“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.