Tips & Tools

All Tuesday Tips

In case you missed it in November, Daniel McNulty at the PATINS Project tweeted, “Students are also creating massive amounts of digital content, in addition to consuming. It’s essential for students to have modeled for them sound practices for respecting copyright for digital media and protecting their own original work!”

We agree. Digital content and materials found on the internet (images, artwork, videos, etc.) are often copyrighted—but are frequently used without permission. We want to make sure that as teachers, you are modeling and appropriately using digital information in your classrooms, your online content, and your presentations.

Creative Commons is a site that allows content creators to share their information with others. Materials you find on Creative Commons can be:

  • In the public domain—meaning the content is free to use without attribution
  • Openly licensed but sharable—meaning the content creator will allow you to use the content if you provide appropriate attribution.

Check out the CC wiki here on how to provide correct attribution for content you’re sharing as is or that you’re modifying. And this “Using Creative Commons” video from GCFLearn Free will help you navigate the searching, licensing, and sharing process.

We have an increasing number of requests for Spanish-language transition materials. In response, we recently posted “Decisiones sobre el Diploma Indiana,” the translation of our “Indiana Diploma Decisions” among our resources on the INSTRC website.

To make it easier to find Spanish-language transition support materials for students and families, we’ve also created a new Resource Collection on the website. Under Resource Collections and the “Resources in Spanish” tab, you’ll find:

  • “Decisiones sobre el Diploma Indiana” (Indiana Diploma Decisions)

  • Es la unversidad para ti? (Is College for You?)

  • “Es mi decision” (It’s My Decision)

  • “Indiana Servicios de Rehabilitation Vocational” (Working with Indiana VR—the video)

  • “Trabajando con Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation” (Working with Indiana VR—the fact sheet for students and families)

And in English:

  • “Transition to Employment: Recommendations for Working with Hispanic/Latino Families” (video)

Feliz año nuevo!

As young adults transition to living more independently, health care becomes a concern. Many young adults are not aware of how to find appropriate health care and learn that navigating health insurance, Medicaid, and other health care-related programs can be daunting.

Got Transition from the National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health has a goal to improve transition for young adults to adult health care. They’re “working to:

  • expand the use of the Six Core Elements of Health Care Transition™;
  • improve knowledge and competencies in providing effective health care transition supports;
  • develop youth and parent leadership in advocating for needed transition supports;
  • promote health system measurement, performance, and payment policies; and
  • serve as a clearinghouse for current transition information, tools, and resources.”

    Got Transition provides an online service that helps young adults and parents determine what information they need to support young adults in becoming independent in managing their health care. The “Are you ready to transition to adult health care?” quiz asks questions about what the young adult already knows about their own health care and then provides information and links on what to do next.

    Check out the Got Transition quiz “Are You Ready to Transition to Adult Health Care?” and then pass it on to your colleagues, students, and their families.

We are excited to announce the release of the Indiana Transition IEP Miniseries. The seven-course miniseries is a free online training from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center. Each course (they’re brief!) is designed to help you become more familiar with the components of the cyclical planning process and support you as you create quality Transition IEPs with your students.

Courses in the Transition IEP Miniseries are:

• Introduction
• Student Involvement
• Present Levels of Functional Performance
• Transition Assessments and Postsecondary Goals
• Transition Services and Activities
• Annual Goals
• Conclusion

You can complete the entire series or individual courses. The miniseries is designed both for teachers new to the field and for teachers and administrators who just want a refresher. Upon completing courses, you can receive contact hours used toward Professional Growth Points, up to a total of 10.5 contact hours for completing the entire miniseries.

The Transition IEP Miniseries is provided online through IU Expand. The IU Expand link to the Transition IEP Miniseries will give you information on how to create an IU Guest Account and enroll. And—in case you lose this email—we’ll post the link to the series on the INSTRC website, in Transition Resources, Archived Trainings, and in the Resource Collection: Professionals New to Transition.

We’re following up today on our Benefits 101 webinar of October 29. We recorded the session and it’s now up on the INSTRC website, but you can link to Benefits 101 here.

For those of you who didn’t have a chance to listen in, the webinar was presented by Stephanie Gage, who is the project coordinator of Indiana’s Benefits Information Network (BIN). Supported through Indiana VR, the BIN project trains and certifies a group of liaisons who provide resources and counsel individuals and their families around the state. Like the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center, BIN is a project of the Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC).

Want more benefits info for families? We have a page of work incentive and benefits information fact sheets on our CCLC website. And if you scroll down, you’ll find a series of four fact sheets specifically for students in transition.
Supplemental Security Income After Age 18
Social Security Disability Insurance
Working and Paying for Health Care
More State and Federal Benefits

And just so you know: Stephanie and her team keep tabs on changes to benefits, so we update the fact sheets annually. Look for new fact sheets in January 2020.

