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March 2017

Consider This… Things to Consider in March 2017

NEW – RTSC Feature Article

IEP to IPE: Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities   Nancy Mader, CRC
Massachusetts students with disabilities who receive special education services are entitled under federal and state laws to receive appropriate transition services to support their movement beyond high school, beginning at age 14. Transition services are a coordinated set of activities to improve academic and functional achievement to facilitate the move from high school services to: postsecondary education, vocational education, competitive integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and/or community participation. The necessary transition services vary for each student and must take into consideration their own unique needs.

 

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On the Knife’s Edge: Using Therapy to Address Violence among Teens
This report from NPR (also available on Podcast) discusses research being done at the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab through a program called BAM (Becoming a Man). The authors look at what happens when teenagers participate in cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. They found that changing the way we think can change the way we behave — and changing the way we behave can change our lives.


How did Lawrence, Mass., turn its schools around? Cooperation.
Lawrence is seen as a model, both for academic results and the inclusive and pragmatic way it got beyond ideology to get traditional public schools, charters, nonprofits, and families to work together.  This article from The Christian Science Monitor discusses key factors in the district’s turnaround efforts: a family resource center designed to help parents overcome many poverty-related issues that might contribute to keeping kids out of school or preventing them from learning; an acceleration academy, which lets kids attend intensive classes during one-week breaks in February and April; and an initiative in which teachers visit their students’ home and is designed to break down the walls between teachers and parents.


Can Virtual Reality “Teach” Empathy?
Teachers in New York are using immersive virtual reality (VR) to transport classrooms into an emergency food drop for refugees in the South Sudan, as featured in the New York Times 360-degree video. Emerging evidence from Stanford suggests that one of VR’s biggest strengths is its ability to tap student emotions, notably empathy and the can-do confidence known as self-efficacy, especially when interwoven with paper-and-pencil class activities and discussions about the mix of individual and communal identities and the importance of perspective.


Challenging Student Behavior: Moving From the Boot to the Root
At Bagnall Elementary School in Groveland, Massachusetts, improvements in student behavior are the result of using the Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (ALSUP), the assessment component of Dr. Ross Greene’s Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model. The movement towards classroom-based, teacher-driven skill building in the area of emotional learning represents a significant paradigm shift for many teachers. Many schools are abandoning ineffective disciplinary practices of the past and moving towards a collaborative approach — involving the students themselves in developing a plan.


An American Public Health Crisis – the ‘Pair of ACEs’
This Huffington Post article describes children experiencing adversity within their families: parents with substance abuse problems, physical and emotional neglect at a very young age, fear that family will be deported. Each child also lives in a community that faces adversity: widespread poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of needed social services – including in mental health. When childhood adversity occurs in the context of an adverse community environment, these stressors can become toxic to a child’s development and long-term health.


AAP Statement on Protecting Immigrant Children
“Far too many children in this country already live in constant fear that their parents will be taken into custody or deported, and the message these children received today from the highest levels of our federal government exacerbates that fear and anxiety. No child should ever live in fear. When children are scared, it can impact their health and development. Indeed, fear and stress, particularly prolonged exposure to serious stress – known as toxic stress – can harm the developing brain and negatively impact short- and long-term health.”


The Impressive Top-to-Bottom Makeover of the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice System
The Massachusetts juvenile justice system promotes positive development all through the process-from when a public defender meets a client in lockup to the last appointment with a probation officer. Systems are designed that reduce recidivism and lead to positive outcomes. Unlike most other states, Massachusetts offers a network of highly specialized public defenders for juveniles — a benchmark few under-resourced legal aid societies across the country have met.


Useful Tools and Resources


 MassHealth Behavioral Health Services for Children and Youth: A Guide for School Personnel
This 56-page guide is written for anyone in the school building who interacts with students, including but not limited to teachers, teacher aides, school nurses, administrators, health educators, psychologists, social workers, and adjustment counselors.


