Transition and Discovery Part 2: Transition to work for

all students.
Ellen Condon, Project Director University of MT, Rural Institute Marc Gold & Associates and Griffin-Hammis Associates


The goal of Transition is that students seamlessly transition from school to adult life with the skills and supports in place for them to succeed in their desired post-school outcomes.


Experiential preparation for employment for students:
• Provide a foundation for the expectation of employment for all students • Provide an array of experiences from which specific interests might emerge • Provide increasing insight into necessary conditions for success and discrete contributions • Provide information to guide curricular content in classrooms

Assuring that “All” means All

The Role of Customization, Supports and Work Experiences for Transitioning Youth with Disabilities

Marc Gold & Associates©


An Evolution of Work Experiences
Leading to the outcome of employment…


Resource for developing and organizing experiences:
Work Experience Guide: How to Create A Work Experience Program at Your School (using Volunteerism for Middle School students)
Available at:

Resource for the array of experiences:
This manual, part of a series on Discovery for educators, was developed as a result of SSA’s Mississippi Youth Transition Innovation. It contains legalities, logistical considerations, definitions, etc. Manuals are available from MG&A at

Types of Work Experiences and Paid Employment for Students

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Volunteering Job Shadowing Service Learning/Internships General Work Experience Matched Work Experience Customized Work Experience Self-Employment

Volunteering involves encouraging and supporting students to participate in existing school and community services that offer support to others in the community. Volunteering should start for students as young as ten (or younger) and may continue throughout the school experience. Outcomes for volunteering include participation and inclusion in community and school activities, general task performance and general responsibilities and work skills.
Marc Gold & Associates

Job Shadowing
Job shadowing involves short-term observations
of various types of job tasks and employment settings in the community. Job shadowing can start with students as young as ten years old and throughout the school experience, as needed. The time spent on shadowing experiences ranges from an hour or two for younger students to as much as two days for older adolescents. Students should not perform work tasks during shadowing.
Marc Gold & Associates

Focus for Job Shadowing
• Primarily concentrates on student’s interests • Start with Discovery and target direction for possible jobs to shadow based on student’s interests • Assist student to identify discrete tasks performed during shadowing • Time frame per job shadow – up to three hours

General Work Experience Focus
• Often utilizes an array of pre-developed community sites that represents the variety of local economy • Students may rotate through on a set timeframe – two or three months max. • Facilitators should focus on conditions, interests, and skills • Time frame: 1 or 2 days per week, 2 -3 hours per day

Various opportunities exist for in-school work experiences.


Delivering mail, stocking the vending machines, recycling, washing dishes, serving food in the cafeteria…


There are many opportunities for Discovery throughout a school day.


Assessing: academic skills, problem solving, ability to work independently…


General Work Experiences in Middle School
Alex in Middle School • Food bank: stocking food, portioning food, newsletter mailings • School library: shelving books • In-School: newspaper delivery

Alex’s Skills and Tasks:
• • • • • • • • • Follows a written list of tasks Files by letter Types data into computer Folds, stuffs envelopes, labels Follows rules Attends to time Learns routes and layouts Measures out food Stocks and organizes shelves


Alex: what did we learn about conditions and support needs?
• Alex does best when he knows what is next, the schedule, and the length of each activity • He learned to manage his own ‘front loading’ of work information (called in to the food bank) • Following work rules - wearing gloves • Remembers routes and routines • Driven to complete the task • Being flexible


Alex’s Support Needs and Goals
Work Experience & the IEP

• Response when others don’t follow the rules
• School library

• Response when people are in your way and make it difficult to do your job
• Delivering papers throughout the school

• Understanding that your work is driven by a specific production amount or time • Expand his tasks and marketable skills


Matched Work Experiences
Matched Work Experiences refer to unpaid
work experiences in community workplaces that are matched to the student’s interests regarding employment. These matched experiences serve to clarify and affirm interests and also serve to identify the conditions necessary for success and provide an opportunity for specific skill development and exploration. Time and duration must be consistent with DOL guidelines.
Marc Gold & Associates

Focus for Matched Work Experiences
• Experience is defined by matching for interests and focusing on conditions and potential contributions • Developed uniquely for each student • Needs supervision or facilitation by educator in order to identify discrete findings • Time frame: 2 – 4 months; 6 – 8 hrs. wk.

