All Tuesday Tips

Last week, we discussed potential barriers and solutions when planning for multicultural transition conferences. Now, let’s address some important questions.

When developing transition programs that serve families from non-dominant cultures, we should ask ourselves:

  • Have we provided an opportunity for the student and their family to share their background, history, culture, and future expectations?
  • Have we provided opportunities for students to learn the backgrounds, history, and culture of others?
  • Are we mindful of the student’s traditions and cultural expectations when planning transition services and activities?
  • Do the employment, education, and independent living goals align with the student’s traditions and cultural expectations?
  • Does the student need an interpreter or translator to be successful in transition services and activities (e.g., pre-ETS, job placement, or community work experiences?
  • Have we invited all necessary supports to the conference, such as providing the family with transition information in their first language?
  • Have we shared information to all staff on diversity and cultural competence?

We do the student a great service when we recognize, embrace, and celebrate their diversity when planning for their future. Using a family-centered approach in transition planning will increase the likelihood that all students feel valued and experience success moving forward.

Bonus Tip

The team at the Center on Community Living and Careers wishes you all a hearty Season’s Greetings!

Our Comprehensive Transition Open Office Hours will be on hiatus on December 22 and December 29. The Thursday sessions will resume January 5 and will be accessible through the Zoom link below.

Comprehensive Transition Open Office Hours
Thursdays 2:30–4:30 p.m., Eastern Time
CCLC Office Hours ZOOM

To help students plan their postsecondary goals, we reflect on disability- and learning- related needs. But are we also attentive to how a student’s culture and traditions will influence their futures? How can we increase multicultural awareness and strengthen partnerships with families when planning for their child’s future?

Recognizing potential barriers to connecting with multicultural families is essential to transition planning. Conquering barriers beforehand can help guide our steps and assist with collaborative transition planning.

Potential Barriers and Possible Solutions

Barrier: School's unfamiliarity with the country of origin

Solution: Research! Videos such as Greetings from Around the World cover courtesies from across the globe.

Barrier: School's understanding regarding traditions and cultural expectations

Solution: Learn about the family’s culture and their expectations before the transition meeting. Create a family survey in the student’s home language. You can find some great questions in Families Have Much to Share Survey Question Examples.

Barrier: Family’s lack of background knowledge of formal education practices

Solution: Explain the transition IEP process to families. Provide a document in the family’s native language with clear steps.

Barrier: Family’s lack of familiarity with the transition practices in the U.S.

Solution: Discuss the expectations of participation in education/training, employment, and community living for people with disabilities in the U.S. Share stories or examples that demonstrate those expectations and achievements.

While we cannot solve every barrier immediately, we hope that by identifying some solutions, your school and community can continue the important work of making improvements for families and ultimately helping students find success throughout the transition process.


Students looking for the skills, knowledge, and training needed to succeed in a career can find a lot to offer from Career Technical Education (CTE). With rigorous programs that deliver high-quality vocational skills, CTE introduces students to workplace competencies and learning opportunities in a hands-on context.

To help organize its program options, the CTE uses the National Career Clusters Framework tool—yielding 16 career clusters and a total of 79 career pathways. The CTE programs help students discover interests and passions and can lead them to a successful career.

For full information, the Indiana CTE Career Guide is an awesome resource for parents, students, and educators to understand what CTE is all about. Incorporating this guide into the student’s daily activities could lead to quality transition services and activities in their IEP, including:

  • researching career paths that lead to their job interest,
  • determining careers of interest that match the student’s education goals,
  • using the guide to find jobs related to their career interest, and
  • identifying careers with high job growth potential or expected high number of job openings.

To aid student research, the Indiana Association of Career & Technical Education Districts includes a map and a list of CTE programs in the state with program directors and contact information.

For more information about CTE and programs in other states, visit the national Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE).

Bonus Tip

The Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC) announces a new and improved format for its weekly open office hours. Beginning Thursday, November 3, the CCLC will host Comprehensive Transition Open Office Hours from 2:30–4:30 p.m., ET.

  • Need an answer to a question about Transition Portfolios or IEPs?
  • About Social Security Work Incentives?
  • About Vocational Rehabilitation?

