with them on as they get older. How to use the bus schedule if they need to. I know where Clinton’s girlfriend Isabelle lives she gets out, and catches the bus and goes to work. And I think that is wonderful.
[01:37:52] Practice what to do in emergency situations, how to call for help. You almost have to do those social stories and set them up almost for failure. And I hate to say that, but when they don’t do it right, you’re able to teach them the correct skill. But if you’re always just showing them in the right way, they’re never going to learn guys how to do it. We’ve all made mistakes in our life but it got us to where we are today. They need to experience the same thing.
[01:38:18] But look for ways to turn interest into real skills and social experiences. So if attending the movies is one of your child’s favorite activities, make the most of it. Help them, you know, invite a friend and decide a plan for transportation. And we talked about that earlier. I think that it’s so very important that we begin to allow them to make the choices that they need.
[01:38:40] So some transition to independent living again we’re setting that destination and we’re going to map the course. But check the supports and services available in your community. I think we’ve talked about all of these, but it’s so very important that you begin to look them up and research them and see if it’s something that might be something that your child wants to be involved with.
[01:39:03] When you get your packet in the handout, you will see, and the PowerPoint, all of these are linkable. These links, you can click on them and go right to the link. And so I think that will help you all as you begin to look into this. But this is a screenshot of PACERs National PACER Center on Transition and Employment. Kentucky SPIN, we also have a wonderful section on transition support, that you can go to. And anything that we have, you can download it and share it out to anyone. All of our resources are free and available to anyone who wants to use them. So I would highly recommend that you take advantage of those.
[01:39:46] But I love this quote right here. It says it’s worth the effort, dreaming, hoping, and seeing potential where others may not, that’s the role of the family. Believe in the capability of your child, cultivate patients and view your child’s future with anticipation and optimism.
[01:40:06] I’ve talked to many, many parents that have said, you know, well, my child can’t work. Well, you know, as long as you say that they never will. You have to begin to have high expectations and not only look at their limitations, but look at what they can do and how they can make a difference and begin to learn skills that they need. And, you know, by practicing them at home or in their community. And I think that it’s so very, very important that we begin to think about that, see their future is bright and not only, you know, focus on what they can’t do, but think of ways that they can begin to be out in their community, being a part of their community and working.
[01:40:51] This guy here, we just wanted to throw it out there and let you, you know, that we have on Kentucky SPIN’s website, which is very simple, it’s www.kyspin.com, and we have a whole, actually a whole page on just COVID-19 educational updates, but also other resources related to COVID-19 that I believe are wonderful. We do a weekly, you know, a weekly, we call it Kentucky SPIN’s Tuesday Tips, and it is, every Tuesday at 11. We have a standing webinar every Tuesday at 11, and we talk about all the latest information and guidance and topics will vary. And so all you have to do is go to our webpage and you can sign up for any of our webinars that are available. And so I encourage you to do that.
[01:41:52] And also sign up for our e-news because then that e-news you’ll get it right in your mailbox, your email box and everything in our e-news is all clickable links. And so that’s real important that you know, that we’re there for you to help you and assist you in any way.
[01:42:10] So, we want you to know, that once you leave our webinar today, if you could please complete our evaluation, it truly helps us prepare for other webinars and let us know how we’re doing.
[01:42:23] But Kellie, is there any questions or anything else that we need to cover at the end of the presentation today?
[01:42:38] I’m not sure if Kellie can hear me anymore. But, I’m just going to look at the questions real quick and see if there are any pending questions. No, I don’t see anything right now, but if you do have a question and you need additional assistance, this is our email information, our website, please go on there and let us know your thoughts. We really, really will appreciate that. Complete our evaluation when it comes up at the end and thank you all so much for joining us today. I hope this has been information that has helped you, that will help you plan for your child’s transition and future, and just know we’re here to provide any resources or information for you.
[01:43:24] And thank you so much. Y’all have a great day.