PACER Center Workshops for Transition to Adulthood

If you’re not already on the mailing list of the PACER Center, you’ll want to know about these two webinars that are coming right up. Both webinars will be live-streamed on the web.

And be sure to stop by to sign up for one of their mailing lists, either for general topics in special education and parenting or for a specific mailing list, like the transition center list! Then, encourage a friend to sign up, too.

Using Technology to Support Executive Function and Focus on the Job

Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
This transition workshop will address assistive technology to support executive function at work. Topics discussed will include managing time, staying organized, completing tasks, and maintaining focus. Demonstrations will include timers, scheduling tools, smart pens, task managers, as well as tools that support focus and well-being on the job.
Live:Web Streaming Availible

Meeting the Financial Challenge: Helping You Ensure Quality of Life for Loved ones with Special Needs

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Guest speaker Emmy Mastel from Prudential Special Needs Solutions, who is the parent of a youth with disabilities, will provide helpful information on what families should consider when planning for future financial and care needs of their son or daughter.
Live:Web Streaming Availible

Social Groups: Interested?

It’s been a while since we held any social groups. The daughter of our leader moved into her own place, and is really enjoying it. So she’s not longing for the group contact right now. But there have been some calls about the group: are we meeting? where? when? who?

The fall is a good time to start new groups. Does someone you know need a no-strings-attached monthly social activity? Maybe you know of a good place in South Lansing for a group to meet. Or maybe you are a teacher who wants to have some opportunities to offer your students.

We could do female only or (gasp!) mixed boys and girls. Participants might have autism or other differences from the average young adult. Parents could arrange to spend time together somewhere near where the meeting happens.

Interested? Leave us a note here. Ask your friends and families of your students or clients. I’d lead a group if we had at least 3 attendees who come most of the time. We’d meet for just an hour and a half, monthly or more often.


Getting and Keeping the First Job — PACER Center Webinar

PACER Center in Minneapolis is a parent information center that presents excellent programs. Lucky for everyone, some of their programs are streamed on the web.

Kids with disabilities who have a paid job in high school are more likely to have paid work after high school. Maybe this is just because someone who will be able to work as an adult can also work as a teen. Or maybe it is because someone helped the teen find a job and the teen found the delights of work: pay and social experiences. Whichever is the case for your favorite teen, here’s a chance to learn about preparing for and keeping a job.

Getting and Keeping the First Job

Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Register at
Competitive employment is the cornerstone of a successful transition to adult living for youth with disabilities. In this workshop, co-presented by Transition Specialists from PACER and Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), youth and parents will learn about preparing for and keeping a job.
Live:Web Streaming Availible

Entrepreneurship with disability

What to do they do, these entrepreneurs who have disabilities? These are the friends we know who are entrepreneurs.

  • A man sells technology and trains new users, as well as consulting on accessibility solutions
  • A young woman buys toys wholesale and sells retail by word of mouth and face to face, as well as helping to build
  • A young man and his wife run a food service operation in a state building in Michigan
  • Some write fiction
  • Some draw

What you need is a product or a service, a way to tell people about it, and your enthusiastic commitment to your idea! Don’t give up. Write and tell us about it. We’ll tell others about you and share your information.

For more, read this article from the UK:

Tell us your story!

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“Not Tommy”: Smart and Safe, Part 2

Read “Not Tommy”: Smart and Safe, Part 1

Katie was visiting Tommy at least once a day most days. Maggie and Katie’s dad worried a little, but didn’t want Katie to worry. After all, this was her first time having her own place away from her parents. Maggie and Jim, Katie’s dad, were also enjoying the time with Katie’s younger siblings. Everyone was breathing a little easier, having some space from each other.

One evening, Katie called, sounding upset. “Mom, he insulted me so much. I mean, he was trying to get me to stay in his apartment when I decided I better leave. He was kissing me and touching me on my bottom and on my breasts and saying silly things.”

“Who?” asked Maggie.

It was Tommy. He’d been drinking, and with his self-control impaired, he decided to try to take advantage of Katie’s somewhat diminished capacity to make decisions. But, when she tried to leave, he hugged her to make her stay. She was determined to leave, and he insulted her by trying to make her stay, Katie said later.

Maggie went over to Katie’s apartment and talked it all out. Maggie knew that whatever else had happened, Tommy had committed assault when he tried to keep her from leaving against her will.

“I even went back up there after I called you, Mom, just to yell at him and tell him he couldn’t do stuff like that and that he insulted me.”

By now, Katie had told her mom a lot of details, and Katie’s mom had called Katie’s dad to tell him the details. They all agreed that Maggie would stay over at Katie’s place, just in case. In the morning, Katie told her story to the management of the apartment complex, who called the police.

Katie was very open with the police officer, who was quite respectful to her. This surprised Maggie, because Katie is naive and seems younger than her 26 years. Still, the officer treated her like an adult. Maggie had a chance to thank him later.

The case was turned over to the prosecutor’s office, who decided not to press charges. Of course, Tommy had his own version of the events.

Grown-up kids have grown-up problems. No parent would wish this situation on a young adult child, but Maggie was reassured that Katie could manage herself in a tight situation, could recognize when it was time to get out, and could communicate clearly when asked to relate what happened. This was just about the best thing Maggie could ask for…no one can protect their kids from every problem, but all parents can help kids learn to speak up for themselves and take charge to leave a bad situation.

