Tips & Tools

All Tuesday Tips

Coping with change can be challenging. Often, when there is no time to prepare, we’re filled with anxiety. For example, many Indiana teachers had to transport their classrooms to a virtual setting due to precautions related to COVID-19. For educators and students, navigating the fluctuating demands of the pandemic has meant even more change, such as flexible schedules and hybrid learning options.

Seven Ways to Cope with Uncertainty,” from the Greater Good Science Center is a timely resource to help your students (and maybe you too!) who suffer from anxiety when life feels out of control. Here are a few of their suggestions for managing student anxiety:

  • Don’t resist: Resisting amplifies problems; accepting lets us see the reality of the situation while finding solutions.
  • Invest in yourself: “When we underinvest in our bodies, minds, or spirits, we destroy our most essential tools for leading our best lives.”
  • Don’t believe everything you think: Expecting the worst can be a self-fulfilling prophecy rather than an opportunity to creatively respond.
  • Pay Attention: Be aware of your emotions and control what you pay attention to. Don’t let alerts, social media, or yet another schedule change hijack your awareness and sense of presence.
  • Find meaning in the chaos: Finding meaning in any crisis helps us create our sense of purpose, and we become part of a personal and collective solution.

“When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change,” noted the late motivational speaker Wayne Dyer. When we find a way to reframe our challenges as opportunities, we all become resilient researchers of our own lives and can better help our students manage change when it comes their way—as it surely will.



Bonus Tip:

On February 22, 23, 24; and March 1, 2, 3, you are invited to come learn all about local, state, and federal resources supporting young adults with disabilities who want to work in their communities. Families, transition-age students and young adults with disabilities, and the professionals who support them are welcome to attend the six free virtual training sessions.

To learn more and to register for these free sessions, visit the Family Employment Awareness Training web page.

Teens and young adults with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) experience unwanted, invasive thoughts that can disrupt their lives. It’s important to know that, especially in adolescence, the obsessions and compulsions can morph over time.

Intrusive thoughts about religion, sex, grades, social status, hygiene, and now a pandemic can cause teens with OCD to lose focus in the classroom, make repeated trips to the bathroom, be late to class, miss assignments, ask constant questions, or seek reassurance or “guarantees” from friends or teachers.

Too often students feel overwhelming shame and guilt over their obsessions and compulsions and are so embarrassed they will not share their concerns or ask for help with managing their OCD. Note that sometimes OCD can occur simultaneously with other conditions, like depression, autism, attention deficit disorder, tics, panic attacks, or anxiety.

Things you can do:

  • Suggest a meeting with the student and those who support the student if you’re seeing behaviors that concern you.
  • If the student is diagnosed and has disclosed their OCD, ask the family if it’s appropriate for you to continue to reassure the student about an obsession.
  • Consult with the school behavioral therapist if you and your student need a plan to reduce the number of questions asked during class. Enlist the student in setting goals, so that they feel in control.
  • Boost student self-esteem and watch for bullying or ostracization.
  • Discuss necessary accommodations such as extra time for assignments or tests.

For more information, see Five Things to Understand About Teens and OCD.

 

 

Calling all educators who contend with student behavioral challenges!

What is that you say? You’re at your wits end? Never fear, Tuesday’s Transition Tip is here!

As we find ourselves contending with a pandemic, disrupted schedules, technology dependence, a widening socio-economic gap, and the ordinary developmental challenges most youth experience, it’s no surprise that students experience a wide array of behavioral problems. As an educator, addressing these challenges requires a savvy toolkit with a mix of successful strategies, content-specific knowledge, trust, and a good dose of intuitive persistence.

Here are a handful of useful resources specifically designed to disrupt problematic behaviors, understand the meaning behind those behaviors, and to teach replacement strategies. Please take the time to study each resource. Perhaps you have a free Friday evening and a recliner? Snuggle up with these assets and get ready for a fresh start to the next school day.

Hang in there! As the late Jimmy Valvano would say, “Never give up. Don’t ever give up!” Cloaked in the folds of problematic behavior is a student who needs you.

Resources
Center for Parent Information and Resources. (A virtual clearing-house of interventions, articles, strategies, tests, legal resources, and much more on the Behavior suite of this user-centered information hub.)

Indiana Resource Center for Autism. (Yes, this is for EVERYONE!) This section includes a wide variety of visual supports on topics such as anger management, grief, the Incredible 5 Point Scale, and a social narrative about winning and losing games.

Intervention Central (some clever ways to short circuit problem behaviors and still reach Common Core goals.)

Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS). (The PBIS framework is a proactive, preventive approach to behavior management in schools. Dig deep into this one and think about joining their mailing list!)

Teacher Vision. (A plethora of printables and articles from veteran educators to help you manage classroom discipline.)


Reminder: Join us tomorrow, January 5, for the next Transition Talk at High Noon. We’ll be chatting with and learning from team members from the Center on Community Living and Careers.

For more information and the Zoom link, see our Transition IEP Training and Support page.


Q: What is a creative transition activity?

A: A means for students to find or confirm their chosen postsecondary path.

Creative transition activities are created specifically with the student’s goals in mind. Typically, the creative team (e.g., student, parents, teachers, family friends, outside agencies, community organizations) crafts the activities with oversight from school personnel.

Here are a few common and creative activities for students in transition.

INDEPENDENCE—experience life in the community

  • Practice the skills of budgeting
  • Following a shopping list for self or others
  • Practice accessing public transportation
  • Visit possible living options


EMPLOYMENT— experience career choices

  • Job shadowing
    • In person or virtually
  • Internship
    • Tried-and-true or blaze a new trail
  • Interview
    • On the phone with someone in the field
    • Record video for review


EDUCATION—experience postsecondary education environment

  • Shadow a college student for a day
  • Research colleges
    • Online investigation
    • Interview advisors or current students
  • Visit educational programs that are a possible match
    • In person or virtually

Finding the best activities that are directly related to a student’s goals requires some investigation well before the case conference. For more ideas, check out our Transition Services and Activities: Making the Connection for more ideas.


Happy Holidays!

Tuesday’s Transition Tips will return January 4. We wish you peace, precious moments with family and friends, the excitement and promise of little ones, cozy naps, marshmallows in hot cocoa, and all the joys the season can bring!

Stay warm and safe, everyone!

Having employment experiences before exiting high school is one of the main predictors of long-term employment success. One type of employment experience is job shadowing, which is when a student observes a job. This is a beneficial learning opportunity for many students that allows them to explore a career.

Job shadowing traditionally occurs when a student observes a job in person, but there are alternative ways a student can shadow a job.

For instance, Career One Stop offers many career-assistance resources such as a skills matcher that lists possible jobs that connect to a person’s skills. Career One Stop also offers an extensive list of career videos that enable users to learn about specific careers virtually.

