Tips

All Tuesday Tips

One of a series of tips to help you work online with your transition students.

Helping students define their postsecondary goals might feel challenging when you’re not discussing their future hopes and dreams with them in person. Here are a few tips about maintaining quality postsecondary goals for your students during Covid-19:

  • Communicate with your students. Use email, cell phone, or an app to have those important discussions. Talk with students about their plans for post-school employment, education, and independent living. Ask them if current events have made them rethink their goals or if they remain the same.
  • Use an app or program to send a message with questions to multiple students. Ask questions that help students think about their postsecondary goals. Google Forms is a great way to send information to students and receive replies that are automatically recorded for each individual. GroupMe is an app that enables participants to have group discussions that does not require sharing cell numbers. Need career resources? Check out our Career Video Resource Collection on the INSTRC website.

It’s important to keep students thinking about their futures and to help them participate in modified activities, similar to what they were doing before social distancing was put into effect. These activities, when summarized, can be turned into assessment information and will help students continue to consider their postsecondary goals.

Do you have some creative ways to reach out and work with your students on their postsecondary goals while they are at home? Please send your examples to us at instrc@indiana.edu. 

One of a series of tips to help you support your transition students when they can’t be in school.


Compliant transition assessments can be difficult to administer when you’re not face to face with your students in a classroom setting. But they do not have to be completed in person, and there are alternatives to paper/pencil assessments.

Tips for completing transition assessments while e-learning:

  • Copy/paste the questions from an assessment into an email, and have students respond.
  • Summarize activities that have been completed so far in the school year from current transition services/activities (elective classes, coursework in a class, college fairs, pre-ETS work, task analysis) showcasing a student’s strengths, preferences, interests, and needs.
  • Conduct a phone interview (just make sure that you write down the questions and answers to help you summarize it later).

Do you have questions or a creative way to capture information for transition assessments while students are at home? Please send questions or examples to: instrc@indiana.edu.

Special Note: The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) is offering a webinar today, March 24, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Tune in to “Providing Transition-Focused Activities Online and At Home.”

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!

There is no fooling about the official Census Day on April 1. The Constitution requires a count of all people living in the country every 10 years, so the U.S. Census Bureau invites everyone living in the U.S., both citizens and non-citizens, to complete the Census questionnaire. Unfortunately, not everyone with disabilities gets counted. (This could be an opportunity for a civics lesson with your students!)

Catherine Vest, communication and outreach specialist for Indiana Disability Rights recently brought attention to the issue in a View from My Window podcast interview with Michelle Fischer at the Arc of Indiana. Census data, she said, "provides evidence to determine what kind of resources get allocated to various districts." Individuals with disabilities and their families are more likely to complete the Census when they understand that Census data can determine housing, health care, employment, education, and other services and supports. Without an adequate count, programs and services that people with disabilities may need can be cut from state and local budgets.

The Census Bureau will mail questionnaires to households in the next few weeks. You may answer the survey online, by mail, or on the phone. The Bureau also provides translated web pages and guides in 59 non-English languages, including American Sign Language, as well as guides in braille and large print.

Find more information about why it's important to be counted at The Arc's Census 2020 webpage.

Transition can be a challenging time for teens and their families. There is a continuum of support needs across a variety of domains during and following this transition period. Students and families may need information and supports regarding decision-making, transportation, relationships, household or budget management, employment, education, and more.

What does it really look like, though, when you stitch together all of those supports? How can teachers, families, and students envision what life could be like after high school?

Adria Nassim, one of our colleagues at the Center on Community Living and Careers, is a young woman with multiple disabilities who works and lives independently in Indiana. She knows what supports she needs, and what works best for her, including her companion and service dog Lucy. Adria writes about disability for the local newspaper and has a blog for the Center on Community Living and Careers. Follow her at Adria’s Notebook.

Find more information about independent living on the new Community pages of the Center on Community Living and Careers website. In the coming months we’ll add to our pages on Health and Wellness, Housing, and Independent Living, but take a look and share with your students and families.

Last week we gave you information for students leaving school with a Certificate of Completion who might be interested in postsecondary education experiences. This week, we’ll explore information and resources for Indiana students with disabilities graduating with a General or Core 40 diploma who are seeking an academic degree.

Eligible students graduating with a General Diploma may have the opportunity to start their postsecondary journey at Ivy Tech Community Colleges or other two-year colleges around the state. These colleges can acclimate students to college classes and provide an avenue toward career and technical certificates or an associate’s degree. They can also be the first step to a transfer to a four-year university.

