Micki Watkins (left) and Paula Barton (right) stand in front of their booth and the TPC “Get It Done Event”.
EDWARDSVILLE — The room was abuzz with questions and excitement Monday at the second annual Madison County Transition Planning Committee’s (TPC) Get It Done event at the N.O. Nelson Campus.
The Madison County TPC is Illinois’ most active and longest-running transition program. The committee’s mission is to assist transition by promoting understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities by advocating for students and their families, assisting schools and communities in providing services and opportunities, empowering integration in community life, and by facilitating awareness and providing resources during the transition process. The Get it Done Event is one of the many ways the committee helps the community.
Committee Chairperson Paula Barton and Co-Chair Micki Watkins were excited about helping parents and their children prepare for a big event in their lives.
“We want the parents to have a place to be able to get the information they need,” Watkins said. “We are here to help their children become independent.”
Parents can get paperwork filled out on the spot at the event. Most vendors had forms and people with the knowledge to help parents “get it done.”
The event hosted businesses and service providers to get the message out that there are people and resources that can help the families of children with disabilities. Lewis and Clark Community College and the Developmental Disabilities Services of the Metro East were among the vendors.
“We are highly supportive of these events,” LCCC Director of Student Development Kathy Haberer said. “We are always happy to talk to parents and families to show them the services that we offer.”
Lewis and Clark offers a variety of services for students with disabilities; some are not available at other community colleges. Kate Strohmeier of DDS also thought the event was well-organized and she was excited to see many people showing up to get information.
The TPC meets every second Thursday during the school year. The meetings are held in the conference room at the Regional Office of Education, located at the Madison County Administration Building at 157 N. Main St., Suite 428 in Edwardsville. They encourage all families that have children with disabilities to contact them and their meetings are open to the public.
“We want parents to know that it is never too early to start thinking about transition,” Paula said. “If you start planning now, it makes it easier later.”
The event was targeted at high school children, but TPC would like to community to know they can be contacted regarding any questions about the transition with children with disabilities.
Information about TPC is available on Facebook and at their website, http://www.roe41.org/roe-services/transition-program. Micki Watkins can be reached at (618) 296-4643.