SOESD / Learning Matters / Newsletter Archive / February/March 2006 / Transition to Adulthood
Transition to Adulthood
STEPS Transition Program
The STEPS Transition Program provides educational services to students with developmental disabilities who are between the ages of 18-21. These students have typically finished their high school educations and are working on skills necessary to be as independent as possible in their adult lives. The goal for our students is that the last day of the Transition Program will look the same as the first day of their adult lives. To accomplish this, we work hard with the students, their families and numerous agencies to put into place services necessary for happy and fulfilling adult lives. The connection with families is critical—understanding their hopes, dreams (and concerns) for their young adults—to planning for adulthood within the context of family and community.
One of our students is Ms. Mieke Ryneal. She joined our Talent Transition Class Fall 2005 and made some good gains in overcoming her previous anxieties about new situations, people, and expectations. Mieke has learned to use a schedule to organize her time and activities. Mieke’s weekly calendar includes participating in a work experience at a local coffee shop; coming to class in our apartment location in Talent; attending a self advocacy class in Medford at the ESD’s Medford office, and going to an art studio where she is studying painting 3 afternoons a week. Mieke uses the Para transit taxi system to get to the different locations on different days and times. Mieke is learning how to deal with the delays, missed services, and other unique difficulties of this system. Staff still work closely with Mieke, but she is making advances towards her independence
Mieke’s mother Charlene reports that since Mieke has started in the Talent Transition Program this fall she has seen huge gains in independence, motivation and a positive outlook.
Another student, Landon Hart, is a young man who graduated with an alternative diploma from Crater High School last spring. He now attends our Transition Program in Medford at the Woodlands Apartment. Landon is learning to ride the RVTD bus from his home in Central Point to his work experience site at the Food and Friends kitchen in Medford. He has become quite competent in his mobility skills from the bus to work and back. His mom, Elaine, initially had concerns about Landon taking on such an ambitious plan. “What a wonderful surprise this is to see Landon so successful in taking on this new independence,” was Elaine’s comment at a recent planning meeting. Landon now carries his cell phone so he can call classroom staff, work site, or Mom if he has a problem or needs to get support.
These are just two examples of wonderful things that are happening with our students in the STEPS program—where students and their families leave our program with more independence and confidence about their future lives.