September’s collaborative learning across the state highlights the many ways we can count our creative connections and uses of multiple transition resources! Although we have wrapped up our six regional face-to-face trainings and final webinar, we want to provide some of the most important resources from these trainings.

We’ve posted the webinar presentation and the FAQs below and on the INSTRC website. We’re also including the link here to Padlet, where you’ll find a gold mine of the many resources provided during the trainings.

Everything Counts! webinar
PowerPoint presentation
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Working in secondary transition, we try to help students envision their best life. What is the best way to prevent negative outcomes? To promote positive actions that lead to desired outcomes! If we wait until a problem exists and then attempt to treat it, overcome it, or even hide it, then we have waited too long!

It is much easier to stay healthy than to become healthy once a life event changes your course. The Indiana Prevention Resource Center understands that. They’ve created What’s Your Side Effect?, a campaign encouraging young people to avoid substance abuse and live their most healthy, passionate life. Check out the What's Your Side Effect websiteand find out how your students can use the campaign’s three strategies to:

Set the Stage—develop strong relationships, mentors, safe places, and healthy lifestyles to increase student chances for success.

Dream Big—enthusiastically pursue what makes a student come alive.

Bring a Friend—find the fun in pursuing a passion by supporting friends who are also pursing their passions.

Nice related video series here too, that you could use in your classrooms.

When parents ask you those tough benefit questions, do you scramble for information, or even (be honest!) try not to make eye contact? We understand. Benefits are just complicated.

Stephanie Gage, a project coordinator at the Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC), will host a free webinar for parents and teachers on Tuesday afternoon, October 29, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time. Gage works with CCLC’s Benefits Information Network (BIN), providing training and certification to professionals around the state who advise individuals and their families about how benefits impact work and supports.

The webinar will highlight how transition-aged youth can use work incentives, such as the Student Earned Income Exclusion, to explore working with supports and safety nets that can prevent them from losing their benefits. Gage will also explain Social Security’s Ticket to Work program, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, SSI, SSDI, and healthcare coverage as well as asset-building resources and how to report earnings.

This webinar is free of charge, and you do not need to register. We encourage schools to share the webinar link with parents and family members—or you might consider projecting the webinar in a classroom so that multiple families and staff can attend. For those who can’t participate, INSTRC will record and post the webinar on its website.

For more information, see our events calendar listing, or just link to on the day of the webinar.

In 2017, the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services published “A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities.” The guide introduces transition team members to:

• Transition IEP rules and regulations
• Vocational Rehabilitation eligibility and Pre-Employment Transition Services
• Supported, customized, and self-employment post-school options
• Preparation and paying for college
• Strategies for supporting students to make their own decisions
• Links to programs and services involved in transition

Also included in the guide are a chart listing key points in the transition process and a glossary of terms.

Though the OSERS Transition Guide contains information on transition concepts and best practices, it does not go into detail about specific state practices. Consider pairing the “Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment...” with “Indiana Diploma Decisions” (available on the INSTRC website in both English and Spanish) as resources for families during case conference meetings or parent nights.

One in five high school students report being bullied at school, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. The Centers for Disease Control says that more than 15% of teens say they have been cyberbullied.

Have you checked out the Pacer Center’s Teens Against Bullying page? With music videos, T-shirts, bookmarks, discussion questions, and stories shared by other teens, the page is a must!

For a sneak preview, watch:

  • This I Believe, a performance and adaptation of an essay written by a 14-year-old student
  • Help Me, music video by Dat Stern
  • Butterfly, music video by Lizzie Sider

Flip the script in your school with Teens Against Bullying.

Open up your calendars! There are two upcoming webinars you may want to add to your schedule.

The first comes to you October 2, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Eastern Time, from the Indiana Department of Education, Office of Special Education. IDOE’s Michelle Oja will help you understand the transition portfolio components, explore Indiana Career Explorer, duplicate the Google Sites Template for your own use, and incorporate students’ postsecondary plans into the transition portfolio. Register now for the Transition Portfolio Informational Webinar.

The second webinar is an online wrap-up of the “Everything Counts! Transition IEP Regional Trainings” presented this month by the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center. The trainings cover graduation pathways, transition activities and services, the Certificate of Completion, and measurable annual goals. If you did not have a chance to attend one of the six in-person trainings this past month (we have two more—in New Albany and West Lafayette!), join us online October 16, from 1-2:30 p.m., Eastern Time. The webinar is free, and you do not need to register for this one to connect. Just click on the Everything Counts! Zoom link.

