The number one fear of parents with children with learning differences is “What will my child do after high school?” Statistically, 80% of young adults with learning disorders are unemployed for most of their adult lives. This is an alarming statistic. At the Academy of St. Louis we are changing that paradigm with our unique transition program. Our transition team will help the student identify their goals and give the student the tools, skills and confidence they need to attain their goal.
The Academy of St. Louis provides a personalized and challenging academic curriculum, helping our students successfully transition from the Academy of St. Louis either by continuing their education at the post-secondary level, a trade school, or gain employment. Our team has partnered with the University of Missouri, KC to educate our staff using their framework to help organize the student’s ideas, vision, and goals, as well as problem-solve to help them reach their potential.
Helping each student reach their maximum potential and life goal is our number one priority. Executive Director, Terri O’Daniel – “This is the true measure of our success; providing each student with the necessary tools to succeed in life.”
It is our thinking that schools, families, and students themselves contribute to this process to make it successful. The following lists summarize the key points that we feel are important ones to consider when conducting a comprehensive transition planning process.
How schools can best prepare students for life after high school:
- Teach important life skills within the curriculum;
- Develop self-determination/ self-advocacy skills;
- Assess and plan comprehensively for transition needs;
- Provide instruction in relation to knowledge and skills needed for adult living;
- Provide community-based experiences when possible
How families can assist in the successful transition to adulthood:
- Become informed about the demands of adulthood and the transition planning process;
- Participate in the transition planning process;
- Seek assistance when needed;
- Advocate for their children.
How students can contribute to the transition effort:
- Identify their own preferences and interests;
- Understand their strengths and their challenges;
- Get involved as a contributing member in the transition process;
- Know where and how to access supports and services.
There is an increased probability that a student, and his or her family, will be better prepared to deal with the demands of adulthood upon leaving school. However, the long-term impact of effective transition planning is reflected in successful adult outcomes for those students who benefit from systematic preparation for life after secondary school.