Saturday, July 14, 2012

Transition Toolbox—Self Determination by Beginning with the End in Mind

The JobTIPS Transition Toolbox provides a set of assessment instruments and intervention activities that support self-determination in career planning, job-seeking, and job-keeping skills for students who are either job bound or post-secondary education bound after high school. The focus of the Toolbox is independence in vocational and educational environments.

Given that there are often more priorities in preparing for adulthood than can reasonably be addressed by school staff alone, this task of prioritizing is a challenge for IEP teams that must address transition planning. When all members of the team come together to plan an IEP, one goal is to list the various needs. When prioritizing, it is worthwhile to consider that the school environment is only one environment for learning and applying vocational, residential, and community skills. In looking at the big picture in transition planning, there will be ‘instructional goals’ on which the teaching team will focus to support application of specific targeted skills. There should also be ‘linkage goals,’ targets that other members of the larger support team, including family, friends, volunteer supports and other community support personnel, would address in environments other than the school. The IEP team must determine which priorities should be addressed as instructional goals. The Transition Toolbox will help the instructor to determine those instructional goals, those prioritized skills on which the individual with ASD and his circle of support can build the broad range of skills to have a successful vocational career.

The user is encouraged to use Assessment & Intervention (A&I) as a framework in teaching the skills identified in the curriculum units. Each of the curriculum units provide both a detailed description of possible skills and goals for the student and an adjustable self-assessment instrument to support self-determination in skill development. The strategies (identified in Assessment and Intervention) necessary to build independent skills are multiple and often layered. No single strategy is often sufficiently strong to support independent performance. In addressing specific goals in each curriculum unit, a combination of environmental modification, priming, motivation, visual supports, modeling, prompting, shaping, reinforcement, and programming for generalization is required to build successful independence.

As an instructor working to cultivate the capacity for self-determination within your students as they approach the transition out of high school, where do you begin? You begin with the end in mind. These four units engage you in a systematic instructional process of targeting skills that are essential to your student’s current and future success:

  • Career Planning: This unit describes a range of specific work skills to consider in career development and emphasizes the importance of an experientially-based exploration of vocational interests as a means to support self-assessment.
  • Job-Seeking Skills: This unit describes the range of skills necessary to actually find and get a job.
  • Job-Keeping Skills: This unit addresses the principle challenges of Social Communication, Organization, and Self-Regulation (S.O.S.!) that often impact one’s ability to maintain employment. It describes the range of often challenging work behaviors that can and should be addressed in job exploration and training.
  • Self-Assessment: We strongly encourage you to begin with the Assessment & Intervention Unit (A&I) , as it is the framework in teaching the skills identified in the curriculum units.

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