Transition services in school: What is required by IDEA law and regulations?

TRANSITION SERVICES [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1401(34)]
Transition Services means a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability designed within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities is based on each student’s needs, taking into account the student’s strengths, preferences and interests, and includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation.

How this might be done for your high school age child with disabilities

Ask that a transition assessment be performed to determine her current strengths, preferences, and interests. Have a discussion of those results at the IEP meeting. The coordinated services mentioned above can be provided by anyone, for instance, several of my daughter’s were provided by us, her parents. Depending on the age of your child, strengths, preferences, and interests should be driving course and program choices. Teachers (and parents and anyone else) can find information at the National Technical Assistance Center for Transition, NTACT. NTACT Website
Some districts choose to use a class setting to do many assessments and career awareness stuff, but that is not a federal requirement! If your child has to miss time with a therapist or specialized instruction because a transition “class” has to fit in the schedule, you probably need to find another solution. These are often classes that waste a lot of time, time that kids with disabilities don’t always have.

READY Tool: Readiness Evaluation of Transition to Adulthood for Deaf-Blind Youth

By Charlotte Cushman 

Ready Tool graphic

READY Tool: Readiness Evaluation of Transition to Adulthood for Deaf-Blind Youth is an online resource from the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB).  It is designed to help transition teams, composed of an individual who is deafblind, parents, and professionals, identify essential activities that should be carried out during the transition process from school to adult life. The completed tool can be used to generate a plan of action and develop goals and objectives for the IEP (Individualized Education Program) and transition plans.

The tool is divided according to age ranges:
  • Prior to age 14
  • Age 14-17
  • Age 18-21
  • Age 22-26

Each section includes the following:

  • Transition Assessment
  • Transition-Related Education Programming
  • Team Collaboration/Team Adjustments

There are links to numerous activities, checklists, and other documents to support teams of students who are deafblind.

A form for recording progress towards best practices is available to download for free in PDF format in each of the sections.

Learn more.


What to do when you meet a sighted person–from Vision Aware

What To Do when You Meet a Sighted Person

People who use their eyes to acquire information about the world are called sighted people or “people who are sighted.” Legal “sight” means any visual acuity greater than 20/200 in the better eye without correction or an angle of vision wider than 20 degrees. Sighted people enjoy rich, full, lives, as they work, play, and raise families. They run businesses, hold public offices, and teach your children.

Sighted people cannot function well in low lighting conditions and are usually helpless in total darkness. Their homes are usually brightly lit at great expense, as are businesses that cater to the sighted consumer.

How Can I Best Communicate with Sighted People?

Sighted people are accustomed to viewing the world in visual terms. This means that in many situations, they will not be able to communicate orally and may resort to pointing or other gesturing. They may also use subtle facial expressions to convey feelings in social situations. Calmly alert the sighted person to his or her surroundings by speaking slowly, in a normal tone of voice. There is no need to raise your voice when addressing a sighted person.

How Do Sighted People Get Around?

People who are sighted may walk or ride public transportation, but most choose to travel long distances by operating their own motor vehicles, usually one passenger to a car. They have gone through many hours of extensive training to learn the rules of the road in order to further their independence. Once that road to freedom has been mastered, sighted people earn a legal classification and a driver’s license, which allows them to operate a private vehicle relatively safely and independently.

How Can I Assist a Sighted Person?

At times, sighted people may need help finding things, especially when operating a motor vehicle. Your advance knowledge of routes and landmarks, particularly bumps in the road, turns, and traffic lights, will assist the “driver” in finding the way quickly and easily. Your knowledge of building layouts can also assist the sighted person in navigating complex shopping malls and offices. Sighted people tend to be very proud and will not ask directly for assistance. Be gentle, yet firm.

How Do Sighted People Read?

Sighted people read via a system called “print.” Print is a series of images drawn in a two-dimensional plane. Because the person who is sighted relies exclusively on visual information, his or her attention span tends to fade quickly when reading long texts. People who are sighted generally have a poorly developed sense of touch. Braille is completely foreign to the sighted person and he or she will take longer to learn the code and be severely limited by his or her existing visual senses.

How Do Sighted People Use Computers?

Computer information is presented to sighted people in a “Graphical User Interface” or GUI. Sighted people often suffer from hand-eye coordination problems. To accommodate this difficulty, people who are sighted use a “mouse,” a handy device that slides along the desk top to save confusing keystrokes. With one button, the sighted person can move around his or her computer screen quickly and easily.

People who are sighted are not accustomed to synthetic speech and may have great difficulty understanding even the clearest synthesizer. Be patient and be prepared to explain many times how your computer equipment works.

How Can I Support a Sighted Person?

People who are sighted do not want your charity. They want to live, work and play alongside you on an equal basis. The best thing you can do to support sighted people in your community is to open yourself to their world. These citizens are vital contributing members of the community, real people with thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams, and a story to tell. Take a sighted person to lunch today!


Time for Transition: Putting the Pieces Together for Parents

There is no charge for this event. Breakfast and lunch are provided.
Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. Sessions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Michigan Library and Historical Center 702 W. Kalamazoo St. Lansing, MI 48909
Learn More and Register Online: Time for Transition
Registration by November 19, 2018
Presented by Michigan Department of Education–Low Incidence Outreach and the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons

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