Jodee: [00:00:08] And we are looking at the collaborative process between secondary special ed teachers and transitioning and transition specialists when transitioning students with autism spectrum disorder or other disabilities from secondary to higher. OK so the first question is is describe the condition process as you understand it from the guidelines of the secondary transition plan.
Sped4: [00:00:52] OK. So first thing is a series of assessments that are appropriate for assessing it can include you know obviously interviewing the teacher not not the teacher the student and then sometimes parents are involved in that process. Then there's other batteries of tests. Things like the couter doing AZCIS things other interests inventories and things of that nature to get that. Looking at transcripts students grades grade reports in those things and taking those all that data and that assessment information and looking at that.That's my understanding and interpretation and kind of what I do.
Jodee: [00:01:46] So you know it's the responsibility of the secondary teacher special ed teacher as the case manager to interview the students. And you know one of the big pieces that we look at is the age appropriate goals. You know if you've got a student who is who is autistic academically They're very bright. They can do the work but they have absolutely zero social skills. And they want you maybe studied to be. They want to go into broadcast journalism or something along those lines. So it's like having you determined you know is it like a collaborative effort. You determine and work with the other person you know because sometimes you have to be that person and say yes might not be the best fit for you. How does that kind of playing into things.
Sped4: [00:02:51] I don't know like I don't mind doing that or being the one.
Sped4: [00:02:58] I haven't run into that exact situation but I have other situations where students wanted to go straight to university from high school and just had these visions of grandeur. But their GPA would not allow for that or they had other deficiencies and things of that nature. And so it's just it's sometimes it's like literally printing out the requirement and showing them just saying you know these aren't going to work. It's not a possibility. However it doesn't mean that you can't go on to higher education. And just providing them alternative routes like one if there is enough time if there for example is there a sophomore or a junior. You know we look at like Well is there enough time to get rid of these deficiencies. Can you take some of these courses. Can you do that to get your GPA up to get rid of the deficiencies et cetera. Is that feasible. Is that feasible with money or mom is mom and dad going to pay for that you know. And is there enough time or looking. OK well if that's not an option then community college is not necessarily a bad thing to do it right. When did you first get your lower level and what kind of pump would that. And look at what are the requirements for insurance for that.
Jodee: [00:05:27] Is there any part of the secondary transition plan that could facilitate collaboration.
Sped4: [00:05:27] I mean It literally does another resource that I have on the east side is EVIT. So I know that's not necessarily university or but it's a post-secondary training and we do work with that and then we work with the people at EVIT and we get the students and we have them tour. We have them try out different programs and so it yeah that's not not that's what we do you know based on that we look at you know what things we offer on campus as far as elective classes that they can take that would be geared towards it. We look at that and then try and get as many of our kids to that are interested in a program like that that have the ability you know help to make sure that they get it and get the connections.
Jodee: [00:06:28] So can you describe the successful student transition that you facilitated. No it goes back to that secondary to a special ed teacher is responsible for making sure that the transition plan is filled out and then if I go over that course for four years you have them in high school.
Sped4: [00:06:50] OK so then yeah I mean I have more and I feel like a lot of my students have been successful. So when that comes to mind I kind of wordsmith because I haven't been at the school for very long. It's only my fourth year there so haven't followed a student but I got a kiddo as a sophomore my first year so followed him through and he was very interested at first started out he wanted to be a NASCAR driver. And you know we look at that tried to you know look at what resources and what things we had related to that we started realizing and talking and collaborating with parents like they had looked into there are some schools some driving schools but it was cost prohibited out-of-state et cetera. And so it's just sort of channeling him with his focus. But in a different route I looked at and that's where we connected with it man programs there had him tour there. He started getting into the auto detailing allow that but found that through a course and there there's some doubt that he was doing that. He really likes coming up with the estimates for that and liked that more than actually doing the body work. And so he kept up with that learn how to do the bodywork learn how to figure out did that estimating gut on with an insurance company a local insurance company and was doing some work for them and sort of Fortunately got taken under the wing of an estimator there and so was getting answers. And he's he's still doing the physical body work for him since graduated high school. That was last year.
Sped4: [00:08:55] And so this year I happened to meet up with His parents in chitchatted So I got this check on how he's doing. And so he's working for the insurance company. He is still doing the body work but he's learning the trade of doing because the estimator. And so hopefully we'll do that. But he's hired on full time so useful and I know that's a good example.