Office of the Child Advocate Annual Report Fiscal Year 2016
“During this reporting period, the OCA continued to perform our core statutory functions. We responded to 477 Complaint Line inquiries, a 290% increase over the prior fiscal year. We reviewed 114 critical incidents, and 328 reports of abuse or neglect of children in out-of-home settings, such as school, child care, foster care, and residential treatment programs… The Governor also asked us to lead a review of residential treatment programs that serve children with behavioral, developmental, or educational challenges.”


One-Stop List of Recent Guidances from the U.S. Department of Education
Organized by topic for the year 2016.


Social Awareness Toolkit
Teachers and others interested in enhancing social awareness for children and adolescents can download this free Social Awareness Toolkit — a 90-minute professional development session designed for those seeking research-based strategies to help their students build this particular competency. Short, first-person videos are included.


RTSC February Webinar on IEP to IPE: Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities (Tuesday, March 21st 12:30PM-1:30PM)
Transition planning for students ages 16-22 can be confusing. The purpose of this workshop is to help families and professionals working with students with disabilities understand the process of transitioning from an IEP (Individualized Education Program) to an IPE (Individualized Plan for Employment). This workshop breaks down the process to help students, families, and professionals create positive, individualized vocational outcomes. Presenter: Nancy Mader, CRC, Director of Transition Projects for the Federation for Children with Special Needs.
Register Here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1626918049505846018

For more on this topic, please read our RTSC Feature Article: IEP to IPE: Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities


Featured Article Continued… 

IEP to IPE: Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities
Nancy Mader, CRC, Director of Transition Projects for the Federation for Children with Special Needs.

Massachusetts students with disabilities who receive special education services are entitled under federal and state laws to receive appropriate transition services to support their movement beyond high school, beginning at age 14. Transition services are a coordinated set of activities to improve academic and functional achievement to facilitate the move from high school services to: postsecondary education, vocational education, competitive integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and/or community participation. The necessary transition services vary for each student and must take into consideration their own unique needs.

IEP goals and services encompass a broad umbrella of services and outcomes. Students with disabilities that are on an IEP are entitled to these services. Postsecondary services (after a student has graduated from high school) are eligibility based services and generally follow a more narrow and specific path (i.e. a specific employment goal). This switch from entitlement services to eligibility based services can be a difficult transition for families and professionals when assisting young adults in planning for their futures.

Postsecondary eligibility services can be provided by a number of different agencies including but not limited to the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), Department of Development Services (DDS), Department of Mental Health (DMH), Massachusetts Commission for the deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), Department of Children and Families (DCF), and/or the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB). Under Chapter 688, the Massachusetts Transition Planning Law, the school district is responsible for referring the student to the appropriate adult agency, and the adult agency is responsible for developing an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) for the student. It is important to note that families and/or guardians can refer students to any of the eligibility agencies without direct involvement from the school.

The IPE is developed by the student and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) along with the input and support of the student’s family or guardian. Referrals for MRC services should be made at age 16 or two years prior to completion of school services to allow adequate time to identify and coordinate the services that may be needed to prepare the student for a smooth transition to postsecondary services. 

The primary outcome of the IPE is employment. This outcome may require a variety of services to assist the student in achieving the employment goal but the student is not entitled to all services offered under Vocational Rehabilitation. Services are determined by eligibility and need and are determined on a case by case basis.

The intent of the Webinar on March 21, 2017 (IEP to IPE) is to break down the process of transitioning from an IEP to an IPE for students, families, and professionals, and to assist in understanding the difference in entitlement based services to eligibility based services while achieving the best possible outcomes for students and their families. 
 

For more on this topic, please register for our February 21st Webinar: IEP to IPE: Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities (Tuesday, March 21st 12:30PM-1:30PM)


  
*Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure that the contents of Consider This… is accurate, the Federation for Children with Special Needs makes no representations or warranties in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information found within the enclosed articles. The contents within this transmission is provided in good faith, and nothing included in it should be taken to constitute or imply professional advice, an endorsement or a formal recommendation.