The role of business and industry in transition programs

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Business and industry can play many roles in the transition program. They can offer job shadowing, mentoring, and apprenticeship programs. Businesses should be involved in strengthening the connection between educators and work. They can ensure that future members of the workforce are well-prepared to function in high performance workplaces.

One job development strategy that would be beneficial to help a student apply for and obtain a job would be to create a "pocket resume." The students would first need to create a good resume. This information would then be transferred to a pocket size piece of paper that they could carry with them to apply for job. A pocket resume will allow the student to have all the information that is needed to complete an application. By having this information, they can apply for any job, at any time, by simply pulling out this one small piece of paper.

When obtaining a job, the student needs to develop a student profile. This profile should tell who the student is, how they would be a valuable asset to a company, and include a brief rundown of the student's qualifications. After a profile has been compiled, a job analysis should be conducted. A job analysis will identify the competencies directly related to performance on the job. It should consist of a list of tasks that defines the job. Also taken into consideration is the compatibility match. One way to do a compatibility match is to assess the student performing a career interest inventory. This will give insight into whether or not that particular student's interests will be compatible for the job that they are possibly interested in.

In developing community-based employment training sites, I would begin by bringing the community (example: local employers) into my school for a mentoring program. Since community-based instruction is individualized and planned instruction in community environments. After students are introduced to the mentoring program where they are provided instruction for target skills, they would then be given the opportunity to regularly visit these places in order to gain a true experience of what it is like to work in that particular environment. I also think it would benefit the student's to work with personnel form the local Job Skills Center, which conducts training in the local community. Also I would implement a unit on how to apply and search for jobs through the online "Job Link."

The concept of natural supports is a very important concept because it consists of resources that occur naturally to the student in the environment that they are in. These supports provide each person served with a level of support that is aligned with their unique needs and allows them to work with the utmost independence. A strong point of natural supports is that they allow the person with a disability to be accepted into the work place culture.

Job developers should consider the culture which surrounds the workplace when through the job development process. It is vital for the success of the student that they be accepted into this culture. Individuals who do not find acceptance into this culture are at risk for failure on the job and for quitting. It is a combination of culture, environment, and local resource working together that will allow our students to successfully transfer from school to the workplace.

Question #2: In what ways should parents of students with disabilities be involved in transition planning? Why has it sometimes been difficult for them to be involved? What can we do to enhance parent participation in transition planning? What are some general cultural differences that professionals need to pay attention to as they work with families and help them through the transition process? Identify some of the challenges to family involvement in the transition process and discuss how they might be addressed by teachers and school administrators. What are some creative strategies for better involvement of families in transition planning? (10 points)

While most parents have a plan and expectations for their children, many are significantly uninvolved with the transition planning process. Family involvement should be a major factor of the transition process. According to Flexer, Baer, Luft, & Simmons (2008), family involvement is an important part in helping to determine student needs, interest, and preferences. They also suggested that family activities are a critical part of developing a coordinated set of activities to support student's post-school transition. Another crucial part of parent involvement in transition is acting as the legal protectors of their child.

Though most parents want to be involved in the transition planning, they may often not be afforded the opportunities to do so. Lack of information is also a concern of parents of transition students. Family resources and meeting time are other important issues, as many families may not have available transportation or may not have work schedules that cannot accommodate traditional school hours. Six other factors that have been found to affect parental involvement in transition are:

Knowledge of range of options

Ability to evaluate options

Knowledge of the child's skill

Knowledge of the child's preference

Knowledge of how to get services

Knowledge of how to advocate for services that are not available

Cultural diversity is another issue that can affect every aspect of the transition process. Educators involved in the transition process should:

address the differences in definitions and interpretations of disability

accept differences in family coping styles

accommodate differences in parental interaction and participation

equalize differential access to information and services

prevent and address negative attitudes and perceptions in regards to family role

overcome dissonances in the fit of education and transition programs

Parents should be a bigger part of the decision making rather than the usual "decision telling."According to Flexer, several recommendations were provided related to promoting comfort, developing partnerships, and enhancing communication. To encourage a positive relationship, educators should exert a continuous effort to arrange meetings, share information, and coordinate action to make transition a more family friendly process.

