The Transition to Adulthood Workshop was a great success!
On September 10, 2019, 20 parents showed up to learn more about the transition process for children with disabilities starting at age 14 (in NJ). SPAN presenter, Kim Rivers, provided details and resources on the timeline as well as tips for knowing who is responsible for which tasks—parents…student…school—and also answered the many questions folks had about their stage in the process.
Kim talked about including our youth in IEP meetings as early as possible, but definitely by the time transition is to begin, so that they can become self-advocates. She informed parents that once their children turn 18, they can legally refuse to allow parents to join them in meetings or even turn down IEP services, so it’s good to get them involved early on and encourage open discussion with parents to ensure we can continue to be involved once they reach the age of majority. Kim also let parents know that once a student with an IEP goes to college, they are no longer part of the public school system and must learn to navigate informing the campus’s Office of Disability Services about any needed accommodations.
Kim told the audience about the many opportunities for job training, much of which begins while the students are still in school. There are also skills supports available for learning to be more independent—taking the bus, doing laundry, learning to handle money and change, and so on. There wasn’t time to talk about independent living, but we did discuss guardianship and alternatives such as supported decision-making.
During the discussion, Kim informed us that every district has a transition coordinator, who is sometimes also the case worker. C/WC parents stated they didn’t know who our district coordinator is, which sounds like a problem, but is an actionable item that the SEPAG can bring to the Special Education department to ask that the name(s) of the person be added to the district website.
All in all, an informative night. It was great to see so many parents come out for this first of many SEPAG events. Thank you all, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us! We look forward to seeing many of you at our next meeting. SEPAG meetings are the first Thursday of every month, and we will be discussing the possibility of a rotating schedule so that more families can get involved.
Here are the slides from the presentation: SPAN 2019 Transition to Adulthood Workshop slides.
The C/WC Family SEPAG will be hosting another SPAN workshop in Spring 2020. Keep your eyes peeled for more information on that in the future!