In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins--not through strength, but through persistence.
Family Centered Transition Project
The Family-Centered Transition Project is a collaboration between the Institute on Disability and the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at the University of Maine, to demonstrate an innovative approach to the transition of individuals with autism spectrum disorders from high school to adult life.
The transition services consist of three components over a 6-8 month period:
- Training sessions where families learn practical strategies for person-centered planning, networking, and utilizing a variety of adult service options and resources to design and work towards a positive future beyond high school.
- A series of individual planning meetings to plan post-high-school goals, held at the convenience of each student and family, with assistance from a project planning facilitator. The planning results in a family-centered plan with specific goals and an implementation plan. Other family members, friends, and community resource people may participate in one or more meetings as called for by the student and family. The facilitator meets with each student to prepare them for maximum participation in these planning meetings.
- Ongoing assistance from a planning facilitator in implementing student plans. This includes career exploration activities with students to investigate career options, such as (a) informational interviews, (b) job shadowing experiences, (c) online or in-person investigation of post-secondary options, and/or (d) unpaid or paid work experiences. Project staff assist students and families to incorporate elements of student plans into their IEPs.
Beginning in October 2011, the Institute on Disability received additional funding for three years from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research for a new phase of the project: Sustainable Implementation of Family-Centered Transition Planning. In this phase, the IOD is partnering with a community organization in each state to develop a sustainable capacity for a community organization to provide Family-Centered Transition Planning.
In this phase, staff are continuing to work with schools and adult service programs supporting students with ASD in NH and ME to serve additional students. In ME, the Autism Society of Maine is taking the lead on sustainable implementation. Our NH partner is the Strafford Learning Center (SLC), based in Somersworth. The SLC is accepting referrals and coordinating implementation of the model on a fee-for-service basis in stages over the life of the project, with the support and collaboration of project staff.
The Institute on Disability is evaluating consumer and family outcomes and disseminating information to promote this service as an evidence-based practice in NH and ME and with communities in other states upon request.
Sustainable Implementation of Family-Centered Transition Planning (Family-Centered Transition Project II) is funded by a three-year, $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.