Jodee: [00:09:23] That's a great example. It kind of leads into my next question but I think you really already covered that and the differences in your experiences when you did a vocational transition versus one to higher ed. Do you see differences between doing those two different types of transition?
Sped4: [00:10:01] Where I see the difference is their elective class choice those that are going and are more college like they want a career that you need a degree for as opposed to vocational training for especially those that aspire to go right to university. They tend to take well there they have to take their foreign languages. So they're taking their two years of their foreign languages their elective classes or fine arts. Oftentimes their additional math or science courses depending where students that are more vocationally geared and that's their focus and that they tend to take electives that are. More geared to their specific interests. As opposed to the necessities for admission to university. And. I don't know what's better what's worse. I mean the preference of the kids that is really nice and really great to see the kids that have a passion for something can take those classes and really. Find themselves or find out that they don't like that at all and it's not anything of what they thought and change their mind while they're still in high school before they've spent all kinds of money.
Jodee: [00:11:29] That was Going to be paired with with my next question because you know a lot of four year university student disability services which is great. But. You know and sometimes you get these kids you're like no I just want to go to a university. But that may not be the best. Setting for them. How do you shift them toward going toward community college because I know I always appreciated when a teacher of mine said you should go to community college for less money.
Sped4: [00:12:00] You know I do. I recommend that. I know I personally chose that route for the financial and other reasons. And. You know I tell them I'm like hey I'm proof like I have a degree I have a Master's but I decided not to spend as much money and just do my four. You know it's possible like I'm proof right. And so you know all is not lost just because you're not in the top 15 percent of your class and you can't walk on with a scholarship like that and still do it your dreams are still achievable.
Jodee: [00:12:40] So can you really talk about some of the strategies that you use to help each other. Remember I talked about that transition strategy in terms of. Working with the president is special ed you can see that. They might be struggling with a student as they're trying to help them do a transition process. So during that collaboration piece what does that collaboration look like. How would you Help someone to work through that.
Sped4: [00:13:13] I feel very spoiled because we have a great transition spelled specialist on our campus so. I'm sure not everybody. Has that same situation or can have that same kind of relationship.
Sped4: [00:13:34] I don't know that I have a great answer for you other than I can say there have been times where. I'm. You know sort of breaking the news to the kid and it's like well do you want to do I want to do you know. Who's going to do it. She tends to be that person honestly that makes more of the phone calls and more of the connections and runs the tours for some of those vocational training things which is nice it takes that offers me. And she'll do a lot of that coordination. So I don't have as much of that heartache or a headache. But. So I I really I can't unfortunately think of a good example of that.
Sped4: [00:14:30] It's just that you are able to communicate and collaborate together and work together and you can you you see that. OK we're going to provide the support services because that's going to help the student get where they need to be. And so it could be just heading things off at the pass before it gets to the point.
Jodee: [00:14:56] What do you think makes the collaborative process so successful. When you're when you're collaborating with your with your transition specialist. What do you think about that collaboration makes it makes it so successful?
Sped4: [00:15:14] Yeah. Well one. I mean honestly it's her personality obviously she's you know she's a person that's very easy to talk to. She's very knowledgeable. She's passionate. On the personal side I feel the reason she is as she herself has a daughter with Down's syndrome. And so I think she she knows that she lives at her. Her daughter will be graduating this year not the first time she. She knows it from both sides. And I think that's why she's so passionate and so good at it. I would say honestly if like. Going into another school another it's Personality if you don't if you're a transition specialist and or special ed teacher don't have the personality and the wherewithal to to collaborate and to put. Personal differences aside and focus on the student then it's not going to work no matter what.
Jodee: [00:16:24] So it is kind of an unusual question but it's certainly noteworthy to bring up and and. Was there ever a time during a transition. Meeting or working or collaborating with with someone else when you felt competitive.
Sped4: [00:16:48] Trying to think. I think the only times that there's been people not on the same page is honestly parents when the parents aren't necessarily on the same page as their students. As far as myself the transition specialists I read were on the kids side. I mean I will be honest to them if what they're looking for is not. Realistic but sometimes even if what they are. You know maybe the parents have a different idea. I have a current student right now that desperately wants to go right to university. He's pretty well set up to be asked to do that right now. But parents don't feel that he should they want and too many cause for so I don't know what ends. Or the parents. So that that's been more of the struggle not necessarily within team members that I work with.
