At this time in your life, you are looking forward to getting out of school, but the fact of the matter is that what happens to you in school impacts the rest of your life. Take advantage of the opportunities and resources that are offered during your school years to plan what you want for the future. You can do this by recognizing that one of your most important tasks is to determine what you want your future to be and to think about what questions you have about how to get to your goal. Then you should take these questions to your IEP Team to help you create your plan.
Nevada University System and campus Disability Support Services can be accessed by:
- University of Nevada, Reno
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- Truckee Meadows Community College
- College of Southern Nevada
- Great Basin Community College
- Nevada State College
- Touro University
So I Am Thinking About Going To College, Now What?
One option to think about when finishing high school is whether you are going to a two-year, or four-year college. However, it is important to know that services, supports, and academic demands are different in college from special education services in high school
What Are The Differences Between High School Special Education And College?
- Colleges only need to make sure that you can access the information or the learning environment. Colleges do not have to change academic requirements, or course content, to allow all students with disabilities to take part.
- Grades and class assignments are not negotiable.
Access to course information and materials may be provided in the following ways.
- ‘Academic adjustments’– which might include having extra time on exams, or having fewer required classes within a semester.
- ‘Auxiliary aids’– strategies that ensure everyone has access to the information. These may be having a note taker, having an interpreter for someone who is deaf, or providing e-text and other services for blind/low vision students.
What Can I Do In High School To Prepare Me For College?
The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is crucial to the transition process and there are specific Transition Plan forms that should be completed with the IEP Team. The School Counselors, Special Education Teachers, and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors are important to this planning process.
Each high school has a contact assigned to helping with transition planning, and each school also has a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor assigned to it.
Your Individualized Education Program (IEP) team can help you prepare to successfully transition from high school to college by doing the following:
- Help you build the skills you will need at college.
- Help you find out what accommodations and technology are typically used in college, and help you become familiar with them.
- Help you and your family learn what your civil rights are by going through the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- Teach you learning skills related to self-determination. Self-determination is knowing and doing what is right for you. Skills that you and your teachers can focus on to help develop self-determination are:
- Self awareness and advocacy.
What are my strengths, challenges, and preferences, and how do I get my needs met?
- Choice making and decision making.
What are my options, which match my need, and who do I tell?
- Goal setting and attainment.
What do I want to accomplish and how do I do it?
- Problem-solving and evaluation.
What should I do about this? How do I do it? How do I know it worked?
- Self awareness and advocacy.
The majority of your adult life will be spent in the work setting. Employment brings with it financial independence and self-esteem for the accomplishments completed. The decisions that you make during your time of transition from high school to the adult world will have an impact on your life for years to come. The following is some information about education and types of employment that are available to you in Nevada.
Career exploration activities are used to help you explore your interests, what you like to do, and your aptitudes or abilities that come natural to you. Knowing this information about yourself will help you to select a career that is compatible with who you are. When you make a good career choice, you are more likely to experience success within your career.
There are different types of career assessments. One type is a Vocational Evaluation. This is an evaluation where you have the opportunity to explore your interests and abilities through pen and paper inventories and work samples, which are mock workstations that explore a variety of abilities. For example, one station helps you to evaluate your eye-hand-foot coordination, which is important if you are interested in becoming an airline pilot.
Another type of career assessment is a Work Experience wherein you have the opportunity to actually try out a job and get paid while doing it! A Work Experience gives you a chance to explore your work quality (how well you do the job) and your work speed (how fast you do a job) on an actual work crew. It also helps you to evaluate your work behaviors. Examples of work behaviors include your ability to get to work on time, how well you get along with others, how well you are able to take instruction from your supervisor, as well as other things. Work Experiences usually last about one month. During that time, you have the constant support of a coach/supervisor to help you learn skills and improve your performance.
There are also computerized career exploration activities that help you explore your career interests and abilities online. The activities can be conducted independently.
Your high school guidance teacher or Vocational Rehabilitation counselor can help you decide which career exploration activities are best for you. Learn more at Nevada Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
To be competitively employed means that a person is able to perform the essential functions of a job, and that he/she is earning the same wage as all others doing the same type of work. Qualified workers with disabilities should earn the same as qualified workers without disabilities. Said another way, a competitive employee is one who is able to compete with other qualified job candidates for employment.