You can find a huge selection of similar career videos over at Dr. Kit—a great way to let job seekers hear from someone that works in a specific field. On the Dr. Kit website, you can also find information about career clusters and lists of career options related to each field.

Another no-cost resource with virtual job shadowing experiences is over at Forage. Job shadowing opportunities on this site start at two hours in length. These experiences are engaging and give the user a good understanding of the job.

In short, virtual job shadowing is great for students that may not have time for a job shadowing experience during their school day or if they are unable to be in the community.

Many colleges and universities now have postsecondary programs that emphasize incorporating students with significant disabilities into the college or university community and environments. Some of these programs are for degree-seeking students. Others are transition experience programs, offering students an opportunity to audit courses, interact with same-age peers, and/or work part-time on campus.

Think College recently developed a list of model accreditation standards that the nation’s postsecondary programs can use to improve or develop high quality programs for students with intellectual disabilities. Among the best practices included in the report:

  • Principles of True Inclusion—addresses whether students are able to live on campus with students without disabilities, participate in the same activities as everyone else, and attend classes with their typically developing peers.
  • Appropriate Supports—ensures that natural supports (from peers) are used as much as possible, rather than bringing someone from outside a typical class or living situation into that environment, who usually would not be there.
  • Person-Centered-Planning—ensures that students are involved in individualized planning for their academics, activities, employment, transportation, and living experiences.
  • Staff Training—requires that faculty and staff receive training on current research-based practices. This should include those who work directly within the college/university program, and those who will encounter and work with students in typical classes, when living in the dorms, and during activities. Trainings should ensure that faculty and staff have the expertise to ensure that students feel accepted, are taught using researched-based methods, and are provided appropriate accommodations.

See the complete list of standards at the link above. To see the list of postsecondary transition experiences and degree programs providing extra supports to students with disabilities in Indiana, visit the Center on Community Living and Careers’ Postsecondary Education webpage.

If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, then we are thankful for those who strengthen those links. At every step of the way, teachers like you support our students with disabilities, emboldening and enabling them to overcome their challenges and transition into a life of deep fulfillment.

For all you do—the tireless pursuit of solutions, the hope you impart, and the example you set for the rest of us—we are grateful and indebted to you.

We wish you a rejuvenating, relaxing, and joyous Thanksgiving break! Tuesday's Transition Tips will return November 30.

With gratitude, 

Your friends at the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC)

Consider this: Boats don’t sink because of the water around them; boats sink because of the water that gets into them. In some way or another, we all have water seeping in—physically and mentally!

Our mental health can be summarized as a sense of well-being and safety, an awareness that we all have positive abilities, we can cope with the typical stressors of life, we can be productive, and we can contribute. Unfortunately, our mental health tends to suffer during the holidays. The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that 64% of individuals living with a mental illness felt that their conditions worsened around the holidays.

Students need your help, especially when so much is out of their control (e.g., poverty, divorce, pandemics). But while students need your help, they may not reach out to you. If they don’t, that’s okay—you can reach out to them! If your arms are too full, don’t worry, Indiana has you covered. The Indiana School Mental Health Initiative (ISMHI) works alongside school districts and their community partners. ISMHI provides “resources, consultation, professional development, and education that promotes and sustains the social, emotional, behavioral, mental, and physical health of Indiana’s school-aged children.”

For more information, check out these upcoming ISHMI events:


Patch that boat!

It’s that time of year when some of your students are either looking at their postsecondary education options or applying to colleges. The Indiana Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC) has updated Is College for You? Setting Goals and Taking Action with a new look, new resources, and fresh links. (Don’t you hate those error messages?)

The guide features:

• tables for comparing college programs;
• a chart on the differences between expectations in high school and college;
• an extensive section on paying for college—the FAFSA, scholarships, loans, and grants;
• questions to ask the college disability service coordinator; and
• much, much more.

As your students and families begin planning for those next steps, share the link to Is College for You? with them. Spanish version coming soon!

This fall, the Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT) team is offering Indiana families a new opportunity to participate in free interactive employment support training. Virtual FEAT is a series of six interactive sessions that will take place November 30, December 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9.

For the convenience of working families and their supporters, these free FEAT sessions are open twice each day, once at noon and again at 6 p.m. Training gives participants the chance to hear from employment service providers, Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation counselors, and young adults with disabilities who are now employed. Sessions focus on various aspects of transition and employment services, such as customized employment, networking, and benefits.

FEAT is sponsored by AWS Foundation.

Register Now!

The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) now includes Spanish-language translations for each of our monthly issues of the What’s Next? newsletter. What’s Next? is a resource for students, young adults, and families in transition, and for teachers as well. Each issue focuses on a specific transition-related issue, such as job accommodations; Pre-ETS; or piecing together benefits, services, and support.

See past issues of What’s Next? and the Spanish translations (which begin with Issue No. 3) on the What’s Next? page of the INSTRC website. A QR code and a link on that same page will let you subscribe to the newsletter. Share the link with families!

And one more thing! Don’t forget that the INSTRC website also has a Resources in Spanish page, where you’ll find translations of some of our most popular resources. Find it under the Resource Collections tab.



El Centro de Recursos para la Transición Secundaria de Indiana (INSTRC por sus siglas en inglés) ahora incluye traducciones al español para cada una de nuestras ediciones mensuales del boletín What's Next?What’s Next es un recurso para estudiantes, jóvenes adultos, familias en transición, y también para maestros. Cada boletín se centra en un tema específico relacionado con la transición, como las acomodaciones en el trabajo; Pre-ETS; o aunar beneficios, servicios y apoyos.

Consulte las ediciones anteriores de What’s Next? y las traducciones al español (que comienzan con la edición número 3) en la página de What's Next?En el sitio web de INSTRC. Un código QR y un enlace en esa misma página le permitirán suscribirse al boletín. ¡Comparte el enlace con otras familias!

¡Y una cosa más! No olvide que el sitio web de INSTRC también tiene una página de Recursos en español, donde encontrará traducciones de algunos de nuestros recursos más populares. Puede encontrarlo en la ficha Colecciones de Recursos.

This fall, the Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT) team is offering Indiana families a new opportunity to participate in free interactive employment support training. Virtual FEAT is a series of six interactive sessions that will take place November 30, December 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9.

For the convenience of working families and their supporters, these free FEAT sessions are open twice each day, once at noon and again at 6 p.m.

Register Now!

The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) is combining the open office hours for Transition IEP and Transition Portfolio discussions. Have questions about things like assessments, that persnickety independent living goal, or how to match a student’s skillset with the right job? You can connect with us via Zoom on Thursdays from 2:30–4:30 p.m., Eastern Time, and we will be happy to talk through any questions you may have about Transition IEP or Transition Portfolio topics.

