Figuring Out the Guidebooks: The value of real, individual transition goals in a Transition Service Plan

The key to reaching your goals is this: know what you want. The most important component of a transition plan is your ultimate vision for employment and independence. Transition goals reflect the big picture goals after a student finishes high school. These goals usually revolve around preparing for employment, training, developing life skills, and becoming…

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Preparing for the Trip: High School Work Experience

Did you know that a paid job in high school is one of the strongest predictors of community employment for the two years following high school for students with significant disabilities? In fact, those students with paid work during high school are almost 3 times more likely to have community employment after high school. So…

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Seeing the Destination: Becoming a Leader

Students with disabilities, like any other student, also have the capacity to become insightful and skillful leaders when we give them opportunities to build those skills. It may start with being line leader in elementary school and then blossom into becoming a leader in a school club, Sunday school class, sports team, or Scout troop.…

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Passing the Bumps in the Road: Low Employment Rates

Competitive, integrated employment is really the next frontier for people with disabilities, particularly those with autism, multiple disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. Competitive, integrated employment means that people with disabilities earn at least minimum wage and work in the community like everyone else. Competitive, integrated employment also means they have opportunities for benefits and growth like people…

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Passing the Bumps in the Road: Adapting to COVID-19

Even during these crazy times, I have been able to keep working as administrative assistant for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky (DSACK). I work from home in my own office setup and put in as many hours a day as I can helping out the staff. Working from home during the pandemic has…

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Hitting Major Obstacles in the Road: Employment and COVID-19

Our 20-year-old son, Andy, officially started a break from his grocery store job on March 16 as COVID-19 started spreading where we live. This was an incredibly hard decision for us because we didn’t know how long this break would last. We were very worried at first because if an employee is normally off the…

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Avoiding Detours: Drive Past the Cliff and Follow the Road to Employment

Did you know that only 13% of youth with autism and youth with significant developmental disabilities in Kentucky are employed competitively one year after they leave high school? We’re not talking about the “unemployment rate” like you normally hear about on the news. We’re talking about the percentage of these youth who are actually working…

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Figuring the Budget: Student Earned Income Exclusion

What some people don’t realize is that working students often won’t lose any of their SSI cash benefit while in school or a training program. The Student Earned Income Exclusion means that students under age 22 can earn up to $1,985 per month (up to a total of $7670 annually) and still receive their full…

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Milestones: Getting a High School Job by Grayson Kemplin

15-year-old Grayson Kemplin is the Social media assistant at the Human Development Institute. He is also an Autistic self advocate, serves on Kentucky Protection & Advocacy’s Developmental Disability Board, and participates in conferences. I became involved with the KentuckyWorks Initiative when I attended a post-secondary community conversation they sponsored. I learned that being ready for…

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