Happy New Year to all of our friends and family! I can't believe we are already into 2012...where did time go?!
We are starting out this year, the final chapter of Transition for most all of my students, by really focusing on each students needs and fears in completing this program. For some three of my five, they have been a part of this program since the doors were opened three years ago, so the final semester is very bittersweet for them.
One of the things I'm trying to do this year is focus on the needs post-program, by offering some after school and additional services to them and their parents. Each student was given a letter to take home offering three opportunities for growth:
1. DayHab/Group Home Exploration
A scheduled visit for myself, the student and their parent(s)/guardian(s) to visit day habs center and group homes in and around our area. For some parents it's of interest, but they just aren't sure about what these services are and what is entailed for their adult child. A day-long visit, as seen with one student and parent last year, puts their imagination into new focus and mind at ease in knowing exactly what services are being offered and what the environment looks like on a daily basis.
2. Daily Home Living Skills...at home!
I appreciate getting feedback from parents more than anything about what works and what doesn't. One parent, who's child aged out last May, contacted me earlier in the year and said, "He can't do anything at home! I thought you said he could cook, clean and do laundry?!" It's true...this student was amazing at all of those things at school, but didn't have the proper transitioning of those skills to his natural environment at home...where mean old Mrs. Virdell wasn't hovering to inspect the quality. What he was lacking was the desire and experience with doing those same tasks in his own home.
So this year I'm offering to meet my student and their parent at home, after school hours, to help transition them into doing things in their natural environment, hoping it will help transfer those honed skills, learned here, to their own home.
3. College Visit
I have a few students who would do very well in a modified college setting and have expressed an interest in doing so. Austin Community College, in Austin, offers what's called VOCAT courses for adults with developmental disabilities. The courses vary in complexity and interests, but all offer a variety of skills levels that college experience. It is my hope that those who are interested will apply for and complete this really neat program and with a visit to the campus, I'm positive that the students and parents interested will be sold too.