Our team will be standing by to help you with these and many other transition-related matters of interest. Feel free to drop in with your question or just listen in to learn what your colleagues are asking. No pre-registration required. Follow the Zoom link below to attend on Thursdays.

Comprehensive Transition Open Office Hours
Thursday’s from 2:30–4:30 p.m., ET
CCLC Office Hours ZOOM

If you have a 17-year-old student attending an Individualized Education Program (IEP) case conference, did you know that Indiana law requires schools to mention “Transfer of Rights” at the conference? Transfer of Rights occurs when a student reaches 18, the age of majority. This means they have access to the rights and responsibilities of an adult. Are they ready?

When a student reaches the age of majority, they have the right to vote, marry, obtain a credit card, consent to medical treatments, make living arrangements, sign contracts, and more. Don’t let this transfer come as a surprise to the student and their parents. Decisions made at that IEP conference can affect their choices for a lifetime!

Schools must inform students that they will assume the rights formerly assigned to their parents unless a guardian or an educational representative has been appointed. The law assumes that everyone at age 18 can make their own decisions, and only a court can determine otherwise. This regulation does not apply to students who have been determined to be “incompetent” under state law.

When the Transfer of Rights occurs, parents will no longer have the right to:
receive notice of and attend IEP meetings;

  • consent to reevaluation;
  • consent to change of placement; or
  • request for mediation/due process hearing to resolve disputes.

This doesn’t mean parents can no longer be involved—it simply means the student must invite them. Many of the decisions students make now affect their quality of life after high school, so it is important to keep parents as supporters, and doing so does not require the student to give them guardianship.

In other words, students have options! It is important that students know their options, discuss them with people they trust, and arrive at a decision before the case conference. Neither a student nor a parent should feel pressured to seek guardianship.

One Size Does NOT Fit All

Students have several available options and guardianship is only one of them. Even if the student and parents know the student requires significant support due to their disability and will need assistance making decisions, legal alternatives remain. Courts must consider the least restrictive alternative before limiting a person’s rights.

Here are a few alternatives:

  1. Supported Decision Making: Accommodates choice by identifying a support team that works together with the student to identify the kinds of decisions with which the student might need help and how to provide that support.
  2. Power of Attorney: Voluntarily assigned by the student if they want their parents to continue to make decisions and give informed consent. This can be over financial decisions, medical decisions, or both.
  3. Advance Medical Directives: Completed by the student and allows someone else to make medical decisions in their stead when they are not capable of making a decision.
  4. Guardianship: Must be obtained through the courts and gives someone the legal authority (and duty) to care for another’s personal and property interests.
  5. Conservatorship: Must be obtained through the courts and gives someone the legal responsibility for your financial interests.


PACER: Prepare Your Child for Age of Majority and Transfer of Rights

Learn About Supported Decision-Making (SDM)

Indiana Disability Rights. Protect Your Rights

Get Started with Supported Decision Making

Resources: Indiana Disability Rights

A visual resume—A.K.A. a representational portfolio, or person-centered resume—is a positive and strength-based representation of the job seeker. This type of resume is a visual marketing tool introducing job seekers who need customized employment or more intensive or longer-lasting supports.

When you are supporting a job seeker with a limited repertoire of formal experiences and skills, the visual resume can be a strong alternative. In other words, this is for the job seeker whose typical resume might not warrant consideration from an employer who can’t readily discern their contributions.

Many job seekers with varying levels of disability have skills and experiences that can directly translate to meeting employer needs. For job seekers experiencing the most significant impacts of disability, they will generally fall short of consideration when compared to other people with disabilities, not to mention people who do not have disabilities.

The purpose of the visual resume is to help level the playing field. It does so by minimizing the exclusionary effect of competitiveness and helps the employer imagine, envision, identify, and buy into what the job seeker has to offer.

With this visual resume, the Pre-ETS provider or teacher may use photos and videos to convey and demonstrate the job seeker’s most consistent, reliable strengths. Done well, the visual resume will convey their positive contribution potential and give the employer a holistic snapshot of the job seeker. In short, the visual resume can facilitate more meaningful conversation around possibilities for the job seeker.