Pop in with any question or just listen in to your colleagues’ questions. You can find the Zoom link under Transition IEP and Portfolio Office Hours at the bottom of the INSTRC Transition Portfolio training page or on the Transition IEP Training and Support page.

Officially, National Disability Voter Registration Week was September 13-20. Did you miss it? Are you too late to teach your students with disabilities about their voting rights? Absolutely not! This is one of those “off” years in Indiana. That means there aren’t any scheduled elections in most of the state, so voter registration is open throughout 2021. If you have students turning 18, though, be sure to teach them now how to register and about the voting process.

For information about voting rights, check out Indiana’s Voter Registration webpage. Another suggestion: Via Zoom, have your County Clerk or Election Board Supervisor talk to students or demonstrate a polling place or how to vote by mail.

Often, parents and adult family members assume that individuals who are under guardianship are not allowed to vote. Please assure them that this isn’t true! The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) published Your Vote Counts, a state-by-state guide on the topic in 2019. You’ll find Indiana on p. 143.

Having a voice, and making it heard is as important as voting. Connect students with groups talking about issues they’re passionate about—ecology, voting rights, schools, civil rights, immigration. If you have students who want to learn more about issues affecting the disability community, have them check out The Arc national webpage on policy and advocacy.



Reminder: Join us tomorrow, October 6, for “Parent Perspectives: Inclusion for Young Adults.” This one-hour webinar, part of our Transition Talks at High Noon, features a chat with Anne Higley, one of our co-workers from the Center on Community Living and Careers, and the parent of two adults with autism. To connect at noon, find the Zoom link on the INSTRC Transition IEP training page and scroll down to Transition Talk at High Noon.

In the final installment of our series on what we learned during this summer’s statewide transition conference, we’re going to visit Mary Morningstar’s keynote presentation, “College and Career Readiness Requires Collaboration.” She focused on preparing youth with disabilities for college and career readiness, collaboration among key stakeholders in transition, and the roles and competencies of secondary educators, education administrators, and community systems. If you didn’t catch that presentation, we have a remedy!

Lesson 4: Your school team or pooled school teams might want to consider use of Morningstar’s book, Your Complete Guide to Transition Planning and Services, available through Brookes Publishing. The paperback and e-book both retail for $29.95. Buy it, share it, read it, repeat. Like the country song says, “Sunrise, sunburn, sunset, repeat.” But you won’t get burned with this purchase, in our humble opinion. This comprehensive book features permission to download, print, or photocopy an array of forms. With Morningstar’s advice and guidance, you might be able to take a few giant leaps toward quality transition implementation and content.

What does Nike say?....”Just do it!”

We’re at Week 3 of our series on things we learned from the fabulous presenters at this summer’s statewide transition conference.

Lesson 3: The regional Indiana Cadres of Transition Educators held their annual meeting during Facing the Future Together. As a part of that meeting, members of the Northeast Indiana Cadre presented the amusing, but instructive “Friday, Indicator 13th: Transition IEP Monitoring Doesn’t Have to Be a Nightmare.” Their point: Yes, our Transition IEPs need to be compliant with federal regulations, but creating a process now will help allay the heebie jeebies.

The three-year monitoring cycle includes 1) a year of “self-monitoring,” followed by 2) a proactive year, where schools can receive free technical assistance, and then 3) the monitoring year, when data is submitted to the federal government. Creating a plan of action is key, according to the Cadre presenters. They suggested the following:

  • Identify your Transition IEP team in your district.
  • Review your most recent Indicator 13 compliance report or your proactive monitoring report from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC).
  • Review a sample of Transition IEPs from your district.
  • Identify your areas of greatest need.
  • Schedule training/coaching with collaborators (INSTRC, Indiana Department of Education, and the IEP Resource Center).
  • Plan for ongoing internal monitoring.

Stick to your plan during not only your self-monitoring year but every year. And a little plug from us: We continue to see that districts who use INSTRC’s proactive services consistently score better when they’re monitored. Directors and administrators, if you’re in your proactive monitoring year and are interested in support and services, email us: INSTRC@indiana.edu 

Our thanks to members of the Northeast Cadre, including Adams Wells Special Services Cooperative, Southwest Allen County Schools, Elkhart Community Schools, and the Northeast Special Education Cooperative.

Assorted Lessons Learned During July’s Facing the Future Transition Conference

This week we’re continuing our series on things-we-learned during this summer’s statewide transition conference, Facing the Future Together.

Lesson 2: In their presentation, “Adapting and Creating Transition Assessments for ALL Students,” our own Mike Nevins of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC), and Amanda Crecelius from PATINS, explained how to use technology to create accessible assessments for students transitioning to employment, postsecondary education or training, and independent living.

After Nevins introduced various assessments currently available on the INSTRC Transition Matrix, Crecelius demonstrated how to adapt them. One example: She used the MOTE Google Chrome extension to add voice notes or explanations to an assessment she’d put into a Google Form. With MOTE you can now add an audio explanation to a question on a form and, brilliantly, students can reply using text or their own MOTE response. Check out this video for another look at how to use MOTE with Google Forms.

Need other suggestions or assistance for adapting assessments? Reach out to PATINS’ Amanda Crecelius at acrecelius@patinsproject.org.

Assorted Lessons Learned During July’s Facing the Future Transition Conference

We know you didn’t all have the chance to attend Facing the Future Together, our three-day statewide transition conference in July. You were hanging with the family, floating in the pool, walking the dog. And we know: Vacation is sacred. It’s okay. Each Tuesday in September we’re going to share a few lessons learned from the conference, with links to valuable info and resources.

Lesson 1: Brian Norton is The Man in Indiana for all things assistive technology, especially when that tech supports young adults in transition. Norton and his team at the Easterseals Crossroads INDATA Projectpresented a show and tell of apps and tools for everyday living and learning.

A few of our favorites:

  • Rewordify.com—Free online software that simplifies confusing passages or text.
  • MicNotes—A free app that’s part audio recorder, part notepad, for better to-do lists, quick notes, brainstorm sessions, meeting notes, and lectures.
  • Switch Access—This free accessibility feature allows users with limited movement to control their Android phones using a switch. (Want to know more about switches? Try this Wikipedia article.)
  • Time Tracker Mini—Adjusting to the world of work? With red, yellow, and green lights as well as an alarm, this little timer can help individuals transition more easily from one task to another. Retails for around $25.

Contact INDATA  or Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation if you have an eligible transitioning student who wants to explore the possibilities.

