Transitioning Students in Special Education

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Interview and Observation of Students in Transition to Adulthood

Joann Watson

Azusa Pacific University

Special education teachers can teach students in the transition age of 18 to 21, and make an unforgettable impact in their students’ lives. It does not end at the age of 17 or 18 like general education students. The students continue to get better acquainted with job skills, and learning the community, and how it can serve them, and “since 1990, special education law has mandated that secondary school educators, via the IEP team, include a transition goal in the IEPs of students with disabilities,”(Eckes & Ochoa, 2005, p.9). The teacher interviewed for this paper enjoys what she does, and has done so for eleven years. She gave me many facts about how she helps her students plan for independent adult life. The place of the interview was at March Mountain High School, and the title of the program that she teaches is ‘the action program’. We were able to talk inside the classroom. The interview and observation was two hours long. The students were still doing some of their math and writing skills lessons but were about ready to go and get lunch. The students are not disruptive in any way, and although moderate to severe, they were able to communicate their needs in a clear way. The demeanor of the teacher was pleasant and calm. She was very inviting. The classroom had three aides that were in the classroom as well. I felt that the teacher was honest and forthcoming with her answers, and I could tell that she thoroughly enjoys her job. The following will be a list of the questions and answers that were asked of the teacher.

The teacher’s name is Tammy, and she has a moderate to severe credential. She currently teachers 13 plus transition students, but as of now they are all 18 to 21. She has taught for 11 years, but within those years she has taught k-3rd and 6th, 7th, and 8th grades as well. She commented that this age group is by far her favorite. 1. What is the composition of students in your classroom? She currently has seven students with mental retardation, and intellectual disability, two with a specific learning disability, and one with cerebral palsy. 2. Were you involved in the IEP meeting that discussed and planned the placement of the current students into your classroom? The teacher answered yes to the question, but “the main function of the transition IEP team is to determine what transition services are needed to prepare the youth or young adult for life after completing high school,”(Folsom-Meek, Wearing, & Bock, 2007, p41). 3. Besides obtaining your special education credential, what other types of training did you receive in preparation for the students included into your classroom? She relayed to me that she has had ABA training, discreet trial training, transition training, and she has went to autism conferences that offer information for teaching as well. 4. What continual support do you receive in meeting the needs of the students in your classroom? How often? The staff members that are directly in her class everyday have a meeting on Mondays to discuss activities, or updates on anything that they need to communicate about the students. She explained that every Wednesday she meets with the program specialist, and the school psychologist to discuss ideas on behalf of the students. 5. What is the collaboration between you and all the related service individuals who provide support to the students in your classroom? The teacher said that they discuss vocation sites that the students are assigned to, any skills that their IEP reveals that they are to be working on, and staffing for upcoming jobs for the students to participate in. 6. How are you monitoring the progress of the students in your classroom? The teacher expressed that all of her students know the goals that they are working on and towards, and they have a list that they check off to monitor their own...
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