Sometimes the hardest part of a challenging situation is not knowing where to start. For individuals and families dealing with special needs, it’s a continuous battle that the Madison County Transition Planning Committee hopes to remedy.
“Planning the future for someone with special needs takes a different mindset,” committee co-chair Micki Watkins said. “The process can be so overwhelming. The committee meets every month looking for services and ways to make transitioning from high school to post-high school smoother for individuals with challenges and their families.”
The group is working in conjunction with Lewis and Clark Community College to host Get It Done Day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, March 14, at the N.O. Nelson Complex, 600 Troy Road in Edwardsville.
The event aims to offer families of children with disabilities an opportunity to meet with service providers. Service representatives will help fill out documentation, enroll in programs and answer questions.
“It’s never too early to start planning ahead,” Watkins said. “This is one place that families can come to gather resources, have questions answered and feel more prepared.
“Sometimes just knowing what to expect can help ease a lot of nerves and confusion,” Watkins said.
The transition program includes the Secondary Transition Experience Program (STEP) as well as information about employment, education and training, housing, transportation, recreation and parent and educator resources.
STEP has two phases. The first is a classroom course in which the student is taught about vocations that are of interest to the student. Job skills are determined and evaluated.
The second is the employment of the student in a field related to the student’s interests and abilities. Job sites may be on a school campus or at a location that offers adequate supervision. Students receive a grade and a credit toward graduation upon completion of STEP.
“This is a great opportunity for families, schools and services to make a first contact,” Watkins said. “We will have 9 of the 10 school districts in Madison County present.”
The event is free; guests are asked to sign in upon arrival. Hours of earned credit are available for educators who attend any guest speaker session. Visit www.roe41.org and click on the transition tab under services for more information or call (618) 296-4643 to reach the group’s office.
The schedule includes:
• Transition services, 4:15 p.m.
• Housing options, 5:15 p.m.
• Employment and training, 6:15 p.m.
• Guardianship and special needs trusts, 7:15 p.m.