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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Graduation! Prepare for what comes next...





T.S. Eliot in his famous poem The Quartets says we “...arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” and he goes on to say "In my beginning is my ending". Nothing could be truer when it comes to young adults with learning issues graduating from high school. As they venture off to next steps in the world, they begin anew. Although this path is new, many steps they will take are familiar.

Because of the rigor it took to graduate from High School, they are well on their way to being successful with a new set of challenges. No matter what is next for your young adult, a few steps properly taken at this momentous time can preserve options and smooth the road later.


And... here is fair warning about a few obstacles as your kids with learning issues venture out into the world! There is a tendency to engage in what I call “Hope-a-Hope-a”: to believe a learning issue is understood and no longer a challenge. In essence, there can be a little feeling deep down inside that says “I have graduated from my learning issue”! This is just not true! What is guaranteed to happen, however, is that new experiences with their learning issue will arise. 

Summary of Performance 
IDEA, the legislation that covers kids with learning issues while in primary and secondary schools, requires that a local education agency provide a summary of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance. Completing this is an important step to take on making a good start with what ever new beginning the student is embarking upon. This Summary of Performance (SOP) should include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting post-secondary goals. Creating a summary of their achievement and performance at graduation can help with educational, work and other options later in life.

What goes into a (SOP) - Summary of Performance
The SOP should contain the following information to make it as usable as possible in the future.
·      Background Information    This section requests that copies of the most recent formal and informal assessments that document the child’s learning issues be included.
·      Students Post secondary Goals   These goals should indicate the post high school environment the student has plans of transitioning to upon completion of high school.
·      Summary of Performance This section has three critical areas:
o   Cognitive
o   Academic
o   Functional
The student’s present level of performance in each area should be addressed as well as modifications, accommodations and assistive technology used.
·      Recommendations to assist the student in meeting Post Secondary Goals   A description of essential accommodations, assistive technology and support services the student will need to access their post secondary goals.
·      Student Input Student input to these reports is essential to its clarity for both the student and those that will use the report in the future. The student may fill this section out independently or through a student interview. 
How Do I Get Started on an SOP?
A template for the SOP can be downloaded from the LDA website at www.ldamerica.org It is available to be freely copied or adapted for educational purposes. Hats off to the National Transition Team for making this available for all!

Take a moment in the midst of your graduation celebrations to plan for the future for your student with learning disabilities. It is just plain smart to request a thorough SOP from your school as a parting “gift”.  It will prove useful in the future!

Warmly,
Becky
Parents, do you have questions raising your child with learning issues? You can raise confident capable kids despite learning issues. Reach out for answers to your most perplexing questions today!

Becky Scott

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