Supporting the transition-related needs of students with disabilities is challenging and often requires a collaborative effort between schools (teachers), parents, and other agencies. Project Access is a school-based initiative designed to promote positive post-high-school outcomes among students with disabilities through collaboration between teachers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and parents.
In the first section of this website we provide free lesson plans that can be downloaded by teachers and/or VR Counselors for use in classrooms. These lesson plans can be integrated into existing content area instruction (e.g., social studies) or they can be delivered as “stand-alone” instruction in a study skills or transitions course.
In addition to lesson plans, we also encourage teachers to proactively develop and maintain relationships with VR counselors either through a preexisting program (e.g. Youth Transition Program, YTP) or by contacting your local VR office (find your nearest local VR office by clicking HERE) and requesting a meeting with one or more VR counselors.
Once you have established an initial relationship with a VR Counselor, it is important to assist that individual in gaining access to your school. Schools can be a somewhat intimidating environment for professionals who do not work in them daily. High school teachers participating in our project (Access) made explicit and deliberate efforts to collaborate with VR Counselors through a variety of activities including:
Inviting the counselor(s) to present information about VR at a faculty meeting
Introducing counselor(s) to the special education case manager and special education teachers
Inviting counselor(s) to special education department meetings
Inviting counselor(s) to attend classrooms to present information and “get to know” students
Inviting counselor(s) to IEP meetings when appropriate, and
Providing VR counselor(s) with space within the school building to meet with individual students
These basic activities provide a foundation for a collaborative relationship between schools and VR. Your efforts can help to ensure that your students are receiving early and ongoing access to this important and valuable service.