There are several promising practices for family involvement in the transition planning process. Reciprocal family education, cultural sensitivity, personal futures planning, and longitudinal involvement with transition planning are a few examples of practices to encourage better family involvement. Reciprocal family education suggests that educators should be trained with the family and by the family. Cultural sensitivity would help to make school programs, meetings, and training more culturally friendly and understanding. Personal futures planning requires meeting with families in their environments with people who can relate to the student. Longitudinal involvement with transition planning requires educators commute with families from year to year and assure they can understand the big picture.

Question #3: The special education system has come under increasing scrutiny and criticism because of poor outcomes among students leaving the system. Write a convincing argument why effective transition services will address these problems and result in more beneficial outcomes for students with disabilities, as well as for society.

The beginning of the transition policy and programs is rooted in the work-study and career education programs. The need to broaden and improve the transition practices was greatly expressed by critics of the program. While there are still many uncertain issues, such as local variables, differing educational ideas, differing needs of students with disabilities, and varying environments in which these students will be placed in the future, the outlook for the transition program is a promising one, thanks to new and evolving transition practices.

Question #4: Compare, contrast and provide at least three explicit examples of each to demonstrate your understanding of the terms accommodation and modification.

Accommodation and modification are often used as synonymous terms but are actually two very different concepts. Accommodations are designed to lessen the effects of a student's disability on learning while not actually lowering that student's learning expectations. Modifications do just the opposite of accommodations by changing, lowering or reducing learning expectations. Accommodations can be referred to as "how" a particular task is to be done while modifications are the "what" is to be done.

The term "accommodation" is used to describe an adjustment to the environment, curriculum, or equipment which can help a student with a disability accomplish a task that he or she may not have been able to do without the assistance. An accommodation is a way to compensate for the disability; not an excuse. Having accommodation will allow students with disabilities the chance to pursue a regular course of study. Since accommodations do not alter what is being taught, instructors should be able to implement the same grading scale for students with disabilities as they do for students without disabilities. Some examples of accommodations include:

Sign language interpreters for students who are deaf

Extended time for students with fine motor limitations, visual impairments, or learning disabilities

Large-print books and worksheets for students with visual impairments

Trackballs and alternative keyboards for students who cannot operate standard mice and keyboards

Preferentially seating a child near the front of the room or near you to reduce distractions or behavior problems

Modification is the term used to describe a change or "watering down" of the curriculum. These changes are made for students with disabilities who are unable to comprehend all of the content an instructor is teaching. Consistent use of modifications has been shown to increase the gap between the achievement of students with disabilities and the grade level expectations. Modifications can have a negative impact on the student's educational career by not promoting continued progress. Some examples of modifications include:

Reducing the amount of work required (do only the odd-numbered problems)

Giving the student a completely different skill or content (watered-down version)

Having the student present his/her knowledge in a completely different way (watered-down version)

Identify

1) The term FAPE stands for a free and appropriate public education. FAPE provides a special education and accompanying services at public expense. FAPE requires that students receive an appropriate education but does not clearly identify what "appropriate" means. Another requirement is that FAPE occurs in the least restrictive environment to that particular student.

2) The term LRE stands for least restrictive environment. This means that a student with special needs should have the opportunity to be educated in the same environment with their nondisabled peers to the greatest extent possible. Appropriate is this case refers to what is appropriate for each individual student based on their abilities and needs. Appropriate LRE will range from full inclusion with peers to self-contained classrooms.

3) The IDEA is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The IDEA outlines the right and regulation that ensures children with disabilities have instruction that meets their individual needs. Through IDEA, all children with disabilities are guaranteed a Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least-Restrictive Environment.

4) An Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, is a plan that is tailored to meet a child's special needs. An IEP may include goals, accommodations, behavior plan (if needed), support services, and placements that are imposed with the specific needs of that particular child in mind. IEP's are legally binding documents that are planned and created by IEP team that includes teachers, support personnel, specialists, parents, and other persons as deemed necessary.

5) An ITP, or Individualized Transition Plan, is plan of transition services that public schools are required to create for older students who need to prepare for community living after leaving high school. An ITP includes a set of coordinated activities that assist students with disabilities move from school into self-determined post-graduation activities.

6) The term inclusion refers to the educational practice of instructing special needs children in a classroom with their non-disabled peers. Depending on the specific needs of that child, inclusion will range from none at all to full day inclusion in the general education classroom. Ideally for full inclusion, a special education teacher will be in the general education classroom with the general education teacher. Unfortunately, most of the schools that I have been in do not have the funding for enough special education teachers to provide that additional support in general education for all of their special needs students on a daily basis.

