All students should develop to their full potential so that they may participate in society with competence, integrity and dignity. Transition planning is important for all students, especially students with a disability. Personalized and precise student transition plans reflect the individual student’s’ strengths and needs and provide the foundation for a successful transition from school to community living.
Transition planning is about change, the preparation to leave school and participate in the community as an adult citizen and a valued member of society. The Transition Plan for community participation should be individual and be based on the person’s interests, strengths, challenges and lifestyle.
When determining choices, students should consider their interests, skills, experience and future goals. It can be beneficial to gather information on the labour market and contact not-for-profit agencies and organizations that can assist goal setting with workshops, individual information meetings and networking. There may be a process or several stages to achieving a goal; i.e., continued education leading to employment or volunteering leading to paid employment.
Cooperative Education is a planned learning experience, for which credits are earned, that integrates classroom theory and learning experiences at the workplace. This is an excellent way to gain work experience, make connections out in the community and establish future goals.
Supported Work Experience is a non-credit program for secondary aged students with a disability that builds a transition plan through experiential learning to increase community participation and postsecondary goal setting. The student is supported by an Educational Assistant Job Coach to build independence, social and behavioural skills and transferable work skills. The experiences may lead to recreation, volunteer, continued education and/or employment.
Many community programs must be accessed by referral through Contact Hamilton (under age 18) or through Developmental Services Ontario (18 years and older). Other programs may be contacted directly by the participant or their family or guardian.
For more information on community living and placements, contact your guidance counsellor or visit your student services department.