 

Nearly half of Indiana students, parents, and teachers completing a recent survey said they didn’t know the difference between a high school diploma, a GED, and a Certificate of Completion. You’re probably thinking, “Wait, that can’t be true! How is that possible?” Less than half said they did not know what a Medicaid waiver is. Again, “Wait, how can that be?” Over 90 percent, though, said they have identified or are working on a career path for after high school, whether that’s going into a field of work or pursuing college. “Hip, hip, hurray! Now you’re talking! That feels more like we’re making progress and moving the needle in the right direction!”

Where's this data coming from? The transition committee of Indiana’s chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First (INAPSE) asked for a survey earlier this year. The Pre-Employment Transition Service (Pre-ETS) program staff at Stone Belt, a service provider in Bloomington, Indiana, completed that effort earlier this year.

Respondents included students receiving Pre-ETS, educators in local school districts, and parents. The survey results were both surprising and not-so-surprising. The 109 respondents answered questions on topics that included career pathways, long-term services, employment supports, and transition resources. Caution: Please have your cup of coffee before looking at the results from questions 5 and 8!

Now it’s our time to say, check it out! We invite you to spend time reviewing the survey. The content may assist you in planning lesson material throughout the year. You may be surprised by the knowledge gaps that apparently exist. You may also be surprised at what students say they want to learn more about! Hint, hint: Think jobs!



 

We run this tip at the beginning of every school year, so you can get acquainted with your regional Transition Cadres. Notice, though, that we’ve tweaked the name this year. It’s now the Indiana Cadres of Transition Educators. That’s because we want you to know that you’re welcome to join us-- whether you’re new to transition, a long-time pro at creating transition IEPs, or an administrator for your district.

Cadres build capacity across the state and address a variety of secondary transition needs. Members meet regularly (typically once a month or every other month) to discuss, plan, learn, and provide supports to their schools as well as to students and families.

Every Cadre has one or two facilitators along with a support person from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center team. Cadres are also supported by the Indiana Department of Education.

Not sure which Cadre your school district is in? You’ll find a map of Cadre boundaries and a listing of the participating districts on the Cadre page of the INSTRC website. Send a hello to one of the facilitators below and learn more about meeting dates and activities.

Staff of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) recently updated, improved, and republished the Transition IEP Rubric and the Indiana Transition Compliance Checklist for Indicator 13 compliance. The latest versions will help those of you creating compliant and quality Transition IEPs for your students, and they’ll guide district and school administrators and coordinators who are monitoring Transition IEPs for federal compliance.

The Compliance Checklist is available as a text-only version that may be more accessible to screen reader users. It’s also available in a more visual chart format that allows you to indicate yes or no to the 10 questions and sub-questions posed in the checklist.
The Transition IEP Rubric is a more in-depth guide covering assessments, postsecondary goals, transition services and activities, annual goals, and more. Screenshots from the Indiana IEP (IIEP) explain where specific information should be entered in the online IIEP.

With this year’s Rubric we’ve included extensive appendices featuring examples and comparisons of 1) quality, compliant, and noncompliant transition services and activities, and 2) quality, compliant and noncompliant annual goals statements.

You can also find both documents anytime by searching for “Rubric” or “Checklist” on the INSTRC Resource Search page.

 

Registration is now open for virtual 2021 annual Transition IEP training for education teams overseeing the quality and compliance of Transition IEPs in Indiana districts or cooperatives. That includes special education directors and assistant directors, transition coordinators, department chairs, and teachers.

This year’s free training, Building the Future Together, will be offered four times, each in a day-long session: August 30, 31, September 1, and 2.

All sessions will include information on common IEP compliance issues, transition programming for 18-22 year-olds, and transition IEP changes coming your way! You can attend any of the sessions, but each will have a regional focus so that we can introduce the members and work of the regional Indiana Cadres of Transition Educators.

Register now by heading to the Building the Future Together training page and find out which regions will be featured during each training session.

Correction
We had link issues in last week’s tip! So here, for your repeated enjoyment, is the info you need for subscribing to Tuesday’s Transition Tips—with the right links in place!

Do you have newbie transition teachers and staff in your building or district? We want them to get all the news! Be sure to send them to the Tuesday’s Transition Tips webpage to subscribe. It’s fast; we promise! They’ll thank you!

Find us in your inbox every Tuesday. If you have questions, suggestions, or a request for INSTRC, email us at INSTRC@indiana.edu.

And we’re back!

We hope you’ve all had a glorious summer. As you settle into your classrooms and gear up for the school year, we want you to know we’re here and we’ve got your back, transition-wise.

In case you have not met all of our Indiana Secondary Transition Resource (INSTRC) staff, here we are:

Our newest INSTRC team member, Mary Pearson, is joining us from the University of Kansas next week. You’ll be able to see Mary’s profile and contact information on our website as soon as she’s all set up.

Do you have newbie transition teachers and staff in your building or district? We want them to get all the news! Be sure to send them to the Tuesday’s Transition Tips webpageto subscribe. It’s fast; we promise! They’ll thank you!

Find us in your inbox every Tuesday. If you have questions, suggestions, or a request for INSTRC, email us at INSTRC@indiana.edu.

It’s time to say goodbye for the summer. Thank you for sticking with us for this past year of our Tuesday’s Transition Tips. We want you to know how much we appreciate all you do and all you’ve accomplished—zillions of Zoom meetings; figuring out how to expand minds and passions when you’re sitting in front of a computer screen; creating Transition IEPs that help students plan and grow; and learning new processes, tools and strategies.

Before we go, one more reminder: Don’t forget to register for Facing the Future Together, July 21-23. You’ll see more about our virtual, statewide transition conference in your inbox, but you can also check out our conference webpages to see who’s speaking when and on what topics.

SPECIAL NOTE:  As part of the conference, the annual meeting of the Indiana Cadres of Transition Leaders is scheduled for Thursday, July 22, from 3-4:15 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there!

We’ll be back in August with more Tuesday’s Transition Tips. Meanwhile, have a sunshiny, garden growing, outdoor fun, family- and friend-filled summer!

Sometimes it’s difficult to visualize the possibilities when you’re living with the day-to-day challenges. To help students, families, and caregivers understand what’s actually doable, we suggest sharing videos of transition success stories.

Take a look at the “Transition to Life After High School” page from the Pacer Center, Minnesota’s parent training and information center. The page features a subpage of employment success videos. Be sure to watch the one on customized employment and then scroll down to see videos from young people with disabilities.

Jared will tell you about his web design business that he’s able to run thanks to his sip and puff assistive technology. Nick operates his own lawncare business. And John explains how he’s been able to explore his strengths in the world of tech.
While they’re visiting the Life After High School pages, parents and students may also want to check out the Pacer Center’s videos on independent living, assistive tech, and self-advocacy.