Sped4: [00:18:47] Yeah I just have another one I can't believe I forgot about a this one. He didn't know he was the Poor little lost soul wasn't sure what he wanted to do. Thought he wanted to be physical therapy or working in sports med tried some of those elective classes and since got kind of turned on to radiology wanted to do something with that. That was what our transition specialists did in a past life. He was able to really give them some good information. He's a senior now but he's already enrolled in a program and it has a wait list. And so he'll he's kind of like on the waitlist while he's doing his senior year. And in addition there were a prerequisite he needed for that that we offered as elective classes here on campus. So he's taking those extra elective classes on campus as dual enrollment. And so he's getting the credits and the Prereq's done. So then when he graduates in May he's going to be able to transition into the fall.
Jodee: [00:19:54] Let's say you've got a kid kind of going back to what I talked about for the sake of a kid that's lacking great social skills. How do you prepare them? Like working collaboratively like what would be some of the things you could do with the transition specialists to work to get back to where they need to be because that's a hard thing you know teaching self advocacy and all of that kind of stuff. So what could be some things that you can do. You've got kids who are covered under IDEA and K-12 and then all of a sudden ADA. How do you help them work toward their goals?
Sped4: [00:21:15] Obviously they would have goals and or IEP that would be geared towards that with the self-advocacy and things like that. If a student qualified for speech or speech services and I'm thinking somebody with like really bad social skills may it might be likely that they age some social pragmatics skills groups or something. Obviously than the speech path would work and be involved in that in getting that that is actually occurring with my kiddo that wants to go right to university. But parents want him to go to community college and it's because he is socially awkward although he's great cognitively and academically his skills are really good. And so the speech path is working with him in groups and doing in social settings within the school. And we have goals written that are geared towards that and how he will work on that and improve his social skills with them in the classroom and collaborating working with others.
Sped4: [00:22:27] I fortunately haven't been Blessed with a case more severe than that. So I don't know. I think we would just look at all of those things. I don't know. I don't personally know of any other resources other than just like I said working and the teachers in the class room teachers doing their part to write and work on goals to improve social skills. Obviously you've got to have parent buy in and have them helping at home too.
Jodee: [00:23:15] How would you determine the strategies when collaborating with the transition specialists and best for the kids? I think you know kind of tied that back to their goals. So if you're going to if you're going to teach them. You know and they keep going back to this IDEA versus ADA.
Sped4: [00:23:51] I have learned and it's why we will steer kids towards a community college versus a university sometimes is the Community colleges tend to. Provide more and be almost almost as safe and comfortable as high school. And so for students that are in more need of services their students that tend to have more accommodations and modifications on their current IEP but yet could still continue on to higher education and be successful. Those are ones that we would. We work together and talk about and talk up the additional services and help them get registered and find their the office of service.
Sped4: [00:24:50] And you know do that and part of it like we make them prove to us that they've gone with their parent. And even though you know we tell them Mom Dad like sorry they're only going to talk to your kid. However go with them make sure and come back show us registered get you a lot of our goals for some of things. They have to register and get their student ID number show it to us. They need to take their active placer.
Jodee: [00:25:25] Can you describe the support process. During the transition of a student. With ASD or with learning disabilities. Anything like that going on higher ed. So what is the process like?
Sped4: [00:25:51] Well it's the whole long process you know like from the beginning from the time they're freshmen and they come to us and intervene. What do you want and every year we really do do that interview again. When I do the progress or every quarter during their progress reports or especially towards their transition goes hey is this still what you want to do. I've had kids in the four years every year it's an entirely different career choice. I've had to re-do the plan from beginning to end. Every single time. You know it's all right. I'm like well try and find yourself now in high school before college and you're paying too much.
Sped4: [00:26:38] But go through that like I said then it's just it's individualized to that kids that we keep up with them. We help them. If it's if it they want vocational training we ensure that they they actually enroll in it are attending it are doing it though the vocational training people are invited to their meetings. If that's not what they choose and they choose either the college route whether the university or community college you know like proof of registration like this. This is the step not step and the goals are scaffolding working up to that. So I guess that's the support process and there's always myself and the transition specialist. We invite our counselors to our meetings as well. So they're checking transcripts and grades are you on track. OK you want University. They're the ones that are helping because they kind of know exactly what universities are looking for. So they're sort of their expert for that. So I mean I'm learning a lot. What are some things I don't always know the answer to but they do. And then our transition specialists and she knows other stuff like I said she tends to be the one that actually makes the phone calls the connections et cetera with the vocational training schools and those kind of things and set up tours. So then she's there to help with that. The kids get to know all of us and just how they have of us as resources.
Jodee: [00:28:38] I'm going to go ahead and stop the recording because you OK you answered the questions