Need a quick way to explain adult supports and decision making to students and families? Last spring Mackenzie Jones, a graduate assistant with the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, created a video that does just that.

Before a student turns 18, parents or primary caregivers should be investigating options for how that young adult will make decisions about health care, finances, work, school, where they’ll live, who they’ll live with, how they save and spend their money, and virtually every aspect of their developing adult lives. With new legislation passed last year in Indiana, students and their families have a range of choices to explore, including the newer, less restrictive option for Supported Decision Making.

This not-quite-10-minute video explains the spectrum of support in Indiana. It also features Adria Nassim, who works with us here at the Institute and the Center on Community Living and Careers. In the video, Adria talks about how she relies on a diverse set of supports to live and work in the community. Seeing how someone “makes it work” could be insightful for transitioning students and family members.

Check out Transitioning from Adolescence: Alternatives to Guardianship, and share the link or screen it at your next parent information night!

Schools are implementing Indiana’s Employability Skills Standards during the 2019-2020 school year. Integrating these standards into the daily life of students in your school system helps prepare them for the needs and demands of the ever-changing workforce. The standards address four key areas: Mindsets, Work Ethic, Learning Strategies, and Social and Emotional Skills.

The Office of Innovation released an implementation guide for Employability Skills Standards. The guide provides some ideas to help you plan district, school, and classroom-based strategies for infusing employability skills into your lessons for the students in your community.

The website of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes includes articles aimed at helping professionals create work-based learning opportunities, improve a student’s self-advocacy skills, plan for transition, and request testing accommodations. With the understanding that those first steps toward employment can be a challenge, the center also provides information about applying for a job and how to request an interpreter.

This week, the National Deaf Center will release a choose-your-own-adventure online game called Deafverse World One: Duel of the Bots. This innovative game can help build confidence and vital self-determination skills. It comes with resources for teachers and students, such as a Player Strategy Guide, Learning Objectives, and stickers.

Go to the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes website and see their article "5 Ways to Go Back to School with #DeafSuccess" to access their wealth of information and resources.

Innovation and technology have opened up new avenues to self-employment. However, beginning a self-employment venture can be overwhelming.

If you have a student who has expressed interest in self-employment, please share the Self-Employment Information and Training webpage, which features handouts on self-employment and resources to support young adults considering this customized employment option.

In addition, the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community’s Center on Community Living and Careers is offering an in-depth, 2-day informational workshop delivered by Griffin Hammis in Indianapolis. At this workshop, The Road to Self-Employment on September 24-25, participants will learn about business plans, support systems, marketing, financing, and more.

This two-day workshop, sponsored by the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, is free, but registration is required. For more information and to register, see the Road to Self-Employment flyer.

This week we’re sharing an opportunity for free professional development through a five-part webinar series. These 90-minute webinars explore partnerships and programs for career technical education as well as best practices for developers.

Webinar 1. CTE for Students with Disabilities: A Framework for Understanding Thursday, August 29, 2019 3–4:30 pm Eastern Time

Webinar 2. Effective Partnerships: Communication, Collaboration and Professional Practice Thursday, September 19, 2019 3–4:30 pm, Eastern Time

Webinar 3. Classroom Supports: Universal Design for Learning, Differentiated Instruction Wednesday, October 16, 2019 3–4:30 pm, Eastern Time

Webinar 4. Classroom Management: Behavioral Supports, Motivation, Reflective Teaching Thursday, November 21, 2019 3–4:30 pm, Eastern Time

Webinar 5. Toward Best Practices: Programs that Work, Models Toward Success Thursday, December 19, 2019 3–4:30 pm, Eastern Time

The series is offered by Penn State University’s Workforce Education program, the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT), and the Association for Career and Technical Education.

You can register and find more detailed information on the CTE webinar information page.

As pledged last spring, we are providing you with the long-awaited, updated Indiana Diploma Decisions. The 2019 edition is a guide and reference, published by the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center, featuring information on diplomas, the Certificate of Completion, graduation requirements and pathways, transition portfolios, and more.

The new edition will be a helpful guide for you as well as your students and their families. Share the link with them:

Indiana Diploma Decisions

Be sure you’re counting everything you should when you’re evaluating, monitoring, observing, and making connections for your Transition IEPs. Register now for one of six 2019 Regional Transition IEP Trainings taking place in September. The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center; the Indiana Department of Education, Office of Special Education; and the Indiana IEP Resource Center will collaborate to offer updates on:

  • Graduation Pathways
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Transition Portfolios
  • Transition Activities and Services
  • Creating Better Measurable Annual Goals

Join us if you are a member of an education team overseeing the quality and compliance of Transition IEPs in districts and/or cooperatives—special education directors, assistant directors, coordinators, and department chairs. Seats fill up fast for these informative, full-day trainings, so register now! We’ll be in:

  • Huntington, September 5
  • Hammond, September 13
  • Muncie, September 16
  • Indianapolis, September 17
  • New Albany, September 26
  • West Lafayette, September 30
Can’t be there in person? Connect online October 16 for our wrap up webinar. More information, registration, and the link to the webinar are on our Everything Counts! flyer.

