“If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and every day you have the opportunity to write a new page.” ~Mark Houlahan
Life is full of changes. Many times the changes will happen so smoothly that you hardly notice them. At other times, you need to plan and prepare for them. Students have dreams of the future and what they will do. This is the beginning of adulthood and it is an exciting time, full of opportunity, decisions, and choices. What do you want to do after high school?
Transition is the process of getting ready to leave high school and moving into the adult word. Planning helps make this process smoother. Transition starts when a student reaches the age of 16 if not before. Students should make sure their high school experience will help develop the skills and knowledge that are needed to obtain their goals. High school is also the time to identify the networks, support and services that will be needed to help insure continued participation to reach your goals.
The transition process means planning. This includes many your family, teachers and others at school, friends and the community. Your plans and goals may change as you progress and mature during high school. This may cause changes in your plans.
Once you leave high school, it becomes your responsibility to get and coordinate the training and services you need. You will be moving from the education system to adult services. This is can be a difficult process. Careful planning and networking is necessary. You may need services from several agencies to get the help and support you need. Agencies may have eligibility requirements that you will need to meet and some may have waiting lists for services.
As in all aspects of life, the more planning you do while still in school, the better prepared you and your family will be to make decisions and take action. You will find many resources in the Work Ability Utah Transition Toolkit. You will even find resources for to share with your family and teachers.
Transition is more than just connecting to adult agencies, finding a job or learning to ride the bus. Start with your goal in mind. Where do you want to end up? What kind work do you want to do? What skills or training do you need to do that job? Where do you want to call home? What are your health issues? What do you like to do for fun? Are you prepared for your whole life and do you have the skills you need to achieve your goals?
Next look at where you are and what is needed to get you to your goals. Your high school experience can focus on developing the skills you will need to achieve your goals. Start with the classes you are taking.
After you’ve thought about your dreams, it is time to get a plan together. In your plan you should develop the steps needed to reach your dreams. Developing your plan will involve pulling together people who can help you achieve your dreams. This may include your parents/guardians, teachers, friends, specialists and members of your community. It is time to start meeting with your team to develop your plans. You can see how close you are to reaching your dreams by following your plan. Having a plan doesn’t mean you can’t make changes. Your team will help you make the decisions necessary to make your dreams come true.
Person-Centered Planning is a process that recognizes your strengths, interests, fears, and dreams to allow you to take charge of your future. Parents, teachers, family members, and friends in the community can offer informal guidance, support, and love.
SEOP (Student Educational Occupational Plan) is a plan to help you prepare for life after high school. By taking part in your SEOP, you can explore your learning styles, interests and abilities. You develop the best class schedule for you and your plans for after high school. By following your plan, you make sure you have the right credits to graduate. Each year you change and update your plan if needed. Using the SEOP process will help you leave school with more than a diploma–you will leave with a plan. You and your parents will meet with your guidance counselor to develop this plan every year.
The IEP (Individualized Education Program) is a plan to help you work on the skills you need to be successful in school. You and your team are responsible for developing, reviewing, changing and putting into effect the IEP. Each member of the team brings information to the meeting. Writing and putting your IEP into effect requires teamwork.
Turning 18 means you are an adult and are legally responsible for your decisions and actions. When you turn 18, you become a legal adult. This is a time to celebrate and a time you will be held responsible for your actions.
504 Plan refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that you may need to access your education. This might include such things as wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of textbooks, a peanut-free lunch environment, home instruction or a tape recorder for taking notes. Several resources are available to assist you, you parents and school in planning your 504 plan on the Utah State Office of Education website.
Exiting High School
As you finish your high school career, you should have been tracking your credits for graduation. In Utah there are different graduation options. Make sure you pick the option that is best for you.
If you have an IEP, during your last year of high school, a Summary of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance will become completed. The information on this form can help you plan for the services you may need.
Yahoo, you made it! Graduation from high school is a major accomplishment. It is a huge step towards becoming your own person. There is a world of opportunity before you. You will be making many decisions as you get ready to leave high school.
Even though you have finished high school, your learning will continue. You will be making decisions about your education and training, where you will live , where you will work. You have completed this page of your life, now go ahead and write the rest of your story.