You can share links to these videos in newsletters to home, at transition fairs, or via parent nights. Some students may enjoy watching them as part of their transition program or youth employment activities.

It’s May, and we know you and your students are sliding into summer after what’s been a particularly challenging year. Many of our teens and young adults may be facing several months of isolation and could be even less connected to friends and their communities than they are now.

It’s also Mental Health Awareness Month, so we want to make you aware of a couple of good resources.

  • Study.com has an online Mental Health Guide for High School Students. It’s not pushy and offers good tips and suggestions from a teen perspective. Includes information about technology supports, establishing social media limits, diet, exercise, meditation, sleep, escaping into nature, and more. Interesting tidbit: The guide includes a note in the COVID section about the importance of both creating a routine as well as breaking it sometimes. (They suggest an 80/20 percent split.)
  • The Indiana School Mental Health Initiative (ISHMI) is a project of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community (so are we!). Check out their resilience resources in the Topics A-Z section. You’ll also find a listing of the state’s School District Behavior Consultants and of the Social Emotional Learning/Mental Health Coordinators in the Resource section.
  • Involve your students in Mental Health Awareness Month by sharing information and materials from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) campaign “You Are Not Alone.” You can read stories there of individuals who’ve shared their experiences, or you can share your own.


Reminder:Join us tomorrow for Transition Talk at High Noon. We’ll be chatting with and learning from team members of the Center on Community Living and Careers who specialize in employment—from both a VR and community employment perspective. For more information and the Zoom link, see our Transition IEP Training and Support page.

Today we’re highlighting two “testimonial” videos from the transition portfolio training series. The videos offer different perspectives as to how portfolios can benefit teachers, Pre-ETS instructors, employment services providers, parents, and—especially—students.

The first video is from Niki Ford, a supervisor and teacher of her school’s employment training program. After switching to online portfolios three years ago, she’s seen multiple benefits. Having a one-stop-shop for documents and records helps families when their students leave school—and it means they won’t need to call you years later for a copy of a resume or the name of that job experience supervisor from sophomore year.

Niki also reports that digital portfolios create “incidental learning opportunities,” when students begin to see their portfolios as a reference and a problem-solving tool. In her sample Google Sites portfolio, she demonstrates the use of a table of contents to easily navigate the many documents they’ve added. Cool idea: The sample included quick-reference scripts for things like calling in sick.

Video number two is from Mary Ellen Jones, the youth and family supports manager for Stone Belt. Mary Ellen, who also oversees Pre-ETS and Project SEARCH, explains how helpful portfolios can be from an adult service provider perspective. A good portfolio, with documentation about a student’s strengths, preferences, and former experiences, gives providers a chance to jumpstart the Discovery part of the employment process. Mary Ellen also likes the transferability of portfolios—students can continue to build their portfolios and take them from one provider to another.

And finally, she encourages all of you to reach out to your Pre-ETS providers and make portfolios a collaborative work in progress. Pre-ETS providers also need portfolio information, so “do it together,” she says. “We want to make this a little less daunting for all of you.”

We’ve now uploaded all five Transition Portfolio Training modules, which originally debuted in March, to the INSTRC website. You’ll find them under the Training tab and on the Transition Portfolio Training and Support page. Scroll down to “Archived Transition Portfolio Training Modules.”

Scrolling even further on the page brings you to Transition Portfolio Office Hours. If you have a question, we’re here, every Wednesday, from 2:30-4:30 p.m., Eastern Time. Just click on the link to join the discussion.

Portfolio-related information update: After we completed the five modules in March, we learned of a change to the submission requirements. The finished portfolios of students with IEPs must contain, at a minimum, at least four artifacts (one per year). In order to better reflect a student’s strengths, preferences, and interests, however, best practice is that teachers and their students add at least four artifacts to their portfolios per year, for a total of 16 by the time students exit high school. Artifacts must provide information about all four domains: Student Information, Student Learning Characteristics, Academic Skills, and Employability Skills.

We know you’re in the midst of carefully crafting Transition IEPs for each of your students. The INSTRC team has updated its Transition IEP Compliance Checklist (formerly referred to as the requirements list) so that you can be sure your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted—or, in our language, your annual goals are measurable, your postsecondary goals are updated annually, and those goals are based on age-appropriate transition assessments.

Download, print, and check out the new checklist: Indiana Transition IEP Compliance Checklist

We’ve also uploaded the Transition IEP Compliance Checklist to the INSTRC website, so you can always find it by just typing “checklist” into the Resource Search or clicking the “Transition IEP” topic filter and scrolling through the results.

Ever wonder how your former students are doing? Well, the Indiana Department of Education, Office of Special Education does! On behalf of IDOE, the Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC), will be contacting your students one year after they exit school. To do so, we need your help. For students who are exiting school this year:

  1. Please make sure your student’s contact information is accurate and up to date in the Summary of Performance section of Indiana IEP. When old and incorrect phone numbers, email addresses, or home addresses are in Indiana IEP, it makes it challenging for us to contact your former students to learn about their education, training, and employment experiences since leaving school.
  2. Teachers of Record, please remember to provide students and families with the Indicator 14 Letter with their exit IEP. You can find and download the Indicator 14 Letter in the Summary of Performance section of Indiana IEP. If the letter did not go out with the exit IEP, please send it to students and families now, before the school year ends. This letter will let students and families know they will be contacted by us a year after the student exits school.
  3. Help students and families sign up for the What’s Next? monthly newsletter, which contains resources and information about connecting to employers, finding supports, taking college classes or training, and identifying agencies and organizations that support young adults and families in the transition from school to adult life.

For more information about the What’s Next? monthly newsletter and the post-school outcomes report from last year, see Discovering What’s Next? on the CCLC website.


Reminders: Our next Transition Talk at High Noon takes place tomorrow, April 7. Join us as we talk with Michelle Oja from the Indiana Department of Education Office of Special Education about data collection and the IEP monitoring process. You don’t need to register. Find the link to connect on the Training page of the INSTRC website (scroll down a bit).

Transition Portfolio Office Hours also begin tomorrow at 2:30 p.m., Eastern Time. Zoom with us. Find the link on the INSTRC webpage.

We’ve added a new assessment to the INSTRC Transition Assessment Matrix. Our thanks to Ryan Thompson from Adams Wells Special Services Co-op for his help creating this one. The assessment, an “Inventory of Entrepreneurial Interests” works well for students from Amish communities in northeast Indiana, but it should also work well for students who are interested in developing skills that could be valued in communities throughout the state.

The assessment lists 25 different areas of interest, from baking and buggy wheel repair to tailoring and woodworking. Some of these interests could lead to self-employment opportunities. For more self-employment information and resources, see the self-employment resource page on the Center on Community Living and Careers’ website.

