TRANSITION FROM SCHOOL TO ADULT LIFE
A statewide all-day conference for parents
SATURDAY, November 4, 2017
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester
Michael Wehmeyer, Ph.D
Self-Determination: A Family Affair
Families are the most important support a young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, needs to become a self-determined young people. This keynote session will explore the family’s role in ensuring positive transition outcomes by supporting a young person’s self-determination. The session will explore what is meant by self-determination and how self-determination applies to all youth and young adults, including youth and young adults with more extensive support needs. The session will also look at the important role of the family movement in creating and sustaining the ‘self-determination movement”.
Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D. is the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor in Special Education and Director of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas. Dr. Wehmeyer has written and presented extensively about issues pertaining to self-determination and the application of positive psychology to the disability context. He is a fellow and past-president of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 33 on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and past-president of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition. He recently received the American Psychological Association Distinguished Contributions to the Advancement of Disability Issues in Psychology Award and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Award. From 1990 to 1999 he was with The Arc of the United States and directed the Bill Sackter Center on Self-Determination there, and in 2013 received The Arc of the United States Distinguished Research Award.
SESSION I : 10:45-12:00 PM
A-1 Secondary Transition 101: What Families Need to Know
Amanda Green, Secondary Transition Coordinator
Martha Daigle, Family Engagement Coordinator
MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
This presentation will offer essential information about the secondary transition process, including the importance of student vision and self-determination, laws and regulations, transition assessment, the use of the Transition Planning Form (TPF) and IEP, and whole school/community approaches. Emphasis will be placed on the key role of families during transition.
A-2 Students with Social Emotional Disorders can Successfully Transition to Adulthood and Services!
Kim Clougherty, Director of Community Services Central Office, Department of Mental Health
Carly Sebastian, LICSW DMH Director of Child/Adolescent Services Central MA Area
Stacey Villani, M.Ed., Program Director, Autism ABA Program, Northeast Arc.
Transition age individuals might need more specialized clinical intervention such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy as one method of intervention. Although Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) itself is not considered a mental health disorder, research has shown that some individuals with ASD can be at risk for experiencing co-occurring diagnoses that fall under the Mental Health umbrella. Learn about how ABA can be helpful in the transition process. Also learn about the types of diagnosis and how services are accessed through the Department of Mental health and the 688 process.
This workshop will teach participants to identify when supports are needed during transition between adolescence and adulthood, finding those resources and navigating services for the young adult and their families.
A-3 Thinking About Housing
Catherine Boyle, M.A., C.G.S., President, Autism Housing Pathways
“Thinking about housing” introduces families to the range of public funds available to pay for housing and supportive services (including for people without DDS supports). Some examples are given of how public funds and services can be combined with private funds to create housing.
A-4 Department of Developmental Services 101: What You Need to Know About Services
Ingrid Flory, Director of Family Support, Sue Banks, Director of Community Systems, Pamela Hickey, Self-Directed Supports Manager, Central/West Region, DDS
This is an opportunity for families to learn from a team of Regional managers from the Department of Developmental Services as they provide answers to frequently asked questions, such as:
• When should we apply for adult eligibility?
• What services may be available to my family member before and after s/he finishes high school?
• What is a waiver and why is it important?
• How can Self Direction apply to my family member?
A-5 Understanding Federal and State Government Benefits
Theresa Varnet, MSW, Esq., Fletcher Tilton
What do Federal and State benefits have to do with services as an adult? A LOT! One of the primary goals of estate planning is to assure that the family member with a disability remains qualified for the available federal and state benefit programs which fund numerous programs and services. Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), Medicare, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other needs based and sliding scale fee benefits are critical and often more valuable to the individual than an inheritance s/he receives from an improperly drafted estate plan. Learn about the impact of potential changes in the state and federal government and how to use ABLE (Achieving a Better Life) accounts to protect benefits.
A-6 How Schools Work with Adult Services in the Transition Process
Presenter Panel- Jennifer Stewart, MRC Facilitator, Jerri Roach, Transition Specialist, and Transition Team members
The Worcester Public Schools Transition Team will present how their school system partners with adult service agencies (such as MRC, DDS, DMH) and families to plan and provide supports that help students prepare for life after high school. The presentation will highlight how schools connect students to the appropriate services, collaborate with adult services to share service delivery and costs, and continually work together to ensure a student’s plan evolves with their vision. Some examples of shared work among schools and agencies focus on helping students to develop self-advocacy skills, explore careers, provide training opportunities, and connect with the appropriate community resources. The workshop will include a dynamic panel presentation who will discuss how they all work together during the high school years to plan and provide secondary transition services.
A-7 Planning for an Enviable Life, and Setting the Stage for Your Adult on the Spectrum
Sue Loring, Director of The Autism Support Center of Central Massachusetts, HMEA
Maura Sullivan, The Arc of Massachusetts/Autism Commission Transition Subcommittee
The transition to adulthood can be a challenge for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families. Come hear some tips that will make that transition a little bit easier and give your child a safety net for the future. Maura Sullivan will provide an overview of what the Autism Commission is considering as best practice.
