Transition Begins with a Vision
By Terri McLaughlin, Transition Specialist – Parent Training and Information Center (FCSN)
What do you want to be or do as an adult? For many teens the typical response is, “I have no idea”. If a VISION for the future is essential to the Transition planning process; what can you do to help?
A Transition Portfolio might help you to illustrate the future you wish to create. Or if you have already defined your hopes and dreams, you might want to illustrate them visually in a Transition Portfolio.
In her recent book, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor shares her thoughts on the importance of an individual’s vision. “Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire.” This is the essence of a vision.
To create a Transition Portfolio, take a 3-ring binder with plastic sleeves. Find images that represent the experiences, feelings, people and possessions you want to be part of your life. Have fun! Use photographs, magazine cutouts, pictures from the Internet–whatever inspires you. Include not only pictures, but anything that speaks to you or about you. Use words and images that best show who you are, your ideal future, and your interests to inspire positive emotions within you. Consider including a picture of yourself in your book; one that was taken in a happy moment. Or use a ‘caricature’ or something visual that reflects YOU.
There are also a number of Web 2.0 apps that teachers are using with students to help them to create digital portfolios: The Google Sites/Digital Portfolio Tutorial Series at www.mscomputerteacher.com/google-sites-and-digital-portfolios.html. You can find more information on digital portfolio apps on www.teachthought.com/technology/8-educational-apps-to-create-digital-portfolios
You can use your Transition Portfolio to depict preferences and interests in all areas of your life experience. It can be your best school work, a club activity, an award, sports, movie or music star, your favorite teacher or coach, summer camp, a church or community event. Be selective about what you place in your Transition Portfolio, but be creative too! Do you see music, art, theater in your future? Include video, YouTube, CD or PowerPoint to share at your IEP meeting. The Portfolio affords you the opportunity for self-awareness and self-reflection. Don’t remove the pictures or images from your Transition Portfolio that represent the goals you’ve reached. IMAGINE and VISUALIZE your dreams. Your accomplishments are powerful reminders of what you have deliberately achieved or attracted to your life and journey.
• Look at your Transition Portfolio often.
• Read the motivating words out loud.
• See yourself living in that job or community.
• Feel yourself in the future you have designed.
• Recognize your accomplishments.
• Identify the changes you have seen and felt.
• Celebrate your life!
Transition Portfolio – Inspiration
As you explore and grow, your dreams may change and the portfolio will be a record of your experience, to document this personal Transition journey from year to year. Your Transition Portfolio is a voyage of growth and achievements on your individual passage from school into adulthood. Follow your hopes and dreams; keep them stirring within you!