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Youth Videos + Planning Worksheets = Great Free Transition Toolkit

by Mary Mazzoni on September 9, 2012

Kudos to the State of California!

By bringing together self advocates, families, educators, and diverse agencies, they’ve developed a truly helpful Transition Toolkit website.

The site’s user-friendly format and key features make it an ideal gateway to transition planning – no matter what state you live in.

It has earned a place of honor in our Free Transition Tools Shop!

Let’s take a look at what the site has to offer.

Big Picture

So often, families think about “transition” only in terms of postsecondary education or employment. Fact is, the transition to life after high school impacts every area of our child’s life.

The California Youth Transition Toolkit site includes resources that address:

Although these sections aren’t as in-depth as some of our other Free Transition Tools, the California’s Youth Transition Toolkit site is a friendly place to start as you and your child begin planning for the future together.

Youth perspective

Nothing is as valuable to teens as hearing from peers who have been there. Young adults with disabilities have a whole lot more credibility with teens than teachers and parents do. And, frankly, as adults – we have a lot to learn from these young people who have navigated hurdles to achieve a life they love after high school.

Watch the videos yourself. Watch them with your child. Listen to what your child has to say in response to the videos.

Clearly, these young people won’t have the very same challenges and concerns as your child. The youth featured on the site may have academic or communication skills that that differ from your child’s own. Their interests and goals may be different. But listening to their perspective can be a real springboard for meaningful dialogue and planning with your teen.

Planning worksheets

The planning worksheets are designed to be completed by your child with your support. Even if your child’s disability impacts reading or writing, you can use the worksheets as a way to guide conversation with your child.

If your child’s communication or comprehension skills require more intensive supports, you may want to use one of these preference tools instead of the worksheets on the California Transition Toolkit site.

The idea is to gather information about your teen’s interests, experiences, hopes, and fears. This is your child’s life. What matters most to him?

Using the worksheets, you and your teen can work together – and also collaborate with school and agency staff – to begin taking specific steps toward the future your child envisions. Each section of the website offers basic background information you and your teen will need to begin planning next steps.

The transition planning information on the site is fairly general. When you are ready for more specific information – check out these Transition Portfolios.

California-specific language about diplomas and agencies

Unless you live in California, the language in the Education section regarding “Certificate of Completion” and “High School Diploma” may not apply to your child.

States differ in relation to high school diploma requirements. Check with your school district to clearly understand if a student with an IEP who does not complete required courses and/or pass required exams is awarded the same diploma as other students.

Be sure that you and your child clearly understand what type of diploma she will earn.

You’ll also find links on the site to California agencies for key services such as vocational rehabilitation, independent living and developmental disabilities. Check with your child’s teacher or transition coordinator for contact information for relevant local agencies.

Your child and the IEP meeting

A great feature of the site is a youth-friendly guide to leading the IEP meeting.

Leading the IEP meeting?

The very idea may surprise you. But, think about it. Your teen needs to learn how to advocate for himself. And the law requires that youth of transition age be invited to their IEP meeting. So – what better way to practice advocacy than taking the lead at the IEP meeting?

The California site provides a guide and a script that youth can use to take a leadership role. It does require some pre-IEP meeting communication between youth, parents and teacher. And some kids may only want to lead a particular section of the meeting at first. Still, the resource can get you, your teen and his teacher thinking about his role at IEP meetings.

By the way, the Commonwealth of Virginia has also developed materials to support youth taking a lead role in IEP meetings. Check them out here.

Your turn

Is your interest piqued? Check out California’s Youth Transition Toolkit site. Spend some time exploring it with your child. Then, please leave your comments here so we know what you think. Got questions? As always- feel free to ask away. Either in the comments or via email.

Did you find this post helpful?  Please share it. Thanks!

Photo credit: Tania_Cataldo on Flickr

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