Six Ways to Assist Graduating Students with Disabilities
The adult world is already grueling for most members of society, and many fresh high school graduates may find themselves in situations above their heads on many occasions. Now, imagine how parlous it must be for graduands living with disabilities. Hence, it is incumbent on our schools to equip these students with the skills to ease their transition to an independent life and essential for maneuvering through post-secondary education and job hunting.
For schools needing ideas on assisting their students living with disabilities to make this transition, we will have six suggestions on how to go about it.
- Inaugurate a Transition Committee for Graduating Students Living with Disabilities.
Organizing a rewarding transition program is not a walk in the park. It will require adequate planning, and plenty of paperwork may follow, which makes it necessary to have a team made up of members of staff, who will share the burden of planning. This team must include exceptional education tutors and counselors, and other staff members from different departments who will bring valuable insights to the committee.
- Building Community Relationships.
Through relationships, it is possible to attract tremendous help from businesses and authorities within the district. On request, local establishments can make their staff available as resource persons for job training, tours, and seminars with your graduating students with disabilities. Some large companies have provisions for paid volunteer work during the weekends; they may give some of these opportunities to the students. These opportunities might grow into internships after their graduation for lucky ones.
The Department of Labor can also be helpful when contacted; their resource persons can train the students on resume writing, provide interview tips, and other relevant employment information.
- Explore Options for Funding
The expenses usually incurred in executing a successful transition scheme can be overwhelming. You can seek support from Federal Departments like the Vocational Rehabilitation Services—through the local office nearest to you—,, which offers various supports to programs of this nature.
The High School High Tech team and other groups of its kind are usually willing to provide funding and ideas for programs targeted at students living with disabilities.
- Secure Endorsement from the Local Colleges and Technical Institutions.
Graduating students with disabilities willing to further their education in undergraduate or technical colleges need all the information they can secure accommodation and support on campus. Interfacing with post-secondary institutions, organizing campus tours, and visiting student support offices of these local institutions is a step in the right direction. The staff there can explain the processes involved in acquiring accommodation and how to navigate through the system. Counselors and Professors from some technical schools are readily available on request for presentations on job readiness skills.
- Seek Parents Support.
Parents of these graduating students with disabilities are usually glad to be part of the transition program and support in any capacity. Volunteering can also come from the parents of other students. These parents who work with local firms can assist you in organizing tours. Some can also help with the procurement of snacks and planning the celebrations.
- Host a Party.
At the end of the program each year, it will be nice to host a party, thank the students for their participation, the transition committee for a job well done, and the program partners for their support throughout the year. It is advisable to integrate the training of students on specific skills, such as those identified by the GeorgiaBEST rubric designed by the Georgia Department of Labor, into your program. This way, you can feature the certificate of job readiness and award presentation at your party.
Finally, it is ideal to stay in touch with your alumni, and towards the end of the program, send them invitations to grace the occasion and speak to the graduating students. The feedback from the alumni can be of immense help to the graduating students and will guide your plans on ways to improve subsequent transition programs.