When a person is self-employed, he/she works for him/herself. To be successfully self-employed, a person must be able to perform a service or provide a product that is in demand by the public. There are both positive and negative aspects of self-employment. Some positive aspects of self-employment include flexible hours and independence. Some negative aspects include unpredictable pay, providing your own benefits (health care and other benefits), and long hours.
Supported and Extended Employment
In the Extended Employment program, a job coach will check with the worker and/or his/her employer a minimum of two times per month to ensure the job is going well. If needed, the job coach will provide additional training assistance. In summary, the Supported and Extended Employment programs work together. The Supported Employment program helps workers with disabilities to get jobs, and the Extended Employment program helps them keep their jobs.
Why do I need to think about my health?
Keeping your mind and body healthy is a big and very important adult responsibility. You will feel more alive and energetic, look better, think more clearly, and live longer if you pay attention to your mental and physical health.
What does being healthy mean?
One definition of health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Really, being healthy means something different for each and every person. What is healthy and good for you might not be good for me. Here are some areas that contribute to your health:
- What you eat
- How much exercise you get
- What you do for fun
- Your medical care
- What your relationships with family and friends are like
- Your work and workplace dynamics
- How you deal with conflict
It is good to take some time to think about what being “healthy” means for you.
Where should I live after I graduate?
Exploring housing options for people with disabilities relies on some creative planning; especially in rural Nevada. Transition age youth will experience house hunting as a challenge with wait lists, age requirements and limited, public dollar funded housing. The main housing options to explore are public funded, versus privately funded and renting versus owning. Living with roommates is an option that may be more affordable by sharing expenses such as rent and utilities. A roommate may also be willing to provide personal care for a discount on their share of the living expenses. Living in an apartment located at a family member’s or a friend’s home may help create independence, while still having help nearby if necessary. Transportation is another thing that needs to be thought about when looking at housing options. Affordable housing is important for a person with a disability in order to lead a self-determined life. Learn more at Nevada Housing Resource Guide.
Why do you need money?
As an adult, you will need money to pay for all kinds of things, including:
- Heat, lights, telephone, television, Internet access
- Health care
- School (college, technical school, night classes, etc.)
- Leisure activities (travel, hobbies, club and team memberships, etc.)
Where do you get money?
There are many different ways you can get money.
- Work at a job
- Be self-employed (have your own business)
- Receive money from your parents, or other family members
- Or, you can apply to receive money or services you would otherwise need money to buy. Different programs and agencies have different requirements you must meet in order to qualify for their help. Call them directly, or check their web sites for more information.
- Apply for financial aid (grants, loans, scholarships) to attend college or a university.
- Apply for a bank or credit union loan (to purchase a home or a car, for example).
- Apply for government benefits and services such as:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – these are monthly cash benefits for people with disabilities who meet certain eligibility requirements. The Social Security Administration website offers information about both SSDI and SSI.
- Case management, residential, employment, transportation and other services for people with developmental disabilities through the State of Nevada Regional Centers
Social and Recreation
One cannot live by education, job searches, and Vocational Rehab alone. In order for one to “Live the Dream” you must also be able to access social and recreational opportunities. In other words you have to get out there and have as much fun as humanly and legally possible. So how do you prevent boredom and loneliness? By staying active, making friends, learning new things, and creating connections with your community. Okay, so how do you start? By asking yourself these questions:
- What do I like to do in my free time?
- What new things would I like to try?
- Where do I like to go?
- Where are new places I’d like to visit?
- Who do I like to spend time with?
- What do I like to buy when I have extra money?
- What do I collect (flashlights, baseball cards, etc.)?
The answers to these questions can give you clues about leisure activities you might enjoy. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable when you first try something new – stick it out for a while because you might just decide you like it!
Here are some ideas of advocacy and activism activities you might consider trying:
Advocacy/Activism – speaking up for your rights and the rights of other people with disabilities
- State links to Advocacy
- People First of Nevada, a self-governing, self-directing, self-advocacy organization.
- National Links to Advocacy
- ADAPT, an organization “fighting so people with disabilities can live in the community with real supports instead of being locked away in nursing homes and other institutions” (from ADAPT web site).
Transportation is a significant aspect of transition planning. Either the purchase of a car for individualized transportation, or learning where and how to utilize public transportation is a key component of any transition plan.