A-8 Transitioning Individuals with Multiple, Complex Medical Needs to Adult Care
Suzanne Gottlieb M.Ed, Department of Public Health
Lisa Jennings, Parent
Monica Jennings, Self Advocate
Kitty O’Hare, M.D, Children’s Hospital
This workshop will provide an understanding of the transition to adult health care and health related self-management. Learn the framework for navigating adult care systems and developing communication strategies that will help your young adult participate in their health care. Fill your toolbox with a library of tools that will help youth and their families share information with adult service providers.
A-9 An Overview of Transition (Spanish language session)
Tere Ramos, Attorney
Children in MA receiving special education services begin transition services at age 14. Transition is an ongoing process of determining a student’s needs, preferences, and interests as they relate to the demands of current and post-secondary settings such as work, home, school, and social environments. This workshop will explain the legal requirements for school districts to ensure student successful transition including meeting adult needs for further education, employment, and full participation in the community.
SESSION II: 1:15-2:30
B-1 Conversation with the Keynote Speaker
Michael Wehmeyer, PhD
Continue the conversation with our keynote speaker on how to put self-determination into practice. Learn strategies young adults and families can utilize to increase the choice on their journey to adulthood.
B-2 Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) Services for Students and Youth
Jennifer Stewart, MPP, Statewide Transition Director
Magdalene Malkowski, QVRC from the Worcester Vocational Rehabilitation office
Anna Hermann, Independent Living Supervisor
This presentation will provide an overview of vocational rehabilitation services, pre-employment transition services, and community living supports that students and youth can access through MRC. Presenters will outline the referral process, service plan development, and how MRC and schools work together to serve students 16-22 years old. How to access services after school will also be explained.
B-3 Getting To Know You: Transition Assessment as Key to Planning a Future
Lisa Fournier, M.Ed., South Coast Educational Collaborative
Elana Varney, M.S., C.R.C., King Phillip Regional High school
Transition Assessment is an ongoing process of determining a student’s needs, preferences, and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future settings such as work, home, school, and social environments. This presentation will provide an overview of the transition assessment process and the laws that shape it. Examples of assessment tools will be shared. Strategies will be provided to empower families to work collaboratively with their child’s team throughout the assessment process.
B-4 Autonomy, Supported Decision Making and Guardianship
Hillary J. Dunn, Esq., Disability Law Center
When an individual turns 18 years old, he or she is presumed to have the capacity to make informed decisions, including legal, educational, financial and health care decisions. In some situations, an individual with a disability may need assistance with making decisions. It is important to understand the array of available options to assist with decision-making. This session will discuss the legal implications of turning 18, the guardianship standard in MA, the impact of guardianship on self-determination, and several alternatives to guardianship, including Supported Decision Making.
B-5 Pathways to Employment
Margaret Van Gelder, Director of Family and Employment Support , Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Ann Bersani, Parent, Brendan Durkin, Self –Advocate, Herb Cabral, Parent, joe Cabral, Self-Advocate
Massachusetts was recently awarded funding for Partnerships in Employment, a national transition systems change project whose purpose is to identify, develop, and promote policies and practices to improve transition, post-secondary and competitive employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Employment is an important part of life for most people. This session will highlight the importance of helping students explore their interests, identify career goals, the range of experiences that may lead to meaningful employment, and how to work collaboratively on the road to employment. Learn from the panel of real life experts strategies families and students used to find employment.
B-6 Using Assistive Technology to Enhance Community Living and Work Experiences
Kevin Berner, OTD, OTR/L, ATP, Easter Seals
MaryEllen MacRae, Director of Transition and Employment Services, Easter Seals
Assistive technology (AT) can be a lifeline for youth with disabilities seeking independence in daily living and work. This presentation describes how to structure appropriate AT assessments, integrating AT into independent living and workplace environments using community-based activities, and will also review high tech and mainstream AT solutions.
B-7. Self-Directed Supports: Taking Control of Your Future
Edward Wilson, DDS Regional Manager of Self- Directed Services Southeast Region
Individuals and their families can determine their vision and strive to achieve it by creating their own individualized and flexible services. This presentation will provide an overview of Self-Directed services as well as traditional service options. Jena Shea, whose son receives Agency with Choice services, and Andi Lunden, whose daughter is enrolled in the Participant Directed Program, will share the innovative ways in which their adult children have taken control of their services and are living ordinary lives filled with purpose and meaning.
B-8. Transition from School to Adult Life: Using the IEP to Create Success
Johanne Pino, Mass. Advocates for Children
This workshop will address the transition planning and services required for youth with disabilities ages 14-22. The training will focus on transition special education services (which prepare youth for employment, independent living and further education), planning for services students may require when they exit special education, as well as transition to the adult human service system. Through the use of case examples, parents and professionals will learn strategies that may help students receive important transition services mandated by special education laws. Parents and professionals will also gain an understanding of Chapter 688.