The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) staff would like to welcome you back to another year of Tuesday’s Transition Tips. We appreciate your feedback and are excited to work with you and support your transition efforts this school year. 

A couple of things as we gear up for the 2019-20 school year:

  • If you have a new colleague in your building, please make sure you share Tuesday's Tips with them. We want to reach all new staff, so please let them know subscribing is easy. They should send their name and email address to Lori Pierce at and explain that they would like to be added to the TT mailing list. It’s that simple.

  • This year’s Regional Transition IEP Trainings, “Everything Counts,” begin September 5 and take place throughout the month in six locations around the state. Take a look at the flyer and save the date. We’ll send you registration information next week. For those of you who can’t make it in person, we’ll also offer a webinar training option on October 16.
  • In case you have not met all of our INSTRC staff, here we are:

Check back with us every Tuesday. If you have an INSTRC request, please email us at 

Have a wonderful 2019-20 school year!

Before we let you go off to your well-earned vacations, we have a couple of transition bonuses for those of you still in your classrooms. 

We’ve updated Indiana Diploma Decisions and added it to the resources on the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center website. With new information on diplomas, the Certificate of Completion, requirements, graduation pathways, transition portfolios and more, the 2019 edition will be helpful for you as well as your students and their families. Share the link with them:

Indiana Diploma Decisions

We recognize that we may miss some of our transition teachers this late in the year, but we thought it important to send it out anyway, in the event that some of you may be working with students and families over the summer.  We promise to send out Indiana Diploma Decisions again in August!

And one more thing! Save the date!  Through its Benefits Information Network, the Center on Community Living and Careers trains benefits counselors around the state about issues pertaining to Social Security benefits and work incentives, health care, housing, and more. Typically, the training we do is for our certified BIN liaisons, but we also offer a 2-day, information session (non-certified) to provide teachers, school counselors, families, and others with in-depth information about SSI, SSDI, redetermination at age 18, and other benefits and work incentives. Understanding this information will help you guide transition students who are working or those who are preparing to work. 

We’re offering two information sessions this year: August 19-20 and October 14-15.  Both are in Indianapolis.  We’ll remind you in early August when Tuesday Tips resume, but in the meantime watch for registration information on our Benefits Information Training page.  Scroll down to “Social Security and Work Incentives Information Workshop.”


Have a wonderful, relaxing, fun-filled summer!   

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re sharing this gem of a video from the Excelano Project at the University of Pennsylvania. Excelano is a spoken word poetry group focusing on mental health awareness and empowerment. And we certainly can’t describe them any better than they do:

“This group is about finding voice. It is dedicated to the power of the mic and using personal experience to touch the lives of audience members. It’s about breaking down barriers. It’s about holding a speaker up to life’s white noise, to find that every one of us can be heard.”

 Watch and listen to “Tomorrow Will Come Again, I Promise,and promise to share it with your students!

There’s more to successful employment than knowing the step-by-step, how-to’s of a task. It’s those “softskills” that often get shuffled to the back burner when students are facing deadlines or focusing on standardized test scores. But without interpersonal skills, teamwork, flexibility, and negotiation (to name just a few), finding success in the workplace could be tough.

Here is a list of nine activities, from the site We Are Teachers, to help students build those softskills (and have some end-of-the-year fun).  “Nine Awesome Activities That Teach Job Readiness Skills

In 2003, the National Center for Secondary Education and Transition at the University of Minnesota published a nice, simple listing of a multitude of ways to promote self-determination. It includes strategies for self-advocacy, reasonable risk-taking, problem-solving, and more. As a handout, it might be helpful for case conference meetings or transition fairs.

Take a look at “Promoting Self-Determination in Youth with Disabilities: Tips for Families and Professionals.” 

Find more tips and information on NCSET's page Self-Determination: Supporting Successful Transition.  

Members of the Indiana Cadres of Transition Leaders are meeting today in Indianapolis for their annual Capacity Building Institute. This year’s Institute, “Innovate, Integrate, Motivate” features presentations from state leaders and Indiana transition teachers.

