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Beginning the Year Right

As the school year begins, Special Ed Teachers really have their eyes on the end-game for their students in transition. The year or two until students reach adulthood travels by in a flash and teachers need to feel like they've done all they can to prepare their students for life after high school.

Whether or not you use Daily Living Skills or Transition 2 Life, it is important to answer certain questions as you plan a student's transition program. They are:

1. Where will the student be post-secondary school? Will they live on their own? Will they go to school or begin a trade? Will they be in a sheltered community? If a student will live on their own, transition skills might focus on cooking, cleaning and budgeting skills. If they will live in a sheltered community, you may want to focus on social skills and self-regulation.

2. What adult skills is the student interested in? Beginning with their passions is the best way to engage students in their futures. Do they want to make friends but need to learn to budget? Then begin with skills in Becoming Likeable and then move into having the money to socialize (through a good budget) with Paying Bills.

3. How long until the students leaves school? More time allows you to address more topics. If time is short, you may want to decide your priorities with the entire IEP team. If you have a few years, allow the student to begin with his or her interests and move on from there.

If you need them, there are assessment tools with Daily Living Skills that allow you to assess what skills students have or need. They are sold separately or are contained in the Teacher's Manual. Or, of course, you may use your own assessment to plan a student's program.

However you measure, having a clear plan and end-game for your transition program will allow you to get the most for your kids and assure them a prepared future.

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