Arlington students get employment through Transitions program

  • Saturday, December 1, 2018 1:30am
  • Opinion

Helping disabled

people in schools

By Dave McKellar

National studies have shown that people with disabilities are much less likely to be employed than those without. Even with passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Act the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the percentage of working-age people with disabilities in the labor force is about one-third that of people with no disability.

Within the IDEA is a mandate for school districts to provide transition services for students with disabilities. Many school districts have developed community-based transition programs.

Arlington Public Schools’ Transitions program was designed for adults with disabilities ages 18-21 who continue to need special education services outside of a 9th-12th grade setting/curriculum. The APS Transitions program is available to eligible students who have not graduated from high school.

APS Transitions focuses on providing learning opportunities for young adults to build vocational, social and independent living skills. It offers experiences where young adults with significant disabilities can imagine and experience situations where living their adult lives as productive, independent and engaged community members is possible.

There is no requirement in the IDEA that transition services be provided on school grounds. An issue that comes up frequently, especially for many 18-21 year-old students, is that while they are entitled to services under the IDEA, their peers without disabilities are no longer in school and, understandably, they do not want to be receiving services in a high school setting with younger students.

This has been the case for Arlington students for many years. The 2018-19 school year brought about many changes to APS Trans-itions. Over the summer, Trans-itions moved from Arlington High School to its new location in a house located on the campus of the district’s Support Services building. District maintenance crews significantly improved portions of the French Avenue House to serve as a safe facility for the program and provide more opportunities for students to access our business community.

Transitions is on its way to providing many new and exciting opportunities for our students with disabilities ages 18-21. Throughout the year, the team will continue to build more varied and robust employment opportunities as well as educate businesses and employers about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.

Dave McKellar is director of Special Education for Arlington Public Schools, which has a monthly column in this newspaper.

More in Opinion

Inslee missed chance on Boeing tax breaks

Jay Inslee had a chance recently to face his muggers. He didn’t… Continue reading

New Lakewood superintendent says, Let’s have a conversation

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, Lakewood students, staff, parents and community members are… Continue reading

Tribes continue to work hard on salmon recovery

Treaty tribes are encouraged by fish passage improvement projects in the Puget… Continue reading

Tips on staying healthy as school starts up again

It’s after Labor Day, and we all know what that means: Summer… Continue reading

Hits and misses

Hits To Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith for his many years of… Continue reading

Marysville hits the road with improvements

One of Marysville’s big priorities is maintaining more than 420 lane-miles of… Continue reading

Talk of recession is just talk

I talk real estate every day and recently I’ve been hearing people… Continue reading

SnoCo working to reduce waste

Reducing waste is a top focus of the Snohomish County Council. There… Continue reading

How to make public hearings more interactive

At Monday’s Marysville School Board meeting, I asked during a public hearing… Continue reading

Marysville School District excited for start of year

By Pete Lundberg There’s nothing quite like the excitement that comes with… Continue reading