Matched Work Experience around interest to determine skills with children…

Wroudy at a pre-school program


Alex’s Matched Experiences
Interests in kids, computer, books

• CDC: filing, organizing, inventory forms, copy and file forms • Reading to children, support person for summer camp • Kalispell Public Library

Alex’s Matched Work Experiences
The plan for high school:

Expand task list
• Working with children in the summer program, reading, theater • Computers

• Cooking/food preparation • Editing/proof reading • Numbers/math

Identify additional skills

Ian volunteers at the food bank to gain work experience and for support staff to learn about his support needs and skills.


A customized work experience that resulted in a customized job.


A Customized Experience: Hunter stapled and hole punched materials for the Transition Projects. His participation and production doubled during his experience.


Anders mowed lawns for his neighbors as a summer job.


What information are we gathering from work experiences?
Skills Task list Connections Successful support strategies ‘Aha’ moments

Tyler collated fact sheets and assembled packets (including placing stickers on the folders) for the Rural Institute Transition Projects.


Observational Notes
• Tyler collated the 7 different Social Security Fact sheets and created 30 folders in 20 minutes. Upon completion of this task there were 3 of one of the fact sheets left over while the rest were all gone. Tyler flipped through each of the 30 packets looking for any packet that did not have 1 copy of each of the fact sheets. After checking all 30 he walked to his supervisor’s office and told her he was done and that he had a few extra fact sheets.

Observational Notes

• Frank explains to the job coach and Chase that he wants to thin out stuffed animals and throw away older stuffed animals from the youth section of the store. Frank looks directly at Chase and Chase maintains eye contact with Frank. Both the job coach and Chase say “O.K.”. The job coach leads the way to the youth section with a white trash bag. The job coach then holds the trash bag and Chase picks out a stuffed animal, holds it up to the job coach who nods or says “Yup,” and then Chase puts it in the white trash bag. When the task is completed, the job coach gives Chase the trash bag, then tells Chase they are throwing the trash bag away. The job coach leads the way to the garbage can outside and opens the lid and Chase throws the bag in the garbage.


Features of task observation:
 Motivation indicated  Supports offered/used  General Performance: pace, correctness, consistency, stamina  Specific Tasks: what is it?; does general performance vary with tasks?  Connections  Concerns

Work Assessment Summary
• • • • • • Performance of job tasks Supports needed, offered Environmental factors Critical job factors Learning style Recommendations for the next experience

Clarifying Support Needs
• He needs a 1:1 all the time vs. • He needs a predictable schedule and a coworker nearby to remind him to check his list if he looks lost. • Due to her lack of safety skills with strangers she needs to be in supervised setting vs. • We want her to work with familiar people in a nonpublic setting. 36

Teach and Support Independent and Competent Performance
• Do students quality check their own performance? • Do they manage their work tasks? • Transition to new tasks? • Beginning and ending work?


Ian uses written checklists to move from one task to the next on his own.


We are piloting the use of visual strategies to increase her independence.
Street Crossing Kitchen Script When you reach an intersection STOP and “Good morning Dana. How LOOK both ways. If a car many trays of bread sticks is coming wait would you like us to make for you today? “ for that car to stop or pass. _____________________ When there are no cars coming toward you • “How many cans of Pizza Sauce would you like? “ cross the street. ____________

What if you listed your tasks on an iPod? And used the alarms to signal when it was time to head to work or head home?


In order to have a rich full day:
We need to: • Have a clear vision of the outcome • Support the person to self-manage and initiate as much as possible • Understand the ongoing support needs • Inventory existing supports available • Connect to ALL potential services • Creatively blend support to meet those needs

Let’s reframe what we perceive as barriers to employment and community membership into “ideal conditions for success and support needs.”

Focus on how someone can participate, not why they can’t.


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