Provide individualized supports and assistance to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to ensure a successful transition from high school into community integrated employment.
At the start of the project, Career Connections contacted every school in the Texoma Region to explain the program and how it could assist them with transition services for their students. Program staff attended Individualized Education Program (IEP), Individual Transition Plan (ITP), and Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meetings. This allowed them to enhance the manner in which meetings were conducted and to highlight the importance of letting the students express their wants, needs, and desires.
Every ARD and ITP meeting attended gave project staff the opportunity to educate both the parents and the school systems about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and how it applied to their unique situation. IEP, ITP, and ARD processes had been structured to be more convenient to the school but not necessarily in the best interest of the student. Career Connections was able to help with the systems change process. Teachers were also educated on their obligations under IDEA and how to access non-education funds to pay for accommodations or assistive devices.
Students and parents were educated individually on the IEP, ITP, and ARD process. After the ARD, staff would meet with the parents and explain their rights and the rights of the student, as well as walk them through the process of resolving any of their issues. It was expressed to the parents how important it is to get involved with local advocacy organizations and how these organizations could serve as a valuable resource to them and their children.
- 22 students transitioned from school to community integrated jobs
- 8 employment programs or policies were created or improved
- 111 individuals were trained in employment
- 4 schools improved IEP practices
- 49 individuals received advocacy training