Secondary Transition: Interagency Collaboration
To successfully transition from school to adulthood, students with disabilities often need supports from a variety of individuals and agencies. These supports vary based on the individual’s post-secondary plans in the areas of employment, education or training, and independent living. The ideal transition is seamless; students exit school with a plan, along with all necessary supports, in place for further education or for employment. Transition coordinators help facilitate a seamless transition by connecting students with disabilities to networks of formal (e.g., programs for people with disabilities) and informal supports (e.g., friends, peers). It is important for a transition coordinator to understand how best to communicate and work with these other entities to establish interagency collaboration. Because students with disabilities have a wide range of abilities and needs, the combination of agencies that participate in the transition process for individual students will vary. No one agency can address the needs of all students; a seamless transition involves shared expertise among participating organizations.
Listen as David Test briefly summarizes the importance of interagency collaboration (time: 1:23).
David Test, PhD
Professor of Special Education
University of North Carolina
Revisit the Challenge: Kayla and Cooper
After the career fair, Kayla met with Ms. Fields and talked about the job possibilities that interested her. Through a partnership with a local animal shelter, Ms. Fields helped Kayla find a summer job. Kayla enjoyed her experience at the animal shelter, so she decided to explore career options related to working with animals. Ms. Fields arranged for Kayla to meet with the VR counselor who will assess Kayla’s strengths and aptitudes related to working with animals and help her narrow her career choices a little more. Kayla also worked over the summer to get better at the household chores identified by personnel at the Center for Independent Living. Kayla still needs to determine whether she will live on her own or with a roommate after graduation, but she has one more year left to decide.
Over the summer, Cooper continued to work for Mr. Owen and also took a driver’s education class. Although he did not pass the written driver’s test the first time he took it, his tutor helped him study during the summer, and he did pass the second time. Cooper started his culinary arts program in the fall at the community college with the needed accommodations in place. He also started his work-study job while continuing to work for Mr. Owen on the weekends.
Revisiting Initial Thoughts
Think back to your initial responses to the following questions. After working through the resources in this module, do you still agree with your Initial Thoughts? If not, what aspects of your answers would you change?
Who is responsible for helping students with disabilities connect to the supports they need after high school?
How can school and agency personnel work together to support smooth transitions for these students?
When you are ready, proceed to the Assessment section.