Send us an email at instrc@indiana.edu to let us know if the new assessment is helpful for your students, or let us know if there are other skills you would like to see added to the list. We’ll update the inventory as needed.


Reminder: Next week, Wednesday, April 7, you have two opportunities to connect with INSTRC staff. Drop in (virtually) for Transition Portfolio Office Hours from 2:30-4:30 p.m., Eastern Time, or join us for our monthly Transition Talk at High Noon, Eastern Time. For more information, visit the INSTRC Training and Transition Portfolio Office Hours pages on the INSTRC website. 

Watch your inbox! In the coming weeks, we’ll be sending you information about Indiana’s statewide virtual transition conference, coming up this summer. The three-day conference, “Facing the Future Together,” takes place July 21-23 and will feature national keynote speakers as well as breakout sessions for teachers, young adults and family members, community employment providers, VR counselors, and other professionals supporting transition students.

Topics proposed by panelists and presenters include assistive tech apps and tools; self-determination; benefits; transition strategies for blind and low-vision students; neurodiversity; sexual health for young adults with disabilities; work-based learning experiences; career-technical education; postsecondary education opportunities; and more.

This year, the annual conference for Indiana Cadres of Transition Leaders, usually offered each spring, will be held in conjunction with the July 21-23 transition conference.

More on speakers coming soon. Registration materials will land in your inbox in early May. Please share this information with your transitioning students and families!

Hundreds of Indiana secondary educators participated in our five Transition Portfolio Training modules this month. Now that we’ve gone through the steps and showed you some examples, we want to follow-up to hear how it’s going and to help you work through your individual issues.

Starting next month, INSTRC will be taking your questions during weekly Transition Portfolio Office Hours. You can come and go with a question or just pop in to hear and learn from others. Beginning April 7, join us:

Office Hours
Wednesdays, 2:30-4:30 p.m.,Eastern Time

Find us on Zoom at: https://iu.zoom.us/j/81411235100

You do not need to register for Transition Portfolio Office Hours. Just drop in with your questions. There will be a Zoom waiting room; the host will let you in.

Bonus Tip: Keep in mind, INSTRC now offers technical assistance via two types of office hours. In addition to Transition Portfolio Office Hours, we’ve established Open Office Hours on Thursdays, from 3-5 p.m., Eastern Time, to answer your questions about transition and the Transition IEP. We’ve got you covered Wednesdays and Thursdays. Zoom in!

Just a reminder that Indiana Diploma Decisions from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center, is available on the INSTRC website for you to review and share with students and families. The guide contains valuable information on diplomas, the Certificate of Completion, graduation requirements and pathways, transition portfolios, and more.

You’ll find it at: Indiana Diploma Decisions
It’s also available in Spanish! Decisiones sobre el Diploma-Indiana

Need more information for parents? Share the link to our Collected Resources for Families. In addition to Indiana Diploma Decisions, you find information on Medicaid waivers, Social Security benefits fact sheets, and the “Working with Indiana VR” videos (in English and Spanish).

Teachers, if you haven’t explored the updated Secondary Transition webpage of the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) website, we encourage you to take a look. The new site makes it much easier to find:

  • links to the recording from last fall’s Virtual Transition Fair for families
  • the rotation schedule for Transition IEP monitoring
  • information about transition portfolios

In the Transition Portfolios category, for example, you will find a Guidance document, Google Sites examples, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Michelle Oja, IDOE’s special education specialist, has included links on the site to categories that contain resources intended to assist educators as well as some for students and families.

Be sure to bookmark the page!

  • “If one part of the Transition IEP is not compliant, does that mean the whole IEP is not compliant?”
  • “I have a student who insists his goal is to be a football quarterback. What services and activities should we be doing?”
  • “My student is planning to live at home after they leave school. Does that mean they don’t need an independent living goal?”
  • “I have a postsecondary goal but I’m not sure it’s measurable. How do I find out?”

Transition can be a tricky business. Every student is different. Rules and regulations change. Documentation demands your attention. Staff of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) are here to help.

Open Office Hours

Beginning next month, INSTRC will hold free, weekly Open Office Hours. You can come and go with a question or just pop in to hear and learn from others. Beginning Thursday March 4, join us:

 Every Thursday, 3-5 p.m., Eastern Time

Connect with us on Zoom: https://iu.zoom.us/j/84184586146

Transition Talk at High Noon

We’ll also provide short, interactive but topic-focused technical assistance every month on Transition Talk at High Noon. Upcoming dates and topics are below. Save the dates and times!

First Wednesdays, Noon, Eastern Time

  • March 3  General Transition IEP Information
  • April 7  Interview: Department of Education—Data & the Monitoring Process
  • May 5  Transition IEP-Present Levels

 Connect with us on Zoom: https://iu.zoom.us/j/84209113018

Note: You do not need to register for Open Office Hours or any of the Transition Talk High Noon webinars. Need accommodations? Contact us at INSTRC@indiana.edu at least three weeks before your Transition Talk or Office Hours. Let us know what accommodations you’ll need and for which dates you’ll need them.

Bring Change to Mind (BC2M) is a school club program created by students especially for students to reduce the stigma and discrimination around mental illness. Statistics show 1 in 5 teens and adults suffer from mental illness. Through peer-to-peer social support, BC2M aims to change fear and stigma to compassion and connectedness, tearing down any barriers that may exist.

The BC2M community of students work together to create a stigma-free zone for people with mental illness to help their schools become a safer place for all people. These clubs can address the isolating and uncertain experiences of the COVID pandemic and have a far-reaching impact through their virtual and hybrid meetings, and outreach.

The Indiana School Mental Health Initiative and the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, at Indiana Institute for Disability and Community, embrace the Bring Change to Mind program with the support of the Department of Education. The number of clubs around the state have grown from 10 to 45, and there is room for 10 more clubs this year.

If you would like to bring this important program to your school, please contact Emily Nichols at emily.n@bringchange2mind.org or use the BC2M Club Program Application Form.

FAFSA applications are due soon. Families and students with disabilities interested in attending college need to understand that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) could assist them with federal and state grants and/or loans and scholarships.

That part is pretty standard. What students may not realize is that VR postsecondary education assistance—possible tutoring, assistive tech, and other supports—also depend on students first completing and submitting their FAFSA. To be eligible for state aid, Indiana residents must submit their FAFSA form so that the federal processor receives it on or before April 15, 2021.

Filling out the FAFSA form—especially for first-time filers—can be complicated. Encourage students and families to participate in College Goal Sunday, which provides free FAFSA filing assistance to Hoosier families. This year's event will take place virtually on March 7, 2021. Please see College Goal Sunday for full event information.