This week’s Transition Tip comes courtesy of Adria Nassim, research assistant with the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. Her blog, Adria's Notebook, focuses on her experiences as a young adult with disabilities and touches on topics of independent living and community involvement in teens and young adults with disabilities. She is in frequent demand for her lectures and presentations on autism and developmental disability.

I started participating in my case conferences at 14. The assembled adults would talk for a while and then I would give my opinion on any changes I wanted to see made to my schedule. Looking back, I see that case conferences were an excellent introduction to advocating for myself.

What is a case conference?

A case conference is a meeting where students, parents/guardians, and school staff gather to discuss the student’s goals and needs for accommodation support in the special and regular education classrooms. Typical participants in a case conference include school administrators, teachers, and staff such as physical therapists, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, aides—anyone who works with the student regularly to give them the best educational experience possible.

Look and Leap

Encourage your student to take the leap and speak up for themselves, because they know their needs better than anybody else. Circumstances vary, of course, and so will the student’s ability to advocate in the conferences. As the teacher, begin early to ensure that your student has as much active participation in the planning process as possible.

Whichever situation may fit the life of your student the future belongs to them—if they can learn to advocate for themself.

Self-advocacy Tips and Things to Know:

  • Self-advocacy is a learned skill; it takes practice.
  • Include students in any process with active participation and decision making, particularly when the issue at hand affects the things they care about.
  • Teen years are prime time to practice self-advocacy skills.
  • Students practice self-advocacy by asking for help with things and giving help to others.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Make sure your voice is heard!

Whether your students are voting for the first time, have voted in a previous election, or won’t vote for another year or two, you can help them learn how to manage this important independent living skill.

Helpful Voting Resources

  • Vote 411A great place to prepare for elections! Links to learning what’s on your ballot, finding your polling place, securing provisions for voters with disabilities, finding debates and forums in your area, and much more.
  • Indiana University Libraries voting helpplenty of direct links to candidate and registration information, voting guides for students, constitutional primers, and more.
  • Indiana Voter Portallinks to voter registration, voter status verification, polling place location, voting hours, sample ballots, and more.
  • Application for Absentee VotingPeople with disabilities are eligible to vote via absentee ballot. (Note: Local Election Board must receive the application at least 12 days prior to the election - October 27, 2022).
  • Information About Assistance at the Polls for Voters with DisabilitiesVoters requiring assistance due to their disability are welcome at the polls on Election Day. Poll workers or a designated relative or friend can help them at the polling place. Two poll workers from each political party are available if the voter requests aid.
  • Information About Photo IDs on Election DayIn most cases, an Indiana driver's license, Indiana photo ID card, Military ID, or U.S. Passport is sufficient.
  • Videos About Voter RegistrationBrief videos from Indiana Disability Rights on voting and the registration process. Available in English, Spanish, and ASL.
  • Your Vote Is Your Voice54-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.)

For students with disabilities, an apprenticeship can be a positive pathway to a career. These job-related educational courses are available in many employment sectors, and typically are a combination of classroom learning and hands-on work. Students can find apprenticeships in community colleges, technical training schools, and through some employers.

An apprenticeship provides students with immediate access to proven mentors. In turn, an apprenticeship brings professionals together with those who want to learn their career. Apprenticeships can offer hands-on learning and working opportunities—a tremendous benefit for some students. For a complete list of nationally approved apprenticeship career options, visit the Apprenticeship USA website.

Apprenticeships can help when working to carve out a job from other responsibilities. Job carving, as defined by Cary Griffin, is “the act of analyzing work duties performed in a given job and identifying specific tasks that might be assigned to an employee with severe disabilities.”

Career technical education centers, community colleges, and technical schools support apprenticeship programs and can help students learn about their career interests. Through an apprenticeship, many students can transition from limited work options to a thriving and fulfilling career.


A subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Apprenticeship USA is a one-stop source connecting career seekers, employers, and education partners with apprenticeship resources.

