Planning for transition from high school to the adult working world is a thrilling process in life! Graduating from high school is a time of change and involves diverse and complex issues. What will I do after graduation? Where will I work? Where will I live? Where will I go for additional education or training? Where will I meet new friends? These decisions, especially for individuals with a disability, require much thought and planning.
High school transition planning includes exploring post-secondary opportunities and employment options. Sertoma’s School Transition Program provides students, who still need a little help and guidance for their future, with services during or after completion of high school credits. At Sertoma we assist students with developmental disabilities and their families through the often intimidating process of transition. The School Transition Program teaches students transferable skills needed to be self-sufficient in personal, social and vocational areas and can provide linkages to residential services as well.
Students who attend the School Transition (ST) Program are 16-21 years old, have a developmental disability and/or a social or emotional disorder, and demonstrate readiness for vocational skills training. Students attend on either a part-time or full-time basis, depending on their individual needs. The program is funded through the local school district. Door-to- door transportation is provided.
The program consists of skills training in the areas of social skills, financial literacy, recreational and leisure activities, assertiveness, anger management, conflict management, independent living and job readiness. Community integration is a regular component of the program for both social and vocational activities.
Within the School Transition Program is Behavioral Health Services (BHS), which addresses students with emotional and behavioral issues that interfere with transition from school to work. In BHS, students have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for community integration and independence through peer support groups, individual counseling, psychosocial education, personal goal development and behavioral management. These students receive added support necessary to help them achieve success in the work environment and in the community.
Transition for a person with disabilities involves critical steps to ensure eligibility and opens doors for students. Our job is to ensure the student is fully prepared for adulthood. Not only do we help the students with their vocational and interpersonal skills, but we also assist them with preparation for independence and adulthood. This is accomplished by linking them with agencies which will aid in the transition process such as the Social Security Administration, Guardianship, Medicaid, PACE and the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS). The DRS provides the funding for supported and competitive employment services such as those available through Sertoma’s employment program, Insite Training Systems. Securing eligibility in these areas ensures funding for adult services. It is in working hand-in–hand with these agencies that we can be most successful with our students.