Topics covered today will include mental health, benefits, transition portfolios, student-led IEPs, and more. To review today’s presentations and related materials, go to the Training page of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center website and scroll down to “Innovate, Integrate, Motivate.”

One of several new changes Indiana is implementing for all students receiving special education services is the transition portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of information and materials related to a student’s academic and work-related activities. The new portfolios will help students share their learning characteristics, academic skills, and employability skills with postsecondary training programs or potential employers.

Last week the Indiana Department of Education’s Office of Special Education announced that it has published “Transition Portfolio Guidance” for the state’s secondary teachers.

This summer, the Office of Special Education will also be providing Transition Portfolio Regional Trainings for special education teachers, administrators, and counselors. For more information and to register for trainings in Fort Wayne, South Bend, Washington, Fishers, or Seymour, see the Transition Portfolio Regional Trainings flyer.

And one more heads up. We’re thisclose to publishing an updated version of Indiana Diploma Decisions for students, families, and teachers. Stay tuned to your Tuesday Tips!

Summer camps are a wonderful way for our students to meet new friends, explore new interests, experience independence, and participate in activities they might never be exposed to during the school year.  It can be challenging, though, to find the right camp for a student with disabilities.  Day camp, weekends, near home, robots, exotic animals, anime, music,  medical or physical supports, picky eaters, fear of the water, stargazing.  You name it; families are looking for it.

 Thankfully, our colleagues at the Indiana Resource Center for Autism publish an annual Summer Camps and Programs Guide, where parents, teachers, and counselors can find a myriad of camps that take place throughout Indiana. (The guide is not just for students with autism.) It’s listed by region and alphabetically and even includes therapeutic horseback riding programs and sensory-friendly movie theaters.

Deadlines for enrollment vary, so explore now and send the link to your families!

For those of you with students who are soon headed off to the wonderful world of work (and wages), today’s tip comes with a couple of different resources.

  1. Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation asks eligible job seekers (VR refers to them as “participants”) to choose an employment provider that can support students with a number of different work-related services. You’ll find the employment providers in your area here, on a document VR refers to as “the pick list.” But, to help students and their families select the provider that’s right for them, they’ll need to make a few phone calls and ask a few questions. A Roadmap to Choosing an Employment Provider,” from the Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC), can guide students as they ask those questions and compare providers.
  2. What if your student wants to start her/his own business? For those students, CCLC is offering The “ABCs of Self-Employment,” a FREE information session designed to help students and adults with disabilities learn more about starting and running a business. Entrepreneurs with disabilities who are successfully managing self-employment will talk to attendees and their supporters about how they’ve made it work. The program is sponsored by the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities.

South Bend will be hosting the next “ABCs of Self-Employment” on April 24 at the Hilton Garden Inn and Gillespie Conference Center. Can’t make it to the South Bend session? CCLC will also be offering the sessions in New Albany and Indianapolis later in the year. For more information and to register for the April 24 session, see the “ABCs of Self-Employment” registration flyer.

We would like to point out that the sun is actually shining today—over the whole state of Indiana. It’s been a while.

Since many of you are off cavorting for spring break—you are cavorting, right?--Tuesday Tips and the team at the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center is taking the week off.

We’ll return next week with more tips, strategies, and resources.
Rest, relax, have fun, and soak up some sun!

Who am I? What do I want? How do I get there?

Those are the three questions that form the basis for “Map It!: What Comes Next?” a free, online module designed for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Map It! Training modules and curriculum are funded by the Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf.

In addition to facilitator guides and print resources that you can download, Map It!: What Comes Next? uses several videos that are signed in ASL with spoken English. The Map It! curriculum also includes student self-assessments and guiding questions to help students identify their goals and strategies to reach them.

Explore Map It! What Comes Next? Meanwhile, we’ll also add Map It! to the Transition Resources on the INSTRC website, so that you’ll also be able to find it there.

A few months ago, we shared a series of employment videos from the toolbox of Charting the LifeCourse, a compendium of resources from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Institute for Human Development. For families looking at all of life’s choices—housing, work, leisure, relationships, advocacy—the UMKC Institute has another tool: Exploring Life Possibilities.

The Exploring Life Possibilities chart helps individuals and families look at and compare choices in each of the life domains. The chart “sorts” these options into more traditional supports, and newer, innovative approaches so that families and professionals can begin researching what might be available and doable now or in the near future.

You'll find the Exploring Life Possibilities chart and more LifeCourse tools on the LifeCourse Resources page.

The Pathways Research and Training Center provides webinars, resources, and trainings related to postsecondary education, adult services, and transition to adulthood. Their latest updates include a series of videos on key concepts and skills for working with transition-aged youth and young adults who have mental health needs.

