Throughout Oregon, many VR counselors work with youth in transition who are still in high school. Many of these counselors work as part of a 'transition team' made up of the student, family, special educator, transition specialist, and VR counselor. The VR counselors doing this work have gained knowledge and experience around what services are most effective. These include:
On-site relationships with transition specialists, special education teachers, guidance counselors, youth and families;
Specialized knowledge, focused on transition, of community resources and the business community;
Identification and engagement of early referrals of youth receiving special education and on 504 plans;
Participation in school IEP and transition meetings;
Career exploration including vocational assessment, coordination with school-based transition or employment specialists, job interviewing, etc.
Development of Individual plans of employment and further education.
A variety of strategies have been used to increase the scope of VR services to improve youth outcomes. The practices developed and summarized here vary considerably and are intended to be a menu of suggestions based on the experience of those doing the work to date, rather than a prescribed model of a single way to work with schools and transitioning youth.
This set of materials attempts to provide some of what has been learned from VR Counselors working inside schools as a way to work with students transitioning to adulthood. It is an effort to describe lessons learned, to build consistency and improve communication among VR counselors doing this work. It is not an effort to define policy, nor is it a VR policy manual. It is meant to be a creative and dynamic outline of practices that VR Counselors have tried and found to be effective and helpful in doing their work.
Within these materials, transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a youth with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that promotes movement from school to post-school activities. They are defined by IDEA and the Rehabilitation Amendments.
The coordinated set of activities is individualized to the needs of the youth, taking into account strengths, preferences and interests, and may include:
Instruction and related services
Development of employment
Post-school adult living objectives
Daily living skills
Functional vocational evaluation.