Planning for After High School: My Next Steps
SPPS/Arc Minnesota /Ramsey County Social Services
June is a time of transition for high school students, planning for the future, for adult life, for school, work, and whatever else comes next. This fair was an event for students receiving special education services and their families. Students receiving Special Education services are given access to rights and services through the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) up through age 21 after which services/protections are offered through laws like the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and Rehabilitation Act. At age 18 students are expected to take on more responsibilities for their life choices unless they are under guardianship or conservatorship. Thus as students prepare to exit high school there are a lot of decisions to be made about where to live, work, how to connect with your community, deciding which roles and responsibilities to take on your own and which you might need support with, deciding who can help support you as you transition to an adult.
The fair consisted of a panel of speakers, representatives of various organizations as well as self advocates.
Disability is a characteristic not a label, it describes but does not define a person. The speakers emphasized that youth and those helping them should not limit nor create barriers and that when helping youth in transition we should listen to people and their goals and do person centered planning. You won't always get everything you want, but if it is important to start with the person in mind. When working with people it is important to understand that behavior is communication, to remember about protecting civil rights and working towards integration and inclusion.
Goals in transition are to connect the individual and his/her family to the community and have services occurring within the community not separate from it, to help solve, work around challenges so they don't become barriers, to use Self Directed, Family Assisted Employment Plans and Community Mapping, to find out what is important to the person going through transition , target work around this, and figure out where resources are.
Some resources for people going through transition for school, work, community, health, financial assistance, etc.:
- Disability Hub (includes sections on Disability and Housing benefits)
- Focus Beyond (Saint Paul Public Schools Transition program)
- Work Life Alliance
- Cow Tipping Press (self expression, writing, community, fun)
- Connect 700 (pathway to state employment for people with disabilities who may not be able to demonstrate abilities in interviews and testing)
- Dungarvin, an agency that offers supports and services to help adults who have disabilities.
- Kaposia " "
- Metropolitan Center for Independent Living MCIL is dedicated to the full promotion of the Independent Living (IL) philosophy by supporting individuals with disabilities in their personal efforts to pursue self-directed lives.
- Metropolitan State University
- MN APSE (MN Association of People Supporting Employment First)
- Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance
- MN Department of Education/Project Search, The program model takes place in a business setting where total immersion facilitates the teaching and learning process through continuous feedback and application of new skills. Upon successful completion of the Project SEARCH application and interview process, selected students become Project SEARCH interns. Student interns are provided work opportunities and practical learning experiences to enhance their academic preparation and expose them to the world of work.
- MN Disability Legal Aid
- NAMI Minnesota
- PACER Center
- Partners in Community Supports (PICS)
- Partners in Policymaking (leadership, advocacy training and resources for people with disabilities and others on their website.)
- Ramsey County' Citizens Advisory Council's Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Committee
- Ramsey County Children's Mental Health
- Ramsey County Consumer Support Grant
- Ramsey County Intake, MN Choices Assessment and Disability Services
- Ramsey County Foster Care Services and Licensing
- Ronald Hubbs Center
- Saint Paul Public Schools Special Education
- Social Security Administration (Ticket to Work program)
- The TAP (community get-togethers, chances for self/creative expression)
- Arc MN
- Vocational Rehabilitative Services