Let students know that the earlier they file the FAFSA, the more likely they are to receive financial assistance. ScholarTrack.IN.gov can also guide students and families through the process of applying for additional financial assistance and scholarships. Other information and deadlines:

In an effort to help families participate at a time that’s more convenient for them, Indiana’s Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT) is shaking up its virtual schedule. FEAT is a series of free webinars for parents, young adults in transition, and their supporters to help them learn about competitive employment. In addition to extensive information about supported/customized employment, training also provides resources and discussion on employer and employee supports, benefits, work incentives, and savings.

This spring, IN*SOURCE and the Center on Community Living and Careers will offer each FEAT webinar three times on the days the webinar is offered—morning, afternoon, and in the evening—so that attendees can participate when it’s more convenient for them. Training kicks off February 16 and runs through March 25.

In addition to topic-focused sessions, FEAT offers two webinars specifically for young adults, and two webinars featuring presentations from local employers, agencies, and other support organizations. This spring, local presenters will represent Wabash, Angola, and Fort Wayne.

FEAT, now offered in five states, is sponsored by AWS Foundation.

Encourage students and families to check out the list of FEAT topics, dates, and times on the IN*SOURCE FEAT information page.

We’ve learned a new word. Teaching proper netiquette, the do’s and don’ts of online communication, can help students better understand what is socially acceptable when they are online for personal or professional purposes. Encourage your learners to consider how an outsider, perhaps a future employer, would view their media sites.

Help students understand that what they write and post on social media platforms, things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, are public, are permanent, and can have a long-term effect. (And middle school teachers, this applies to many of your students as well, since they may already be experienced social media users.) Nowadays, future employers, co-workers, college admissions officers, and faculty can and often do check out an applicant’s or individual’s online presence.

Tell your students to choose a long-term email address they can use for college and employment applications, resumes, and scholarship opportunities. Encourage them to leave out nicknames or anything inappropriate. Ask them, "Will this email address make a good impression?" A professional email address doesn’t always have to be a full name. Some suggestions might be a combination of first name, last name, and/or initials.

Be sure to share the Top 20 Social Networking Etiquette Tips for Teens with your students. By teaching netiquette rules for working online, you can promote online and real world best practice: Be kind and courteous and treat others as they want to be treated.

Other Resources

As of last week, the General Assembly is back in business at the Indiana State House. That may be especially interesting for your students this year, because state legislators are working on our two-year funding plan—the Indiana Biennial Budget.

Since Indiana puts together a budget only every other year, budget years get a lot of attention. When the General Assembly convenes in January (and even before Jan.1), they hear from stakeholders including state agencies (e.g., IDOE, FSSA, Department of Agriculture), individuals, special interest groups, businesses, schools, cities, and townships, all of whom have suggestions on how the state’s money should be spent.

The budget is the legislative blueprint for how much we will spend on programs and services in our communities for things like COVID prevention and treatment programs, transportation, job training, law enforcement, and Medicaid. This is a great time for students with disabilities (and their teachers and families) to learn about how to have a voice in the budget process for issues that pertain to them.

The key to success in college for students with disabilities is often planning, re-planning, and planning some more. You already know about the importance of academics, the Core 40 diploma, and self-determination. But just as important may be finding the right “fit” with colleges and universities willing to support students who need assistive technology support, individualized classroom (or online) accommodations, effective peer tutors, and creative social inclusion strategies.

Help students and their families begin to explore the possibilities by pointing them to the following resources:

  • Postsecondary Education in Indiana—a page of the Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC) website offering resources and information about support programs for degree-seeking students with disabilities on several Indiana college and university campuses. The webpage also has information about the six Indiana colleges and universities offering college experience programs to interested students in their last year of school prior to exiting with a Certificate of Completion. (Note that eligible students must live in the districts collaborating with one of the six programs.)
  • Is College for You: Setting Goals and Taking Action and ¿Es la Universidad para ti?—a publication of the Center on Community Living and Careers.
  • The Postsecondary Education Resource Collection—featured on the INSTRC website.
  • What’s Next?, Issues No. 5 and 6—a newsletter for students with disabilities who’ve recently exited school, What’s Next? provides information and resources on a variety of transition topics. Issue No. 5 focuses on planning for college. Issue No. 6, due out next week, focuses on the importance of filling out the FAFSA.*

For those of you supporting students in the midst of college visits and planning, the INSTRC website also includes the following resources and assessments. On the Resource Search page just check the “Postsecondary Education & Training” box. On the Transition Assessment Matrix search page check the “Education/Training” box and scroll through to find related assessments, several of which are also available in Spanish and Burmese.

  • The College Planning Worksheet
  • College Campus Visit Reflection
  • College Preparation Checklist
  • College Technical School Initial Review
  • Postsecondary College School Comparison

    *Bonus Tip: During your case conference meetings, be sure to let families know about signing up for the What’s Next? newsletter. By giving them the link to the What’s Next? webpage and encouraging them to fill out the survey there, you can also include the newsletter on the IEP when filling out the transition information box! (That’s the one that says, “Document the written information that was presented to the parent and student regarding the available adult services provided through state and local agencies and other organizations to facilitate student movement from school to adult life.)

Transition assessments are key to determining a student’s postsecondary goals and developing a quality transition IEP. Admittedly, though, it can be difficult to find transition assessments that target students with significant disabilities.

As you’re searching, keep in mind: You can adapt transition assessments to fit the needs of your student. You do not have to use an assessment exactly as written. Consider these assessment adaptations for students with high support needs:

  • Use pictures instead of or in addition to questions on an assessment.
  • Read transition assessments to students.
  • Create an activity where the student discusses relative topics right before they complete the assessment.
  • Use a scribe for the student’s responses.
  • Limit multiple-choice questions to two possible responses.
  • Transfer assessments to Google Forms or another virtual method.

Using authentic and other forms of transition assessments may also help appropriately assess students. Interviews, observations, and task analyses can all be transition assessments if used to determine the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests related to their postsecondary goals.

Save these resources (and this tip) to a folder!

Happy Holidays! Tuesday’s Transition Tips will return January 5. We’ll miss you, but wish you peace, goofy board games, jigsaw puzzles, family and friends (even if it’s on Zoom), the anticipation and excitement of little ones, sprinkles on cookies, cozy naps, mugs of hot chocolate, and all the joys of the season. Stay warm and safe, everyone!

The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) National Training Center is a clearinghouse of information providing information and resources about “evidence-based, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive” practices that address the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. MHDD is a collaboration among University Centers of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) at the University of Kentucky, the University of Alaska Anchorage, and Utah State University. (Just FYI, Indiana’s UCEDD is the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, the home of the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center.)