OWBLA promotes and supports Registered Apprenticeship, Certified State Earn and Learn (SEAL), and Pre-Apprenticeship programs that are certified for quality and consistency.

PIA collaborates with employers and apprenticeship intermediaries to design inclusive apprenticeship programs that meet employer talent needs and enable people with disabilities to gain credentials and skills to succeed in growing industries.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, the the Career Exploration Program from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery offers students a chance to explore all paths to careers—college, certifications, apprenticeships, licensure programs, and Military.

As you work toward a case conference and consider student services and resources, the possibilities soon become overwhelming. Here are some groups to invite to the conference that can connect the student to services and groups of support.

  • Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation (IN VR)

Inviting VR to the case conference meeting will help set the student up for success—whether they refer the student for VR services or not. The VR representative can help the student locate services focused on transition into work and self-sufficiency. If the student is eligible, VR has many programs and can assist with education, work, resource ownership (needing a piece of equipment as an accommodation to work), and self-employment.

VR youth counselors work directly with Pre-ETS providers and schools and can attend case conferences. In addition, each school also has an assigned general caseload counselor from their local office who can attend case conferences. Contact your local office to find out who can attend.

  • Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) Providers

Pre-ETS programs help students between the ages of 14–21 explore careers. The pre-ETS provider can share data they track on transition goals and other transition services. The provider can also assist with age-appropriate transition assessments, postsecondary goals, or pieces of transition services and activities for the student’s IEP. Pre-ETS also helps with the transition into adulthood, with an emphasis on employment and skill development.

  • Waiver Case Managers (CM)

CMs are state-approved and work with one of six companies in Indiana to serve Medicaid waiver recipients. They help set goals, budgets, and plans for the students through the LifeCourse curriculum. CMs connect students to self-advocacy, skill development, employment support, therapies, residential support, and similar services. A CM can provide a larger picture and can streamline goals the student is working on in the schools and the home settings.

Bonus Tip:

On October 22 and 28, 2022, the Center on Community Living and Careers will bring the Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT) to the Cardinal Ritter Resource Center, in New Albany, Indiana. The free FEAT training sessions run from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Now available in five states, FEAT raises expectations about competitive integrated employment opportunities. It teaches people with disabilities and their support community how to access the resources to help them gain employment.

Sign up for the free October 22 and 28 FEAT sessions here.

Looking for ways to connect students with employers in your area? Not sure where to look or who to talk to? Good news! There are many resources right at your fingertips and likely several established processes within your school corporation to explore.

  1. Team up with your school’s guidance counselors and CTE course teachers.
    With the new Indiana Graduation Pathway requirement for work-based learning, they have resources to help your students.
  2. Connect with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation.
    Their highly trained job coaches and counselors have established relationships in your community to help you find the right fit for your student. (Be sure to invite them to your student’s Annual Case Conference!)
  3. Check out Career One Stop and ONET.
    Explore careers, link up with local training opportunities and programs, and build your résumé.
  4. Bookmark the Indiana Department of Workforce Development Job Fair website.
    There, you will find a list of job fairs happening statewide and links to resources by region.
  5. Dive into INSTRC State and National Resources.
    Lots of links to organizations specializing in employment for people with disabilities.
  6. Use the IDOE Transition Portfolio Guidance resource.
    Create digital portfolios and video résumés as an imaginative way to highlight student skills and capture an employer’s attention.
  7. Peruse Indiana Disability Resource Finder.
    Access a wide variety of organizations with employment options across the state.
  8. Sign students up for a virtual program through The Forage.
    In this unique work experience, students have access to opportunities with Fortune 500 companies.
  9. Join your region’s Cadre of Transition Leaders.
    These teams have connections and are always happy to share ideas—Stay up to date on all things transition!
  10. Connect via social media.
    Facebook, Instagram, Linked In—To stay abreast of job opportunities, “like” and “follow” businesses or area coalitions involved in employing people with disabilities.

Through these resources, you can connect with and establish lasting relationships with employers in your communities. And, if you run out of options, visit us at our Thursday office hours from 2:30–4:30 p.m. EST to brainstorm with team members.