Bridging Over to Life After K-12
Many states mandate that all middle schoolers formally explore career options. For students with special learning needs, maintaining high expectations is an important part of this process. Here are some tips on how to focus on strengths to achieve this end.
Conveying to middle school students the importance of career exploration is quite a trick to pull off successfully. Many states mandate that students, often in the 8th Grade, develop the first components of what will be a comprehensive career plan with implications for course selection. Making the realities many adults find daunting relevant to thirteen-year-olds is possible and this important milestone shouldn?t be overlooked as an integral part of the IEP process, particularly in light of transition requirements as teens on IEPs grow older.
An Eye on Transition
While not all states mandate career plans, all do have required transition plans for students being served under an IEP. With this in mind, combine any middle school exploration of careers into an integrated approach that will blend easily into the transition plan several years later.
Good news and good research results about blended learning are making their way into headlines. Blended, sometimes referred to as hybrid, education is the combination of regular classroom instruction and online instruction. A recent study of college students by the U.S. Department of Education found that students learned better when a part of their curriculum was taught online. For high school students with learning challenges, the prospect of post-secondary education being much more accessible and accommodating to their needs looks better than ever. Advocating for your child to be well prepared to access the world of blended education can benefit their future like few other acts.
Become Familiar With Online Platforms
As college will require a much greater level of independence than in high school, readiness for online education will play an important role in the success of your child?s blended learning experience. The more hands-on experience with e-learning software your child receives, the better he or she will be able to adapt to online programs at school or in the future.
It’s always been good advice to take advantage of any and all opportunities to visit college campuses. ?While visiting campuses, however, there is the added need for students to learn about each institution?s e-learning platform. ?Many of the e-learning platforms currently in use are proprietary in nature, meaning that they are unique to their respective institutions and work differently from other e-learning platforms.
Knowing how a given institution’s e-learning platform works and whether it fits his or her learning style and needs should be one of the important things your child considers about where he or she wants to go to college. It really makes good sense for someone preparing for what will likely be a hybrid college experience to know what he or she is getting into ahead of time.
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Critical to facilitating the inevitable move from school services to opportunities for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is providing the student with the tools to individually select from a comprehensive array of choices. Part of the learning process that supports independent living after school is finding rich opportunities for the student to direct that transition based upon good information. To enable ownership of this procedure, incorporating online learning by the student is key to developing a blueprint that actually supports the goals outlined.
One challenge in the development of a student?s transition plan, the portion of his or her IEP that defines goals and identifies services beyond the time the IEP is no longer applicable, is to provide regular, spiraling experiences in which the student can develop his or her own self-advocacy talents. Good intentions being the paving material they are, it is probable that many of the 30% of children receiving special education services significantly lacked the self-advocacy skills needed to set for themselves the personal goal of finishing their secondary education. Among several techniques for developing such expertise from which a battery should be chosen is the incorporation of the Internet?s best products into the student?s regular, daily practices.