Students graduating with a Core 40 Diploma who are aiming for a bachelor’s degree or higher will want to talk with the disability services office at the colleges they apply to regarding their accommodations. A few Indiana universities (and others around the country) offer additional supports for students with disabilities, including tutoring services, peer mentoring, social skills groups, and more.

For more information, check out:

And for a little inspiration, watch Natalie Miller’s transition success video on the CCLC YouTube channel.

 

This week, we bring you the first of two tips focusing on postsecondary options for students who want to continue their education beyond high school.

Many colleges across the country include students with intellectual disabilities as part of the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability, often referred to as the TPSID (pronounced “tipsid”) programs. TPSID programs in Indiana were initially established with funding from the U.S. Department of Education and support from an Indiana consortium of organizations and agencies. Though Indiana no longer has a TPSID grant, many of the original programs are still operating.

Typically, Indiana TPSID students are those expected to receive a Certificate of Completion. While participating in a TPSID program, students may be able to audit college courses, engage in activities with their college peers, and hold a part-time job.

Find the Indiana colleges and universities still actively working to include transition students on their campuses on the Postsecondary Education page of the Center on Community Living and Career’s website. Finally, for your smile of the day, watch as Mickey Deputy opens her letter of acceptance to the Inspire program at Franklin College, filling one of her many dreams.

Expectations are formed by what we see, hear, and experience. It is difficult to form expectations when we simply don’t know what is possible or available to us. This applies to all expectations in life, but especially to expectations for employment.

Most young adults look to their families as models for employment (what we see). Students and their families also tend to listen to those in authority (e.g., educators, service providers) regarding what kinds of employment are available and how to access it (what we hear).

Ideally, though, young adults will have opportunities to experience different integrated, competitive jobs in order to better understand their options and preferences for employment (what we experience).
Without this information, students with disabilities (and their families) may have low expectations for employment simply because they don’t understand creative strategies (like customized employment) or what resources are available to support employment and how to access them.

Think Work! at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston provides a variety of real work stories that highlight creative employment strategies across the country. Take some time to dig into these stories and consider how to inspire expectations in your students for their future employment.

Griffin-Hammis Associates also offers a collection of creative employment examplesthat can be used to inspire employment dreams.

Finally, we have collated a playlist of YouTube videos sharing employment success stories because sometimes a video can be a more impactful way of sharing the story and inspiring high expectations for the future!

Read, watch, share, and be inspired!

Indiana is currently in the midst of a process designed to improve the services delivered to people with disabilities and their families who are eligible for Indiana’s Medicaid Waivers. As a part of that process the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS), other state agencies, and consultants involved in the redesign recently published an “Initial Concept Paper” to describe possible changes to the state’s waiver system.

Those agencies as well as advocacy organizations want to know what families and individuals with disabilities think about the new ideas. You could help connect families and young adults to a variety of feedback opportunities and listening sessions scheduled around the state. Explain to families that nothing is final yet, and DDRS really does want to know what people think! The deadline for feedback is April 17, 2020.

Resources to help understand what’s being proposed:

As a part of their Building Bridges meetings, the Bureau of Developmental Disability Services (BDDS) is traveling the state in February and March to talk with individuals and families about the waiver redesign. Upcoming meetings are from 6-8 p.m. local time in Clarksville, Evansville, Bloomington, Plymouth, and Fort Wayne. BDDS will be in Clarksville February 6. For more information, dates and locations, see the BDDS Waiver Redesign web page.

The Arc of Indiana, Self-Advocates of Indiana, and the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community is holding additional listening sessions for families and self-advocates. Those meetings will be held in Kokomo, Gary, New Albany, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and Vincennes. Kokomo is up first, this week on February 6. Read more about the Kokomo listening session here.

DDRS is also accepting comments via email to ddrswaivercomment@fssa.IN.gov and via this survey.

Please share this information with families!

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of the school year it’s easy to forget about available resources. The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center website contains trainings, guides, and checklists to help teachers and administrators write quality Transition IEPs.

  • Indiana Transition Requirements Checklist – A form to ensure that Transition IEPs are compliant. 
  • Indiana Transition IEP Rubric – A comprehensive guide that walks you through the creation of each component of the IEP. The Transition IEP Rubric includes quality, compliant, and non-compliant examples for each section of the IEP. 
  • Transition IEP Miniseries – A series of online modules designed to explain each section of the Transition IEP. The entire miniseries is worth 10.5 hours toward Professional Growth Points. 
  • Transition Services and Activities: Making the Connection – A guide that explains the cyclical process connecting a student’s postsecondary goals to transition services and activities. Case studies are used as examples to help you understand the importance of included quality services and activities in the Transition IEP.