Students Get Involved
There’s a very simple and common sense reason why IDEA 2004 requires that students with disabilities be invited to attend every IEP meeting where postsecondary transition goals will be considered: It’s their lives.
And those lives are changing. Adulthood is approaching, and with it will come a world of responsibilities and choices. Who’s the primary stakeholder in that life ahead? The student. Who better to choose the path ahead, the job or the next schooling, than the student? Who better to ponder what career, what leisure pasttimes, what community participation? Student involvement in planning ahead makes all the sense in the world.
This resource page will connect you and yours with resources you can use to involve students with disabilities in planning their own transitions into adulthood.
THE BASICS OF STUDENT INVOLVEMENT
Whose life is it anyway?
This publication is a unique exploration of the emotions and relationships between three key transition partners: Becky, the youth; her mother, and her teacher. It includes talking points for group discussion about relationship building and best practice in adolescent transition.
What does student involvement involve?
Jim Martin is an expert on student involvement in IEP and transition planning. Here’s an archived discussion of his that provides an overview of student involvement and self-directed IEPs, as well as detailed answers to teachers’ questions.
10 ways to involve young adults in their IEP meetings
When students with disabilities and young adults are involved in their own IEP meetings, it helps them understand their own disability, strengths, areas to work on, goals, and modifications. Ultimately, this practice leads to greater confidence and increased self-advocacy skills for our students.
According to the Person-Centered Planning Education Site, person-centered planning “involves the development of a ‘toolbox’ of methods and resources that enable people with disability labels to choose their own pathways to success; the planners simply help them to figure out where they want to go and how best to get there.” As such, person-centered planning is a marvelous tool for IEP teams to use during transition planning. Explore the resources below to learn more.
What is it? Here’s the short and sweet intro.
Person-centered planning education website.
Visit this website for an overview of the person-centered planning process; a self-study course covering the basic processes involved; a quiz section to help you focus on areas you may need to cover more thoroughly; a compendium of readings and activities for you to use on your own, various links, and downloadable resources.
Parent Center webinar on the subject.
The Michigan Alliance for Families offers an archived webinar on person-centered planning.
Visit the website on person-centered planning put together by New York State. Lots of faceted information here: hallmarks of the process, various methodologies, facilitating a person-centered planning, personal stories, and additional resources.
MATERIALS FOR STUDENTS
A variety of resources speak directly to students themselves, to explain the transition planning process and the importance of participating in it. Because the resources are written for students rather than about students, their language is clear, positive, concrete, practical (often going step by step), and motivating. Turn your student loose on these!
“Childhood meets adulthood at Youthhood.org.” This is a very interactive site for youth to use to start thinking about what they want to do with the rest of their lives, designed to help youth plan for the future. (Psst! Good for adults, too.)
Best practices in self-advocacy skill building.
Don’t forget to visit the “Youth” section of CPIR’s priority page on building self-advocacy skills.
Map It: What comes next?
Map It: What Comes Next is a free, online, interactive training designed for transition-aged students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Video vignettes signed in ASL with spoken English and written transcription, self-assessments, and a series of interactive questions guide students as they identify their goals and develop strategies to achieve them. All interactive materials are saved and compiled in an electronic portfolio.
Be your own advocate.
Visit KASA (Kids as Self Advocates), a national, grassroots network of youth with disabilities and needs (and friends), speaking out. As KASA youth say, “We are teens and young adults with disabilities speaking out. KASA knows youth can make choices and advocate for themselves if they have the information and support they need.”
Winning in college: A guide for students with disabilities.
The transition from high school to college life is difficult enough for any number of students without considering a disability. Odds are that if you have a disability and you made it through high school, you’ve done it with the help of a very disciplined and structured routine order of classes. College life is a very different game, allowing you to make a lot of choices and decisions for yourself.
On the job: Stories from youth with disabilities.
And there’s nothing like hearing success stories about your peers! This booklet compiles the stories of six young people with significant disabilities on the job, for whom early work experiences have played a vital role, as did an emphasis on using natural supports.