Support for the Transition to Postsecondary Settings for Students With Disabilities
The following sections describe several service coordination roles that assist youth to navigate a transition from high school to postsecondary settings successfully.
Secondary Transition Coordinator: Bridge to the Postsecondary World
Secondary transition specialists typically begin work with students when they reach the age at which they are eligible for services and planning (16 under IDEA 2004, with option to begin earlier if needed). The coordinator works with the student to identify preferences and goals. He or she collaborates with general educators to recommend a course of study through high school to prepare for careers and independent living in either college or employment settings. The coordinator arranges opportunities for the student (or a group of students) to learn about different careers through videos, job shadowing, visits to work environments, and hands-on work activities that allow the student(s) to try out jobs. Finally the coordinator makes connections with the adult service system, identifies the support services or accommodations the student may need in the postsecondary setting, and assists students in assembling portfolios of academic records, job experiences, resumes, and postsecondary recommendations. Transition coordinators may follow up with the student and continue their support services for a period of time after the student has graduated. Recent research on the role of transition coordinators shows that 94% of states also employ one or more at the state level (Jackson, 2003; Schiller et al., 2003; U.S. Department of Education, 2003b).
School Guidance Counselor
At the high school level, guidance counselors are concerned with educational and career guidance while they also focus on the personal development of the students. High school counselors help students choose school courses and activities that relate to their interests and will prepare them for life after high school. They also show students how to apply for college or for job-training programs. At the postsecondary level, academic advisors provide information about college entrance requirements, financial aid programs, and entry-level job opportunities in the areas where they might be attending school.
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