If you have a child that is 14 and older and has an IEP, have they been included in the actual IEP meeting? Has your school’s IEP team taken the time to explore career ideas with your child and developed preliminary career plans? Are there specific vocational programs available for your child to apply for and are you aware of the application process and time frames? Has the New Jersey Department of Vocational Rehabilitation been involved in your child’s career transition program?
I asked a lot of questions, but if someone is not asking these questions and you and your child are not involved in a career transition process, what are the chances that your child will develop a career plan that will lead to active employment? Resources for Independent Living (RIL) offer a Self-Advocacy Program to any interested schools in Burlington and Salem Counties. It is designed to prepare students and young adults with disabilities aged 14-21 for their transition from the school setting to adult life. Through activities and discussions focused on self-awareness, self-advocacy, knowledge of disabilities, leadership development, employment skills, goal setting, and future planning, RIL’s (rilnj.org) transition specialist can assist in developing students that are more cognizant of their responsibilities in their transition process.
This free service is available to groups of students or individuals in your school, but your school needs to approve this program. Ask your school if they have a program like this. Specifically, a Youth Transition Specialist, comes to the school to run these activities during a class period or in about 45-60 minute sessions. The program can function on an ongoing basis or in a delineated six week module.