Hi, it's Courtney here. And today on our podcast, we have a guest. And it's my dear friend, Lisa. And she's going to introduce herself share a little bit about her. And today we're going to be talking about IEP s and transition plans. What are those even? So Lisa, why don't you just tell us a little bit about you?
Hi, Courtney, and everyone else that's out there listening. I am, as Courtney said, Lisa Shaw, I am the owner of Mosaic haven where we are focused on not just IEPs, but also the transition age, age children out there, that's from age 2012 to 21, to help get them prepared for the real world. So incorporating transition planning into that IEP.
Yeah, so when should a parent actually, well, let's dive into what is a transition plan? What goes into that? Or What should parents be kind of knowing about that?
Yep. That's really great questions. So that foundation of a transition plan is really up to the family, the parents back actual students. So what we need to always think keep in mind is that the transition plan is the document that drives what the IEP is going to look like when that student is at starting at the age of that 12 Through 21, when they still can receive special education services. So in other words, what I'm saying is that we need to understand the IEP team needs to truly understand what is the hopes and dreams that the family has for that student, when they exit special education from the aspect of employability, continued education, independent living skills, leisure time, where they might be working, and having an understanding a vision of what a typical day in the life would be for that child, after they become an adult will help the team to figure out what assessments need to be done, what goals may need to be written into the IEP to ensure that the right skills are developed for they can meet those post high school, high school goals. And also making sure that while the student is still in high school, that the right adult supports and services are secured for when that child transitions into adulthood, that those are ready and available for them for their successful.
Awesome. So when I see here's a 12 to 21. So we're talking should this conversation be happening as my child's like transitioning to typical? out there's like middle school that's around middle school time?
Yep, correct. So what I usually use for analogy for parents to truly understand the importance of transition planning, because too many, too many times parents wait till you know the last three, four months before they exit special education. So I'm being really busy right now this time of season because parents are now all of a sudden going, Oh my God, my kids going to no longer be in school as a May What do I need to do now for them. And although I'm there helping those families, too, but really what I want to do is starting to get out there and tell parents that we need to start more proactively getting our kids prepared for that transition to adulthood. So the analogy I use is think of a runway and the longer that runway is and the more wide that runway is and the more smooth that runway is that that plane if we consider our child, that plane that goes down that runway, at the time they're ready to exit special education and they are lifting off of that runway that plane our child, they are going up into the skies, unlimited possibilities that they're going to be able to achieve and explore. And we want to make sure they're the successful and that runway for they can lift off and have the skills that they need and the supports and services that they need in adulthood. The shorter that runway is in the narrower that runway is of less skills that that student may have by the time they graduate. We all know unfortunately what happens that lots of times, then that plane crashes and burns, or it cannot get to the final destination that maybe the family has for hopes and dreams for that child. So the sooner we can start building that runway, at age 12, when they're transitioning to middle school, they're more likely that that child's going to have those skills embedded in those IEPs and have community opportunities during school time. That will just get them a better baseline to be prepared as an adult.
And from your experience of coaching and helping families. Do you feel like that the majority of schools have the right training and support to execute a, I'm gonna use the word dynamic or truly individualized transition plan? Or do you find that a lot of teachers and districts have kind of been thrown into this as part of their job responsibility, but they have not necessarily gotten the training and support to really know, maybe all the different resources or how to write a really great transition plan for the students?
Yeah. And I, I honestly wish I could say to you, yes, that the school is able to help us families achieve our hopes and dreams, but unfortunately, I can't. The schools are not resourced or trained to be able to prepare our kids for life after high school. Unfortunately, this the special education teachers are not trained for transition planning, it is something that they need to take on themselves, if they want to be an expert in transition planning, such as myself. Even the special education teachers that are part of the transition program that that school district may tout that they have, those teachers are as good as they are willing to take their own self initiative to go out in the community and find those resources for families and be able to have the knowledge to communicate to the families how we need to individualize a child's IEP and transition plan to get him ready. Because there's not an emphasis that's placed on this portion of the IEP. And it saddens me because our kids could have so much better outcomes as an adult, if we put the right emphasis of planning, and creating that customized IEP, um, during junior high in high school years.
Awesome. Now, I know you're not a lawyer, but this is a mandate or some protection, that is supposed to happen under IDE, a federal law that is part of the IEP, like this isn't optional, right, creating a transition plan and making sure it has the right parts. It's not like it's optional.
It is not optional at all, you are correct. The purpose and findings of ideal law, as everyone knows that it is there to provide a free and appropriate education. But a part of that purpose and findings that people overlook, and schools do not even highlight to parents is that the schools also have an obligation to prepare our students for continued education, employment, and independent living based on the student's unique needs. And that's where the parents have the right to go into those IEP meetings, be an equal member, provide, communicate to the IEP team, what their hopes and dreams that the student has for adulthood, and get that student prepared and have the IEP team all cohesively working together for that same outcome that everyone wants the child to achieve. So where I come from, and I know, you hear hear me say this all the time, Courtney, that if we create that runway, the right way, and we create a nice, long, wide runway, that that last day of the students day of high school, the last day of high school for that student should look like this first day of the rest of their life. That is a litmus test that we have done the right preparation for that student.
