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Transition services are intended to prepare students to move forward from the world of school to the world of adulthood. Transition planning begins during high school at the latest, but is required by law under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) to start by the time the student is 16 years of age. The planning for transition involves teachers, parents, and students. Postsecondary goals and the need for transition services will be considered, as well as areas of interest to the student, such as postsecondary education or vocational training, employment, independent living, and community participation.
Young people graduating from high school and moving into adulthood often face difficulty when making this transition. Young people with disabilities can have added difficulty with issues such as: finding employment, disclosing disability to employers, seeking accommodations in college and in the workplace, and getting necessary supports.
Situations and Solutions:
The following situations and solutions are real-life examples of accommodations that were made by JAN customers. Because accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, these examples may not be effective for every workplace but give you an idea about the types of accommodations that are possible.
Kenny, a student with a learning disability, was rotated between two placements in the afternoons of his senior year of high school following morning classes at the vocational technical center.
Kenny was working on specialized employment skills in his area of interest as well as soft skills needed for a job. After his second successfully completed placement, Kenny was offered a full-time position to start as soon as he graduated. The accommodations put into place at the start of his placement were effective for learning the job, but were not needed on a continual basis.
Heather has worked in a local, full-service, family restaurant for many years.
She has washed dishes, rolled silverware into napkins, and other general tasks. She has known for some time that she wanted to be a waitress there, but was concerned about learning the huge menu and taking orders. Heather had impairments in executive functioning that limited her ability to mentally organize and remember information. Her transition team obtained a menu from the restaurant and worked with Heather, section by section to learn the menu. They also looked at ways it would be easier for her to take orders, so that when she had an interview, she would be prepared to tell the employer how she could do the job successfully.
Tim and his parents were concerned about his admittance to a community college and his ability to be successful beyond the supports provided in secondary school.
They called JAN asking about similar accommodations that could be provided in his upcoming courses for welding. A consultant as JAN discussed the accommodations that had helped him be successful and assisted him to determine if the same ones would help in his community college course, where to go for help with disclosure and to request accommodations, and what documentation he would need to provide.
After graduating from technical school, Clarice was certain that she would need accommodations in order to be successful on the job she had just secured. She
She had taken afternoon courses at the tech center because she was able to more consistently attend classes with the afternoon bus schedule. Clarice was unable to drive due to epilepsy. She was curious about her rights as an employee and wanted to request a flexible schedule for ease of using public transportation.
Josh’s job coach and employment specialist Edie had served him well during the job search, hiring, and training period.
Edie also worked during this time to locate supports for Josh that could be put into place when she exited the workplace. Josh’s supervisor was pleased that a mentor, an older coworker who had befriended Josh, was identified who would be able to aid Josh in the same way Edie had, but on a more long-term basis.
A janitor at a furniture factory has a cognitive disability.
His primary essential function is to sweep away the ever-accumulating sawdust, which he does very well. However, once he has performed a complete sweep of the floor, he has difficulty determining when it needs to be done again. This results in the sawdust becoming a barrier to other workers' mobility. The employee is a client of state vocational rehabilitation (VR) and his vocational rehabilitation counselor arranges for a job coach to help address the problem. After monitoring the employee's work and helping him learn to discriminate between a clean floor and one that is ready to be swept again, the job coach is able to fade out his direct involvement, but remains available to support the employee as needed.
A teacher with AD/HD experienced disorganization in her classroom due to clutter from many years of teaching.
The employer provided a job coach to help the teacher learn organization techniques, to help separate and store items, and to dispose of previous student work and projects from yesteryear.
A grocery store chain recently hired a customer care clerk who has Down Syndrome.
The new clerk's job duties require her to be able to quickly group similar items together when bagging customer purchases. Due to her disability, she has difficulty recognizing which products are similar, but can remember such relationships once they are pointed out to her. The employer does not have anyone available to spend the required time to train the clerk. The employer hired a job coach to show the clerk how to match items when bagging products. After about two weeks, the clerk was able to perform the job independently so the job coach was no longer needed.
A food service worker with an anxiety disorder works in the kitchen of a restaurant, helping with food preparation and cleaning.
She is able to perform all of her essential functions, but she tends to talk to her co-workers incessantly about her personal issues to the point that other employees complain to management. A manager talks with the food service worker about her conduct and explains that it is interfering with work and making coworkers uncomfortable. The employee is a client of a mental health agency and offers to talk with her service coordinator about getting a job coach. The job coach teaches the employee how to talk with coworkers about impersonal topics (like the weather) and how to focus conversations on work tasks she and coworkers are performing. The job coach then helps the employee apply the new skills directly on the job and is able to fade out direct involvement after a couple of months.
Trinity, a new employee with fetal alcohol syndrome passed her probationary period with flying colors.
She started to experience the gradual withdrawal of the job coach who had been instrumental in the her success. The supervisor began to see a few issues resurface. The employer recruited a co-worker that had formed a positive relationship with Trinity to function as a natural support to her after the job coach was gone, providing the same type of support.