A person-centered approach to transition planning can be illustrated in the case of Mr. David Flanagan, a physical education and health teacher at Blackwater Creek Secondary School. Mr. Flanagan understands the importance of supporting students with disability in the development of their self-determination and self-advocacy skills and ensuring that his approach is culturally responsive to individual students and their families. Students who are self-determined are empowered to make decisions and choices for their lives (Wehmeyer, 2015). Explicit instruction for these skills aligns with the student development component of the transition programming taxonomy. One of Mr. Flanagan’s students, Sarah, who is a sixteen-year-old Native American young woman from the St. Regis Band of Mohawk peoples, has a hearing loss. She struggles with verbal directions, particularly when she forgets to wear her hearing aid. Mr. Flanagan is supporting Sarah in taking a leading role in her next meeting in which she will engage in transition planning for her goals Individualized Education Program (IEP). Student-led IEP meetings can provide a means for students to become aware of their individual strengths, preferences, interests, and areas of need so that they will invest in collaboratively setting transition goals and understand what supports they need (Cavendish, Connor, & Rediker, 2017). A teacher guide for facilitating students to develop the self-advocacy skills and knowledge needed to lead to their IEP, Whose Future Is It, is available online at no cost (Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment, 2014). Students who are actively engaged in developing their IEP goals for transition are more likely to take ownership for achieving them. Students can be taught self-management strategies to monitor and evaluate their progress towards meeting their IEP goals (Cavendish et al., 2017).
Mr. Flanagan also wants to ensure that members of Sarah’s family and others with kinship ties from the St. Regis Native American community are engaged in the transition planning process, with an awareness of how cultural expectations related to post-school plans, communication, customs for sharing histories, and values should guide the process. Mr. Flanagan’s approach to transition planning addresses the family engagement component of effective transition programming and strives to be culturally responsive. Some specific strategies to promote family engagement include inviting the parents and supporters to attend the IEP meeting at a time and location that meets their needs and preferences, providing information in an appropriate language, acknowledging families’ contributions and role in developing and evaluating transition plans, and providing parents with opportunities to develop knowledge related to adult services (Cavendish et al., 2017).
Answer the following questions using support from the Povenmire et al. (2015) article from Module 5 Task 4, the Morgan et al. (2017) article from Module Task 7, and/or the IRIS modules on Cultural Competence and Secondary Transition Planning.
1. How might Sarah’s cultural background impact the process for person-centred transition planning?
2. Describe some approaches you would take to support Sarah and her family in this process.