Each video brief is accompanied by questions and resources for further learning.
The videos focus on working with youth from various backgrounds and beliefs. They also include information about supporting young people as they form adult relationships, collaborating with peer support providers, and supporting youth advocacy.

Visit the Pathways Transition Video Briefs Series to see the videos. And check out the Pathways Research and Training Center website for more information.

The latest “Inspiring Possibilities” newsletter from the Pacer Center, features lots of tips, insights, and inspiration for students planning to attend college or a university.

Information for students and families in this edition include:

  • How to communicate with colleges under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

  • A chart showing 20 strategies to help students prepare for life in college (e.g., bank accounts, drama and improv classes, public transportation)
  • Footing the bill--ABLE Accounts, VR, scholarships, and the FAFSA

For more information on Indiana colleges with postsecondary transition programs for students with disabilities, check out the resources available from the Indiana Postsecondary Education Coalition at Think College Indiana.

Math test on Tuesday. Civil War paper due Thursday morning. Therapy appointment Tuesday afternoon. Ask Mom about permission slip. Sophomore class rally on Friday. Practice for concert. Talk to Mrs. Owen about missed assignment.

Taking on the tasks of time management and organization is an important step in the development of every adolescent. It’s tougher, though, for many of our students who may have executive function challenges that make it hard to initiate, follow through, or process the steps of organization. Here’s a fun video from neuropsychologist Laurie Cestnick on what executive function challenges “look like” and how they impact students and adults. Here’s another one: “Executive Functioning: A Day in the Life.”

There are a number of tech and tools now available to help us organize and keep track of what’s happening when and where. One size does not fit all, however. Teens in transition should be working with their support teams to discover what works for them, set organization goals, and develop scheduling and organization routines.

Resources you can explore:

“Tech Talk: Tools and Resources to Help your Teen with Organization,” video from
“The Eight Best Notetaking Apps to Use in 2019,” post from The Balance Small Business
“Best Time-Management Apps for Students,” list includes Trello, Pomodoro, Remember the Milk, Coach Me and more!

To save you some time searching for good transition information you can trust, we want to point you in the direction of the Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment, at the University of Oklahoma. We’ll give you a few examples here, and then you can go explore.

The center’s ChoiceMaker Self-Determination Curriculum consists of three strands, addressing education, employment, and personal objectives. Use the “Choosing Goals” and “Taking Action” modules in general education or special education classrooms. Students learning about their IEP would benefit from the “Self-Directed IEP” module. Students and teachers can use the ChoiceMaker assessment to measure self-determination skills and evaluate opportunities at school to exercise these skills.

The AIR Self-Determination Assessment and the ARC Self-Determination Scale are two more self-determination assessments you’ll find on the Zarrow site. AIR focuses on capacity and opportunity. ARC measures students’ strengths, weaknesses, and involvement in educational planning.

The Transition Assessment & Goal Generator (TAGG) is an online transition assessment for youth with disabilities, their families, and professionals. The TAGG provides graphic profiles, present level of performance statement, lists of strengths and needs, and suggested IEP annual transition goals.
Find more information about these and other transition assessments and resources, visit The Zarrow Center website. 

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability’s online tool, “Transition Truths: An Overview of Transition Systems” can serve as an introduction to transition for youth and families. The online information page offers a basic explanation of the various systems with which students with disabilities and their families often interact.

The Transition Truths Overview describes 11 different systems (e.g., developmental disabilities, Social Security, postsecondary education, workforce development), outlining how the system works, what people and places are a part of the system, policies and programs related to the system, and eligibility for programs and services. Students, families, and educators will find the information informative and helpful in transition planning.

Combining the NCWD tool with a transition timeline or checklist might also be a plus. Here’s one example from our colleagues at the Indiana Resource Center for Autism.

Transition planning is an individualized, cyclical process. With each twist and turn of the cycle, we’re helping a student through self-exploration—discovering the things they like as well as the things they don’t like—so that they can look at their postsecondary goals with more awareness. Sometimes that means sticking with the path they’re on, sometimes it means exploring a side path, and sometimes it means choosing a completely new path. Transition services and activities are key to helping students engage in that self-exploration.

To help you understand where services and activities fit into the planning process and how you can use them for different types of students, the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center has created: “Transition Services and Activities: Making the Connection.” This new 17-page guide contains detailed examples for six different students, each with charts depicting the student’s postsecondary goals and transition services and activities as well as appropriate assessments that inform her/his goals. The guide also includes links to assessments and a page of additional transition resources.

Read “Transition Services and Activities: Making the Connection.” And, of course, we’ve uploaded the guide to the INSTRC website. You can find it by typing “Transition Services and Activities” into the Resource search bar, or we’ve also included under our Resource Collections tab, in the New Administrators and Professionals New to Transition collections.