7) A job coach is a professional that works with people to determine what career path is suitable for their unique talents and abilities. For individuals that have challenges and disabilities, a job coach will help them to develop their working skills to become successful in competitive employment. A job coach would assist individuals with special needs in learning their job or accommodating the job to their specific needs.

8) Assistive technology is any device, equipment, or system that will help an individual with special needs to compensate or work around their specific deficit. AT promotes greater freedom by enabling that person to perform tasks that they were formerly had great difficulty accomplishing by providing enhancements or new methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish those tasks.

9) Job Analysis is a process to identify and determine the details of a particular job, including duties and requirements, and the relative importance of these duties for a given job. Job Analysis can be used to help determine the skill level, level of education required, responsibilities, and the work environment of that particular job. A job analysis is very important tool for helping transition students to find the type of job that they, based up their unique abilities, can really be successful in.

10) Compatibility matching is a term that I had a great deal of trouble finding. Internet searches wanted to direct me to horoscope matches and e-harmony. Next, I tried my best resource, my mother. My mother referred to a compatibility match as a career interest inventory (which is what they use in DeKalb County). A compatibility match is basically an assessment used to survey a student to gain insight into whether or not their interest and abilities are compatible with potential jobs that they are interested in.

11) Natural supports are common supports that naturally occur in the work environment. The strong point of natural supports is that they allow the person with a disability to be accepted into the work place culture. These supports provide each person served with a level of support that is aligned with their unique needs and allows them to work with the utmost independence.

12) Workplace culture is the environment, activities, and people that are a part of the workplace. It is vital for the success of the student that they be accepted into this culture. Individuals who do not find acceptance into this culture are at risk for failure on the job and for quitting. It is a combination of culture, environment, and local resource working together that will allow our students to successfully transfer from school to the workplace.

13) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) was civil rights legislation for individuals with disabilities. It protects individuals from discrimination based on their disability. Under section 504, no individual with disabilities could be excluded from participating in the same programs and activities that are available to their non-disabled peers. This law includes protection from discrimination by employers and organizations that receive any type of federal funding. To be qualified under section 504, individuals must be defined as having a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.

14) The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, is federal law that protects the privacy of a student's education records. This law applies to all schools that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents rights to their child's educational records with these rights transferring to the student at the age of 18. These rights include the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school, request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading, and prevent the release any information from a student's education record (with some exceptions).

15) The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, to help protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. The ADA helps to ensure Americans with disabilities are protected against job discrimination, provided access to all public and commercial buildings, able to fully participate in all public programs, including school and public transportation, and that telecommunication companies provide alternative services for customers with disabilities.

16) Functional life skills are the abilities necessary to function in everyday life. Many students with special needs do not understand many of the basic things that we do in day to day life, such as household, cooking, making purchases, and much more. Functional life skills are perhaps more important than academic skills because without knowledge of these basic skills an individual with disabilities will never be able to function as an independent person.

17) A basic definition of a curriculum is set of instructional courses and any content involved or taught for each particular course. A curriculum could be thought of as a path of learning that all students are required to follow, though not all students will follow the same curriculum. The curriculum for each school or district is predetermined by the school and government officials. Most curriculums will include the core subjects of reading, writing, mathematic and science. Upon successful completion of a set curriculum, a student will receive a diploma or certificate.

18) Community-Based Instruction is individualized and planned instruction in community environments where individuals are provided instruction for target skills. These target skills are based on evaluations of each student's individual needs and recommendations that are made by the student, parents/guardians, and teachers. Community-Based Instruction is incorporated with the belief that every student, regardless of the severity of his or her disabilities, is capable of living, working, and recreating in the community. Therefore, Community-Based Instruction should cross over community, domestic, recreation/leisure, and vocational domains.

Reference: http://sbo.nn.k12.va.us/sped/community-instruction.html

19) Self-determination is an essential skill for success in life. Self-determination is a

combination of an individual's attitude, abilities, and beliefs. Unfortunately, too many students, especially those with special needs, do not naturally possess the self-awareness, decision making skills, or self-advocacy that is necessary to help develop a sense of self-determination. The development of these skills and self-determination is an important part of the transition process.

20) People First Language is the idea that, since people with disabilities are first and foremost people, they should be addressed with the dignity and respect due to all people. People First Language refers to the individual first and the disability second and is the preferred terminology of the disabled community. It is an objective way of recognizing, communicating, and reporting on disabilities which helps to remove any assumptions or stereotypes and focuses on the individual instead of the disability.

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