9 Ways to Improve Student Transition: Autism Spectrum, Disabilities, and ‘At Risk’

Do you work with students in transition and worry about how they will get or keep a job after high school? This blog will offer new perspective. Briefly I will reveal the problem and next the 9 solutions.

Student transition to a job or college in our society operates on the ‘Vertical Approach’, which is an upward movement from one phase of life to the next. Examples include: high school student to college student, or high school student to employee. But the vertical approach doesn’t work for every student. I introduce to you the ‘Lateral Approach’ to increase transition outcomes.

Problem Revealed
According to data reported in article
more Kentucky high schoolers are graduating, but not prepared for college or the workforce.

Data show 90 percent of Kentucky’s students graduated, but only 60 percent were college or career ready. The numbers were much worse with African-American students and students disabilities, with career readiness rates of 32 percent and 25 percent.

The national level data is equally discouraging for students with disabilities.

Nine Solutions
1. Use ‘a lateral approach, a creative process that applies a step-by-step approach to enable student to make effective transitions. Let me offer an analogy. Just as a car that comes to a dead stop at the end of a street, the driver must use its reverse gear to get out of being stuck. A driver wouldn’t use the reverse to drive all the time, only when needed. The same process can be applied to students with disabilities in transition. We must create Career Readiness (CR) Programs using the ‘lateral approach’ (creative steps) that move h/her forward. For some students, effectiveness in transition is dependent upon an art form, requiring school personnel to think ‘out of the box’. Thus, the ‘vertical approach’ is not eliminated for students, it is only enhanced by the ‘lateral approach’.

How can school personnel use the lateral approach to enhance effective transitions for students with Autism Spectrum, Disabilities, and ‘At Risk’?

2. Use assessments that look beyond academic areas and look into multiple intelligences that draw upon student curiosities about careers and noting their experiences in career exploration.
Drop using a student’s IQ as a criteria to determine if the student can enter and/or benefit from a CR Program.

3. Use tools that reflect a student’s personal preferences and the need for supports to enhance predictability, focus, and on-the-job decision-making.
Drop using a perceived functional cognitive adaptive ability about a student. This perception can lead to denying h-her access to a CR program.

4. Use and practice acceptance that all students can enter and benefit from a CR program.
Drop criteria that denies a student’s entry into CR program based upon h-her family’s low income household or situation.
Drop demographic labels that deny student CR access: students of color, ethnicity, or disability.

5. Use tools that help student self-evaluate their own individuality, strengths, and unique abilities.
Drop academic ability and test scores as criteria for entry into CR programs.
Drop using diagnoses/co-morbidity as a reason a student cannot benefit from a CR program.

6. Use strength-based assessments and see the student’s unique abilities and interests that can lead to a career to explore.
Drop seeing behavior as a criteria to be corrected and changed before a student enters into a CR program. A student’s behaviors may change with new engagement and new interests.

7. Use actions to show that you believe in the student. See student as one who can make strides in a CR program.
Drop judgement that may instill disbelief in h-herself. Your belief about the student having strengths and abilities can motivate the student to initiate or follow through with steps required to get employed and face the on-the-job obstacles. Promote self-determination.

8. Use student self-evaluations to encourage student self-awareness. When the student gains self-awareness with self-advocacy activities, h-she is introduced to safe and effective ways of responding to on-the-job demands or problems. When self-advocacy is practiced, accountability to a job or college can be accomplished.
Drop any perceptions you may have about performance of task skills equals overall employment success. Rather, it is the self-awareness development and self-advocacy training that promotes social and emotional capability to adapt to a job or college.

9. Use the framework of ‘interdependence’ in Career Readiness Programs. Students need to hear from you the professional that we are all interdependent and rely on supports.
Drop the requirement and stigma that they must achieve ‘independence’ in all things. Teach students when they work and contribute among others, they are showing increased ability to perform on the job. We live in a very interdependent world, so should individuals with disabilities recognize that it is acceptable to use ‘interdependence’ to pursue their goals.

1. Teachers/ Professionals/Parents —Do you want your students to know their strengths and careers that match?
Give your students the Strength and Career Index©
for only $9.99 use Discount Code: INDEX65 Go to marquettestrengthsindex.com

2. If you want to learn more about Jackie giving a training to use these unique career readiness tools with curriculum, call me at 502 417-6063 or email me drjackie@marquettestrengthsindex.com

3. Look for my weekly program on Linked In ‘Autism Interdependence Matters’

Lastly, I look forward in emailing you information about courses I am offering, tools, and videos.

Thank you.
Have a nice day.

Jackie Marquette Ph.D.
Autism Interdependent Strategist