Transition teachers, other professionals, and families have been clamoring for more information on guardianship issues and Supported Decision Making, a team-based approach that gives individuals with disabilities more independence and control over their lives. Using the Supported Decision-Making process, individuals create a support network of people they know and trust to help them make their own decisions. You may have read last year about Indiana self-advocate Jamie Beck who transitioned from full guardianship to the Supported Decision Making alternative.

Our colleagues at IN*Source are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, February 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Eastern Time. The webinar, "What to Know About Supported Decision Making and Other Options for Adulthood" will feature a presentation from Melissa Keyes, legal director of Indiana Disability Rights (IDR). Register at Supported Decision Making and Other Options.  

Need more information on Supported Decision Making? Check out IDR’s Supported Decision Making Family Fact Sheet. Or, if you need more information on the basics of guardianship and the full spectrum of options, see the IDR webpage Guardianship in Indiana.

Our INSTRC website resources include several different websites that feature career videos. For your convenience, there’s a Career Videos page under the Resource Collections tab on the INSTRC website. Just go to the Resource Collections tab on the INSTRC website and scroll to “Career Videos” or use this link:  

Middle school teachers: Need to inspire some fun career exploration for your 6th to 8th graders? Try the many videos on Virginia Career View’s Unusual Occupations page, where your soon-to-be job seekers can learn about acoustical engineers, hippotherapists, or shark tank cleaners. Video scavenger hunt, anyone?

Welcome back to a new year!

The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center has a new general mailbox. You can now reach us at  

Please use this email to send us information requests, feedback, basic questions, and requests for technical assistance. An INSTRC staff member will respond to your questions.

We’ve got your back. Tell us what you need (other than more than 24 hours in a day; we can’t help you with that one)!

From the staff of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center to all of you, peace and joy!

Take some time this season to revel in snuggly blankets, the aroma of orange and cinnamon, cookies baking, after-dinner card games, puppy dog tails, soft candlelight, carols from a choir, ribbons and bows, and smiles that light up a room.

Happy Holidays!

As in past years, the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) conducted regional trainings for transition teachers and administrators in September to talk about updates to the Transition IEP process. Hundreds of Indiana teachers who attended the trainings also learned about strategies for moving their Transition IEPs from compliance to the level of quality.

For those of you who could not attend one of the trainings, INSTRC’s Joni Schmalzried and Project Success’ Ashley Quick co-presented an abbreviated wrap-up webinar in October that touched on many of the issues discussed at the in-person trainings.

Need a refresher? Watch “Collaborative Transition Planning: From Process to Practice.”

A number of events and programs occurring in our schools can be good transition activities for your students. The key to capitalizing on these larger, group activities for a particular student is to understand 1) the individual needs of that student, and 2) how the activity can help the student move toward his/her goal. If you’re finding it challenging, documenting and describing these large, group events as individual activities, this tip is for you.

This short presentation we’ve recorded on YouTube walks you through the best practice process of moving from thinking about the “big picture” event to focusing on what each student needs and will gain from participating in a larger scale opportunity. Take a look and see how it might apply to your students or your school.  

DON’T FORGET: When you are writing a transition service and activity, think about whether or not there will be an outcome that you can capture and use as part of next year’s age-appropriate transition assessment. That’s what brings the authentic experience full circle for students and helps them continue to make informed decisions about their future.

With today’s tip, we want to introduce you to Michelle Oja, the new education specialist at the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) within the Office of Special Education. Michelle will be overseeing transition-related services across the state. She’ll be out and about, meeting many of you, as she gets to know Indiana, our Cadres of Transition Leaders, and the amazing things we are doing for transition-aged students.

In addition to overseeing transition planning (Indicator 13), Michelle will be involved with the Certificate of Completion, career technical education, and Choice Schools.

A little background: She graduated from Nazareth College of Rochester with her bachelor’s degree in English and Inclusive Education and her master’s degree in Adolescent Education. Michelle recently moved from Virginia to Indiana. Before coming to the IDOE, she was a special education teacher, working with high school and middle school students for the past ten years. Michelle is excited to begin working with Indiana teachers and administrators to support students with IEPs as they transition from school to adult life.

You can reach Michelle at 317-232-9065 or 

After our Tuesday Tip introducing you to Indiana Career Explorer, we had several questions from our readers. We contacted the Indiana Field Trainer to get some clarification and direction for those of you who have had difficulty setting up student accounts.

