Developing Postsecondary Goals
Through the transition process, IEP teams are required to support the student in identifying adult life goals. For a student who is 15 or 16 years of age, such goals may not be well developed or defined. Or some students who have goals may encounter life events during high school that require adjustments to their post-school plans. In either case, the IEP team should be prepared to provide students with information and experiences to assist them with decision-making and also be prepared to review and revise, as necessary, the goals from year to year. Below are several examples of postsecondary goals that evolved over the transition years.
Initial Goal: Following graduation from high school, Jerod will work part time in community-based, integrated employment in an area of his interest.
Over the next several years, Jerod's team continued to use Age-Appropriate Transition Assessments to determine Jerod's interests, abilities, and needed supports in order to define his areas of interests.
Following graduation from high school, Jerod will work part time in community-based, integrated employment in an area that includes automotives, mechanics, or computers.
The team continued to provide Jerod with opportunities in his areas of interest in order to refine the goal even further. In addition, the team discovered that Jerod would require ongoing support in the from of a job coach to develop the specific set of skills required for this job and to ultimately remain successfully employed. This was reflected in the updated goal.
Following graduation from high school, Jerod will work part time in community-based, integrated employment in an area of mechanics with periodic support of a job coach.
Initial Goal: Following graduation from high school, Shawna will live in the family home with natural supports.
During the next several years, Shawna's mother developed cancer and was very ill. This not only affected Shawna's immediate supports but also changed the vision for her future living situation.
Following graduation from high school, Shawna will live in the family home with the supervision and support of adult services.
Shawna's family found that over the next several years Shawna showed increasing anxiety with the variety of people who were coming into the home to assist both her and her mother. Routines were difficult to maintain. Stress levels in the home increased significantly as the family tried to provide the supervision and support that Shawna required while also caring for Shawn's mother during her declining health. This meant yet another change in the vision for the future.
Following graduation from high school, Shawna will live in an apartment located near the family home with a roommate and with daily supervision and support.
Initial Goal: After graduation from high school, Derek will attend a four-year college of his choice to study physical therapy.
Derek's course of study in the following year included opportunities to learn more about the field of physical therapy and the educational requirements to become a certified physical therapist. Although his team felt he could handle the coursework, Derek was not sure that he wanted to attend school for an additional five or six years. Instead, Derek chose a different health care career to be the focus of his postsecondary education and employment.
After graduation from high school, Derek will attend a four-year college of his choice to become a radiologist.
As Derek continued in his high school career, during his junior year, he spent time visiting college campuses and also job shadowed a radiologist. Derek felt overwhelmed with the size and organization of the college campuses he visited and was unsure if he could handle the environment and do well in his studies. After spending time with a radiologist, he also was not sure that he wanted the management responsibilities he observed as part of the radiologist's position, although he enjoyed the focus of the work. Based on these concerns, Derek revised his immediate post-school intentions.
After graduation from high school, Derek will attend a community college to obtain an Associate’s degree to prepare him to be a certified radiology technician employed in a local hospital or clinic.
This plan allows Derek to attend a smaller, more manageable post-school environment following high school. Once employed, he will be able to gain additional experience to determine if he wants to continue his education for a Bachelor’s degree in this or a related field or if he is satisfied with employment as a radiology technician.
Initial Goal: Following high school graduation, Wanda will volunteer for community organizations in areas of her interest to gain additional experience leading to part-time integrated community employment.
Due to Wanda's significant sensory, communication and health challenges, her IEP team did not anticipate that Wanda would be able to obtain meaningful community employment. However they felt that volunteer work would be an avenue for integrated commented participation and potential employment. During the next several years, Wanda began meeting community business owners and agency/organization directors and managers. With significant support, Wanda successfully volunteered in several locations, including the art museum, the Red Cross, the local animal shelter, and Parks and Recreation. During these experiences, Wanda and her team discovered that she enjoyed art, and the environment of the art museum was a good match for her sensory challenges. The employees in the museum also developed a relationship with Wanda as they began to understand how to interact and communicate with her. The goal was refined based on this discovery.
Following high school graduation, Wanda will volunteer for the art museum with the necessary supports in order to gain additional experience leading to part time integrated community employment.
Wanda continued to volunteer on a weekly basis and became proficient at the jobs she was assigned. During her last year of high school, Wanda and her family, the school team, adult service representatives, and the art museum director discussed options for the future, including the possibility of employment following high school. The director was interested in continuing Wanda's contribution to the museum in the form of employment, even if only 12 hours a week. This information once again caused the team to revise the post school goal.
Following high school graduation, Wanda will be employed in the community at an art museum part time with necessary supports.