Today I participated in an information session regarding the Next Steps Transition Program that the IDEAL School of Manhattan is launching in the fall.
Next Steps is a one, two, or three year program for students aged 18-21 who require additional support to become more independent before transitioning to adulthood whether that may mean higher learning, supportive employment, or something else.
This is particularly exciting for me because helping special needs children transition to adulthood is a mission that has been close to my heart since my 2013 visit to the Ann Sullivan Center, a private special education school in Lima, Peru (see our firm's December 8, 2013 blog post for details).
Here are some of the highlights of the Next Steps program based on today's presentation:
Individualized programming and goals to help students achieve successful outcomes
Student-interest driven programming to increase academic, social, vocational readiness
Greater independence by engaging in community activities
Student-Run Business (i.e., "School Store")
Focus on planning, purchasing, succeeding as a business, advertising, managing inventory, customer service skills, operating cash register
Work on social skills, mathematics, and developing regular and meaningful customer relationships
Career-interest assessment to determine students interest and strengths and match students with internships based on their interests and strengths
Transition support professionals ("job coaches") provided at internship sites
Opportunities to practice work-related social skills
School store, banking, shopping, personal finances, making bank deposits/withdrawals, real-life functional math skills
Literacy & Communication
Current events, topical discussions, public speaking, resume writing, presentations, writing emails and letters
Daily Living Skills
Maintaining a household, hygiene, other activities part of one's daily routine
Nutrition & Health
Technology & Coding
Visual Art / Performance Art
The program will be open to both private pay families in instances where a student has received a high school diploma as well as students who may be eligible for funding pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Feel free to contact our office if you would like to find out if tuition funding may be available to you through your local school district based on your rights pursuant to the IDEA, or if you would like to discuss your particular circumstances further. You can access more information about the Next Steps transition program on the school's website.