Anyone can set up a sample student account to see the tools and resources available to students. Our contact recommends the following to create a middle or high school student sample account:

  1. When you are asked to type in the first three letters of a school name, type in “tra” and select “training use only.”
  2. Change the birthdate and graduation year to reflect that of the appropriate grade student, but you can use your own email address as a username.

On a broader scale, school employees can contact Client Engagement to identify the site manager for their district (the person who can set up an administrative account). Each school has an assigned site manager even if they don’t use the system. Contact Client Engagement at: 877-999-6227.

There are trainings available to schools, both online and in person. If you are interested in staff training, please contact Mary Pouch at

We hope this helps with clarifying how to get started exploring Indiana Career Explorer. Let us know or contact Mary if you have additional questions!

The Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center has teamed up with George Washington University to create “Explore Work,” a new online training for teens with disabilities. The course lets users delve into career planning, first work experiences, school beyond high school, workplace readiness, and self-advocacy.

“Explore Work’s” modules include strength-finder activities, career scavenger hunts, independent living challenges, videos, and more. Users have the option of guided or self-guided learning. Guided instruction allows students to save and track their progress and provides certificates for each completed module.

Ready to explore? "Explore Work"

Adversity, trauma, and stress can negatively affect the social, emotional, and cognitive development of teens and young adults. Adults often identify or mislabel students experiencing these issues as having behavior, discipline, and/or learning issues in school. The Indiana School Mental Health Initiative (ISMHI), a project of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University, works alongside school districts and their community partners to provide resources, training, and advocacy to promote the social, emotional, behavioral, mental, and physical health of Indiana’s school-age children. ISHMI’s goal is to increase school engagement and improve educational and life outcomes.

Through the ISMHI website LookUp Indiana, you can search by city name or zip code to find mental health providers, shelters, social service organizations, and support groups in your area. Take a look at some of LookUp’s resources, below, and then bookmark the website!

Common Language—a listing of frequently used, education-related mental health terminology and references.

School Mental Health Resources—links to professional organizations; frameworks; workshops, trainings, and assemblies; school-based health centers; mental health intervention registries; and more.

General Information—more information about the ISHMI’s vision, mission, goals, and staff.

The PACER Center provides support to young adults with disabilities and families who are making decisions about education and services. Many mobile apps can support students as they work towards self-determination and independence in postsecondary education, job training, employment, and independent living. The PACER Center’s resource, "The Path to Independence: Mobile Apps to Support Transition-Age Youth," provides a list of free or low-cost apps reviewed by parents and professionals.

The document categorizes apps into the following topics:

  • Exploring College and Career Pathways
  • Finding and Getting a Job
  • Vocational Support
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Executive Functioning
  • Reading, Writing, and Note-taking Supports

Visit the PACER Center website and The Path to Independence: Mobile Apps to Support Transition-Age Youth for more information.

In case you missed it, the August 2018 edition of the INvision newsletter, from the Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS), included a link to the LifeCourse “Daily Life and Employment” planning guide.

Developed by Missouri Family to Family, in partnership with Show Me Careers, the guide contains easy-to-use activities and resources so that students can begin to chart their course toward their employment vision. Take a look at “Charting the LifeCourse: Daily Life and Employment” here.

As a companion to the guide, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Institute for Human Development also developed “Charting the LifeCourse: Daily Life and Employment,” six short video modules that introduce students and their supporters to “questions to ask, things to do, and resources that can help lead them to a job, career, volunteering, college or continuing education, and ultimately, the lives they want.”

Some of you may be familiar with this site, but others may not. Indiana Career Explorer is an online education and career planning system currently used by many school districts and WorkOne centers across the state.

This interactive site allows the job seeker (student or adult) to take interest inventories, explore occupations, write resumes, research employers, prepare for job interviews, develop a portfolio, and much more.

Check it out at and see how it might support the students you work with as they prepare for employment and further education/training beyond high school.

Whether they’re voting for the first time, may have voted in a previous election, or won’t vote for another year or two, you can help your students learn this important independent living skill before they cast a ballot. Election Day is November 6, 2018, but absentee voting begins October 10.


Indiana Voter Portal—includes links to voter registration, verifying voter status, locating polling place, voting hours, sample ballots.

Application for Absentee Voting (Note: Local Election Board must receive the application at least 8 days prior to the election. People with disabilities are eligible to vote via absentee ballot.)

Information About Assistance at the Polls for Voters with Disabilities

Information About Photo I.D.s on Election Day

Videos About Voter Registration—brief videos from Indiana Disability Rights on voting and the registration process.

“Your Vote Is Your Voice”—a 54-page guide to voting from the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities. (Note: In Indiana, a voter who has a legal guardian may still cast a ballot; this is not the case in all states.)