Transition-Parents Can Make It Happen
Transition, according to various dictionaries, is period of going from one state to another. In this article, “Transition” refers to assisting your “specially abled” son or daughter to step from your protective wing to that state of independence he/she is most capable of obtaining. You have a vision of that. Unlike most, I believe you know your child best.
My first suggestion is getting a copy of Wanda Draper’s book, “ Your Child Is Smarter Than You Think!” The book will give you back your confidence as a parent that you know your child. Wanda is positive about parents and the impression they make on their child(ren). Also, parents better than anyone else know their child (ren).
A starting point is to do what in business is called SWOT-Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis. Using report cards, IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) and what you know about your child a Transition Plan must be formed. Of course don’t forget his/her dreams or expressions with regards to what their vision of a life’s work looks like.
Approach writing a Transition Plan or fleshing out a working plan as a project your boss would require. I would start at least in middle school, if not before. Below are two sites that are free resources that go over many different careers. Does your child like animals but isn’t capable of being a veterinary technician? How about a groomer? Both pay better than minimum wage and deal with being around animals.
Here are the sites with some explanations about the sites themselves:
- www.bls.gov/ooh Which is the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Occupational Handbook site. A few ways to look up occupations are; occupational finder, growth rate, new jobs, occupational groups, and lots more. Check it out. This can help you look at the job market with regard to your son/daughter.
- www.onetonline.org On the site it says, “What is Onet?”
The answer is. “The nation’s primary site of occupational information.” This site is more specific about careers or jobs. Complete listings for you to use your creative juices for ventures you never imagined your son/daughter doing. Use it to research the possibilities. Stretch your muscles matching the abilities to the possibilities.
Two great books to read on Transition and Independence, although geared for autism apply across the board, are:
- “Developing Talents Careers for Individuals with
Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism,” by
- “Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum,” by Lynne Soraya.
Social skills and learning to adjust situations are part of these books. Yet, I am focusing on career aspects and job skills. Temple Grandin explains how to look for chances and places for you and your child/teen/young adult to develop these skills by:
- How to show work pieces.
- Developing/nurturing talents
- Basically have a portfolio of work
Lynne Soraya covers more of how to adjust, interview, and when to reveal disabilities or not. The book covers other areas like living independently; instead of covering careers but contains vital information and resources.
An example I read about was a young adult on the spectrum that had either the subway or bus routes memorized for New York City. It worked into an information resource job. People would call to find out when and what number a specific bus/subway was going.
This is an example of “designer job” development. Basically, it is the idea where a job is developed for a person based on his/her interests. Except where will you find a job like this or how many companies will create jobs based on a specific person’s interests? Some tech companies are doing this but that is a small number. There are a few projects built on this basis working.
Take a lesson from this model to do it yourself for your son/daughter. You can use all the resources you have. Starting with the IEP. Get to know your child. What does he/she want to do? Think outside the box.
Let me go to my son for an example. Love animals? Pet grooming? Veterinary assistant? Pet insurance company? How to prepare them? I know in Oklahoma every county has a 4H club.
I asked our vet if my son, Tanner, could volunteer at her practice. She was extremely nice to allow him to do so for a year. Think of the liability she could incur. I asked and got a yes. Remember if you don’t ask the answer is “No!”
Had I known about the other information earlier I would have had my son volunteer at the zoo, maybe. Field trips to places he had interests in that fit his work ability would have been done in middle school. This would have been done using the books and sites I gave you.
A few things I did do before and during middle school that I am proud of were making sure he could keyboard and type on the computer. I found with help from providers and the schools online typing programs. He started typing on the computer in elementary. We found games as motivation. You-tube offers videos on showing how to do lots of things. I had him take keyboarding in seventh grade instead of eighth grade. Commonly this isn’t offered to special needs children. Working on a computer is almost a must for many jobs. Take the initiative to ask or insist.
Do you think your child can read better than he/she is letting on? Might be embarrassed because he/she can read silently but not out loud?
Microsoft 2010 had what is called a Grade Readability Calculator. This simply means it can approximate the grade level your child is reading on. You can go to add-ons in Microsoft and add it. Then when you perform spell check it will tell you what grade level your material is on. I used this on my son. He was reading about the Karate Kid on Wikipedia. I went to the site cut and pasted. It showed him as eleventh grade sixth month. I put this here in case you have a child like mine. You need to know your child’s abilities.
What are some advantages other than job skills for my son working at the vet? He found out he didn’t like this. There were too many bugs around the animals. This has to do with one of those sensory issues that autistics can’t get over. A lot of people don’t like bugs but can get over it for a job. Tanner is not one of those. We are narrowing down his job choices.
I put my thinking cap on and thought for almost a year. I came up with a few places to call for him to volunteer at if they would agree.
Why volunteer? I think this provides a better chance of getting a yes to obtain job skills. It shows he is willing to let it work into a job. Also, it doesn’t show as a quit on a resume. I may be wrong on these issues but this is my own personal take on the situation.
I will not reveal the place that I found because I don’t want like businesses to be overwhelmed with calls. You must find a fit for your child/teen/young adult.
I found a place where he will start to learn scanning skills (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiO-siPV0Yo). This place has worked with autistics. During the first interview he was deemed to have appropriate conversation skills. This made me smile. He will have personal interaction with a few people. This is opposed to being a carry out for a grocery store where working with the public means interaction with numerous people. Not great for those with autism. A few people are good because they can learn about him and he can them learn about them.
Next he will be on a computer, which is like candy to those with autism. How did I think of this place? I thought about my son. What would work for him and followed the steps I gave you earlier. Next I called. Remember no call is a now but calling is a maybe. I got a couple of no’s before I found this fit that I am sure God intended.
I have a few more resources for you to check out.
- http://assessments.careers.org/ You could use what you know to formulate possible careers for your child. This is only one example. Google job assessment for more options. Check with your state Vocational Rehabilitation Department or go to http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/rsa/index.html.
- Check out www.careeronestep.org There is a wealth of information to glean here.
- There is plenty of information but it would be overdoing it to list all. I offer my cell 405-850-0595. Please text me and put transition in text with either a cell number or email. I will try to help you with resources, brainstorming or just talk. I promise to do my best to help.
- A few other ideas. I am not advocating but trying to be inclusive.
http://www.okcareertech.org/ (Oklahoma only)
(Texas only)For other states I would put career tech and your
state in a Google Search
Might consider the Military if this and only if it fits
****This is not an all-inclusive list
Text me with resources I love updates
- http://www.ngsd.org/ National Gateway to Self
Remember to check out resources. Do assessments of your child’s abilities. Take them on field trips to places that match these criteria. Be willing to make it happen. If you care for your child, you can muster up the energy to ask places.
Volunteering is seen as a positive on resumes and often quitting jobs a negative.Your son/daughter will have a lifetime to work and sustain him/her. Let them use this time to while having the luxury to volunteer to gain job skills.