Have you ever wondered what's after high school for students with disabilities?
This may be a question you have considered, it may not. This question affects thousands of young adults in West Virginia each year. While there are several acronym programs to help through the process of "transition" I'm going to try and give you the "skinny" on the most helpful steps to take.
1. What type of challenges does the disability create for training and/or employment?
Is transportation going to be an issue? Public transportation may be an option, or additional support to aid in learning how to drive could be available.
Is further training an option? There are helpful programs at many trade schools, colleges, and other training programs available to help with challenges an individual with disabilities may face in the next step for their future.
2. If training and employment are not options, what is there?
In WV, there is a program called Medicaid Waiver services. This program is limited and requires an application process and a waiting list of several years (think more than 5 years of waiting).
Social Security Insurance (SSI)/ Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are programs to assist with the costs of living with a disability and very little income.
For young adults ages 16-21, their schools may have access to events specifically designed to help students with special needs and their families to navigate the process of transition. These events may help the students determine their area of interest for work, practice interviewing skills, encourage conversations with professional agencies specializing in services for people with disabilities, and much more.
Students with Special needs in these WV Counties are invited to attend the Transition Committee of the Mid-Ohio Valley Resource Event on March 23rd, 2017:
Wirt & Wood
Students with special needs from Belpre, OH and Marietta, OH have been invited as well.
The following week, students in Mason County with special needs will be attending the first ever Transition Event planned for them on March 30, 2017. Mason County Schools feels the need for active transition planning and approached a group of experienced professionals to assist them in planning the most effective transition event for their students last summer. Resources provided to students with special needs in Mason county include break-out sessions to discuss: Self-Advocacy, Employment Interests, Interviewing skills, a "Dress for Success" Interview wear fashion show, and an Employer panel to address any questions the students may have for potential employers.
Jackson & Roane County schools have an event each fall for students with special needs and their transition planning. This event is typically in October at Cedar Lakes in Ripley, WV.
The most important contacts the students and their guardians can make is with the school counselors and the WV Division of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS). The WVDRS has counselors posted in high schools for the purpose of assisting students with special needs through the transition from schools to work.
This Spring, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation has supported the transportation
costs for more rural counties to come to the Transition Event in Parkersburg on March 23rd. We are grateful beyond words for their support!
Many donations and volunteer hours are put in to the planning of these events. If you know someone who would benefit from attending please email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to get the young adult to the transition event closest to them.
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