Among the resources on the MHDD website, you’ll find fact sheets like:

  • “Dual Diagnosis 101";
  • a toolkit on mental health, stabilization, and wellness for individuals and families;
  • the link to a youth suicide and prevention plan;
  • videos from students and experts in the field; and
  • training webinars.

Note that MHDD also includes resources in Spanish and plain language. 

Saving for the future is now doable thanks to ABLE accounts. Sometimes parents of adult children with disabilities who are receiving Social Security or Medicaid may be concerned about employment for their child. They’ve heard that benefits could be lost if their love one earns above a certain threshold. What are ABLE accounts, why would someone want to have one, and how do they work? All good questions!

ABLE, which stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience, is a savings and investment program created by the U.S. Congress for people diagnosed with a disability before age 26. ABLE account owners can save up to $15,000 per year from their own earnings or from benefits payments, inheritance, or from friends and relatives who may want to contribute to the account. The great thing is that an account holder can save up to $100,000 in an account without losing their Medicaid or other benefits. Account holders who work can save even more money per year.
Many states now offer ABLE account programs. Individuals and families exploring the ABLE possibilities can even compare and contrast different state program advantages, like debit card options, investment plans, and tax advantages before they enroll.

ABLE plans also work well with existing future-planning arrangements. For instance, many families set up special needs trusts for long-term supports and an ABLE account for shorter-term savings and spending on things like housing down payments or new technology. Families who originally set up a 529 plan for college savings can also roll over those funds into an ABLE account.

Refer families who have questions to:

Watch for upcoming webinars on ABLE accounts and other benefit topics. We’ll keep you posted!

Gratitude negates attitude. Seems appropriate in this season of thanksgiving, doesn’t it? But in a year like 2020, how do you teach your students to express their gratitude to the people in their lives?

Researchers say that the act of being thankful can do amazing things. On that list, they include the ability to live happier, more satisfied lives filled with self-esteem, hope, empathy, and optimism. Some researchers also believe that people who express gratitude develop relationships that are more positive at home and school.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for activities you can do with your students to build an attitude of gratitude.

  1. Get creative. Capitalize on student strengths—and fun. Pictures, cartoons, videos, texts, photo collages, flowers, and offers to help are all great ways to express thanks.
  2. Make use of that tech. Using the student’s tech of choice (augmentative communication device, cell phone), help them program a recorded prayer or poem or a simple message to family so that they can say grace at Thanksgiving.
  3. Beautify with leaves of thanks. Have students create a “tree” of thanks with a vase, a branch, and cutout construction leaves. Find how-to-instructions here. (Smiles, favorite authors, Netflix, grandpa’s goofy hats, 5-minute-breaks, mom hugs, PlayStation, pumpkin pie, a possible vaccine—whatever.)
  4. Give Zoom gratitude. If you’re online, practice expressing thanks with your class. If no one’s volunteering, start with the little things (like the leaves, above).
  5. Use music. Try a little inspiration with Kelly Clarkson’s “Thankful,” dance it up with Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Gratitude,” or help students create their own gratitude playlists. Check out this list for songs in multiple genres.
  6. Show them how. Be sure to model to your students how it’s done. Thank them for the work they’re doing in these tough times. Send an email to the tech support people for keeping us connected (show it to your students). Send a Thanksgiving card to a loved one who can’t be there in person this year.

And on that modeling note, we’ll start. Thank you for all you do for your students...for your willingness to keep learning with us...for your patience….for reading Tuesday’s Tips. And thanks for hanging in there this year.

We wish you all peace, family, fun, two slices of pie, and a Happy Thanksgiving. Tuesday’s Tips will return December 1.

It’s often said that technology makes life easier for everyone. However, for people with disabilities, technology is more than a convenience. It’s often a necessity to make all things manageable.

Right now, your school is supplying the tech tools your students need for success in the classroom; however, that responsibility ends with the student exiting school. It is important to make careful considerations for adult services. Therefore, the student, family, and other case conference members should identify assistive technology (AT) needs; discuss how the technology will be funded; and establish a plan for equipment training, if needed. This discussion and planning should occur early in the transition process, while students are still in high school, so that they and their families can prepare for tech needs when they leave school.

Some resources to keep in mind:

  • The Indiana Assistive Technology Act (INDATA) Project at Easterseals Crossroads in Indianapolis offers funding assistance, lends AT devices and equipment, and reutilizes used equipment to give free of charge to Hoosier individuals with a disability. Not only can you borrow AT from their loan library, but their staff will also train you to use the equipment and devices.
  • Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) may provide necessary AT to your students found eligible for VR if they are preparing for or entering employment or training.
  • Additional funding sources to explore include Social Security work incentives, the student’s employer (if the technology is considered a reasonable accommodation), private foundations, local charities, and health insurance including Medicaid or Medicare.

It’s Election Day. We hope that if you haven’t yet, you will get to a polling site and make your voice heard by casting your vote.

With today’s Tuesday’s Tip, we want to point you to a great resource you may not have explored. The Jobs Accommodations Network (JAN) offers free, confidential and practical solutions that help people with disabilities enhance their employability. Bolstered by tips from JAN, you and your students can show employers how they can benefit from the talents of your students with disabilities.

JAN’s Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR) allows you and your students to explore various accommodation options in work and educational settings.

Another great feature on the JAN website is the A to Z listings of disabilities and accommodations. You can search by disability, limitation, work-related function, topic, and accommodation. JAN's A to Z may not address every situation, but as you explore the site, you will find it very beneficial to your students as they plan for employment.

Have a question about JAN? Review JAN's Frequently Asked Questions.

One of the first steps for young adults eligible to receive employment services through Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is to choose a community employment provider. VR and employment providers work with job seekers to identify their Individual Path for Employment. But how does a transitioning student choose an employment provider? With the assistance of the VR Pick List.

Once VR determines that a young adult is eligible for VR services, the VR counselor or intake staff member will share a VR Pick List with the job seeker and their family. (Note: Individuals working with area community rehabilitation providers will also receive a pick list through their case manager. This one’s different!)

The VR Pick List is available on the Indiana VR website for each county in the state. Job seekers and families are encouraged to look through the services offered by the employment providers in their area. Some providers specialize in providing services and supports to job seekers who are blind or vision impaired. Others offer benefits counseling or behavioral skills intervention. It’s important for job seekers and families to contact and interview providers to find the right match.

Review the VR Pick List for your county and share it with your VR-eligible students and their families.

Transition planning can be a frustrating and daunting task for parents. The learning curve is steep (employment, benefits, supported decision-making/guardianship, housing, day-to-day supports), and the pressures on families can be intense. It is important that we, as teachers, share resources with parents that can help them navigate their transition journey.

Here are five trusted websites, geared toward parents and families, which offer good information, guidance, and tools for transition.