B-9 Writing Transition IEP’s for Success (Spanish language session)
Tere Ramos, Attorney
An IEP is the most important element of a child’s special education program. There is no effective progress without an effective IEP. IEPs for students 14-22 must include elements from the Transition Planning Form for the young adult to move seamlessly into adulthood. While there are many ways to write an IEP, it is important to understand the document and all of its components in order to write it well and make sure the Team is working on transition goals in the most effective way. This session will focus on learning how to develop an IEP for students in the transition process in a manner that is legally correct and educationally meaningful.
SESSION III: 2:45-4:00 PM
C -1 Relationships and Sexuality – A Panel Discussion
Rebecca Barry and Mary Ellen Goodwin, SAFE
Tom Miller, North Shore Consortium
Paula Thompson, EMARC
Sexuality and relationships are part of adulthood. Come learn ways to make this fuzzy area of life more concrete for your family members. Each presenter will discuss what they have learned from their experience providing relationship and sexuality education. Find out what youth and young adults want to know and how to provide the answers!
C-2 Give College a Try! A Panel Presentation
Debra Hart, PhD, Institute for Community Inclusion
Nancy Sleger, Middlesex Community College Transition Program Coordinator
Glenn Gabbard, Ed.D., Coordinator, Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Program
Michael Sweeney, Former Student, Bridgewater State University
Theola Sweeney, Parent
Is college a viable option for students with intellectual/developmental disabilities? Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability. The Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment (MAICE) and Transition Program at Middlesex Community College are examples of the success students with intellectual disabilities can have in college. This presentation will explore opportunities and resources that can help families plan for a college education.
C-3 My Self-Determined Life: 18-22 Program Panel with Individuals & Professionals
Sherry Elander, M.Ed, Transition Specialist, Westfield Public School, Jerri Roach, Transition Specialist, Worcester Public Schools, and Emily Berheide OTR/L, Transition Program Consultant
Individuals and transition professionals will discuss transition programs and the different paths available to those aged 18-22. Please join our panel of individuals and professionals as they describe the journey of transitioning from the school model into the adult service model and beyond. This session should be of interest to students, caregivers, professionals and community members. It takes a village!
C-4 Let’s talk about the $$! What can I do today to plan for my future and my child’s future?
John Nadworny, CFP and Alexandria M. Nadworny, CFP, Shepherd Financial Partners
Representative from Fidelity Investments
It is becoming more and more difficult to secure the government funding needed to pay for the supports your child will need for his or her lifetime. Planning for both your own personal needs and your child’s lifetime needs can be overwhelming. Where will the money come from? Presenters will explore various considerations and strategies available to creatively finance your child’s future, your own, and your other children. This workshop is based on personal and professional expertise shared from the author of The Special Needs Planning Guide: How to Prepare for Every Stage of Your Child’s Life.
A representative from Fidelity Investments will explain how ABLE (Achieving a Better Life) can be part of a comprehensive plan.
C-5 Can they Live and Work on their Own?
Kathy Kelly, MPA, Transition Specialist
Scott Borchardt, Margo Mullane, PricewaterhouseCoopers ( PwC)
This workshop will help participants identify skills needed for independent living. We will identify strategies to address each skill area, develop a list of resources, and make connections with other families going through the same experience. Come and share your experience and learn new ideas!
What about financial literacy for the kids? Representatives from PwC will discuss financial literacy for individuals with disabilities. The discussion will focus on how these skills contribute to long term independence and dignity. We will explain the role that saving, budgeting, purchase decisions, and financial safety play in the lives of individuals with disabilities.
C-6 Making Friends at School: Connecting Students with and without Disabilities
Jim Ross and Mary Ann Brennan, Widening the Circle, a partnership between the MA Dept. of Developmental Services and The Arc of Massachusetts
Zachary Rosetti , Assistant Professor, Boston University
School is where we often first begin the “dance” that can result in friendships. This dance is more difficult for some than for others, including many students with disabilities. It is up to all of us—teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, and fellow students—to be sure that no one is left out. Friendships are too important to be ignored. And friendships between and among students with and without disabilities benefit EVERYONE!
C-7 But how do I get there? Transportation Options in Massachusetts
Jenna Henning, Mobility Coordinator, MassMobility, Mark Whitehouse, Adaptive Driving Program Inc , and Linda Shepard Salzer, MBTA Travel Training Program
MassMobility is a statewide initiative to increase mobility for older adults, people with disabilities, veterans and others who lack access to transportation and the resources it can offer. Learn about innovative community approaches to transportation, including partnerships with Uber and Lyft.
This workshop will also explore travel training programs through the MBTA and how to determine whether or not your young adult may obtain a driver’s license.
C-8 Don’t forget to plan to have fun! – Recreation Panel
Joe Desjardins, Recreation Director, EMARC
Chenine Peloquin M.A., CTRS, Director Project Access, Boston
Patrick Remy, Youth Services Coordinator, Easter Seals
Recreation is part of a meaningful life for all. At this panel discussion, learn about the various types of programs throughout the state. There are a wide variety of inclusive activities and specialized programs. Make friends and demonstrate abilities different than home, school, or work! This panel will convey ideas to help your teen or young adult identify recreation activities they might like.
Thank you to our sponsors!