And so when I had one of my national trainings that I went to, like an accredited program, they talked about parents repeatedly feeling like there's this kind of click If after high school and the kind of that sentiment is that their child falls off the cliff. And that does not sound like they're ready for the rest of their life. Like it sounds like they lost all their supports. They lost everything, and they were not ready to fly. And so I know I didn't ask you for like to prepare any statistics to say that word statistics there we go ahead of time, but what is kind of the general numbers of children ready for employment for their education, independent living? Like, is it promising?
Yeah, unfortunately, it is not promising. It the statistics say that, only that 90% of the students have developmental and learning disabilities, 90% of them leave high school, and are under employed or unemployed. So that means only 10% of those, the students nationally actually gets employed in an integrated competitive environment. And that is so sad. The statistics are just as bad as students going into adulthood. And they're living in poverty, because they cannot get employed. And then there's statistics and I know, Courtney, your passionate person on this that because they can't they live in poverty, because they can't get employed in an appropriate place, that they are more susceptible to violence against them. And that's just not right at all. And so, yes, our kids are there on that cliff. And parents do feel that way. But this, what the hope I want to end this with, because I I have now been the Debbie Downer with those statistics. But the hope I want to be that beacon of hope to all the parents out there is that statistics also prove that the outcome for our students significantly improves for employability, independent living. And, and continued education, when the parents are actively advocating involved in the IEP and transition planning, when those parents are at the table. And it has that vision of what that child's life needs to be after high school, and is advocating to make sure that that IEP is designed in such a way that's customized for that student. And ask those necessary questions I tell my clients to ask that those statistics tremendously improve, which is great. That means that's another reason why as parents, we can't wait till the day that they leave high school and watch them fall off that cliff, we need to do our due diligence as parents and start planning ahead.
That makes sense, and really feeling empowered that they don't have to wait for the teacher to bring it up that they themselves could bring it up and bring the ideas and the goals and really talking with their child and understanding their strengths and being able to bring those to the table. Now on your website. Do you have like a resource that is kind of like a starting point that families can get to know that transition process or what to be looking for?
Absolutely. And I will provide that to you accordingly that you can share further with your followers. And it is an IEP transition toolkit to get you up and started. It allows you to see what the top 10 parental rights are that you have. And also what you should, as a parent be starting to think about and work on when a child is at the age of 12 to 14 all the way through every age stage of 21. For you start having your own roadmap of what to ask for, and what should be expected out of the school.
That's awesome. And just recently, are you finishing up a course that families can take on that? Is that also available?
Yes. So I have recently launched a program called permission to dream big and it is the same exact. The course is exactly the same as what I provide my one on one clients, and I just need to be able to get out there and tap into more families. And so I have provided this on demand course that you can take at your own in leisure and or get additional one on one consulting for me, but it is get taken you through from Step eight step a, all the way to that the child transition into adulthood of how to train bed, what that future could look like for your child. And step by step of how you are going to be the CEO of the IEP team for your child, for you are creating that runway, and getting the right supports and services and skills built up for you are confident as a parent, that that last day of high school for your child, they are not falling off the cliff. Instead, that last day is looking as if it's the first day of the rest of their life in there, that plane is lifting off into the sky with unlimited possibilities.
That sounds way better than the other one. And I have been learning from Lisa about this, for the last few years as my daughter was entering in high school and also watching her navigate this in real time with her own child and looking at, you know, what are their strengths? What are they interested in and exploring that because our all of our children deserve to have meaningful things in their life and meaningfully participate in their community. And oftentimes, when we don't have that available to us, that what I've seen with even my speech clients and whatnot, as they go into adulthood is they can become isolated and lonely. And it puts a lot of stress on the caregiver too. Because there's not like you were saying, you know, how does, how do we how does it lead to increased frustration or violence, and I think it's from not having a break. And so when they're going out, and they're feeling fulfilled, and they're feeling valued, and they're participating, they're excited, and they get to leave the home for a bit and the caregiver or the primary caregiver that might be overseeing the day in and day out, like I do for my daughter, I also get a little bit of a break, because she's going and doing that and being fulfilled, and I get a break from being the primary caregiver for 20, you know, all 24 hours. And so, I think, you know, it also leads to the child and the adult being frustrated when they feel like, you know, I used to go to school every day, and I was surrounded by my peers, and I got to be included in participating. And then if they go to being, you know, potentially at home with not having any of that activity and that social, I think that, of course, behaviors might increase because they're feeling, you know, tethered down a little bit and not being able to explore out with them. So I appreciate this information so much. Lisa is one of the few people I know that are really talking about this helping educate families and schools. Her primary, your primary objective is helping families but I've seen her go in personally, and work with the family, but also work on helping coach and be collaborative with the school. And so that's something I want to put out there to parents that we don't have to be scared to advocate when we're advocating and collaborating. And we have a strategy and a plan and a roadmap like you provide. You can go in there and do that in such a nice way that if you leave feeling good, and your child is going to get an awesome transition plan. It doesn't have to be fight. And I hope to get a transition plan or I do not think you know, I mean, it's there's a middle ground there.
Absolutely. Absolutely. And like we said at the beginning of our conversation here, Courtney, it's the family's right for us to do that transition planning for they do have live a satisfying, meaningful, dignified life.
Right. That's awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast this week. I can't wait to share this out with families and in the show notes. I will have how you can reach Lisa, and how you can get her free resource that she has available on transition plantings. And we'll be back here later this week. Thank you
Transcribed by https://otter.ai