Sandra Montez has always dreamed about her future: dreamed of being a ballerina, a singer, or a model. Throughout the years, her parents have supported their little girl’s aspirations, encouraging her to dream big. Now that she’s fourteen and a freshman at Phelan Junior/ Senior High School, Sandra’s dream has changed a bit. She’s beginning to think about a career in nursing.
Sandra has a mild intellectual disability. Academically, she reads at the fifth-grade level and is able to understand basic arithmetic. Socially, she has had no difficulty making friends in either her general or special education classes. It comes as quite a surprise to Sandra’s mother, then, when Mr. Hunter, the school counselor, tells her that some of Sandra’s teachers have noticed a change in Sandra’s behavior. Once cheerful and easygoing, they say, Sandra has lately seemed quiet and moody. Mr. Hunter suggests that the three of them meet the next day, so that he and Mrs. Montez can try to find out what is troubling Sandra.
The following morning, Mr. Hunter asks Sandra if she can explain what is bothering her. After hesitating a moment, Sandra says she is dumb and doesn’t want to go to school anymore. With further prompting, she reveals that several girls in her home ec. class laughed at her when she told them that she wanted to be a nurse. “You’ll never be a nurse,” the girls had said. Mrs. Montez is understandably concerned and tries to comfort her daughter. From experience, Mr. Hunter understands the importance of helping Sandra to explore her options as she begins the process of achieving her career goals.
Here is your Challenge.
What is the transition planning process for students with disabilities?
What is the school counselor’s responsibility in the transition planning process?
How can school counselors further promote successful transition planning?