Transition Planning: How To Avoid the "Black-Hole" Between Graduation and Adulthood

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    Transition PlanningHow To Avoid the "Black-Hole" Between Graduation and Adulthood

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  • Jennifer Kaut, M.Ed., BCBAState Autism and Developmental Disorders Specialist

    Texas Workforce Solutions | Rehabilitation Services Division

    Jennifer Kaut is the State Autism and Developmental Disorders Specialist for Texas Workforce Solutions, Vocational Rehabilitation Services. She provides staff consultation and training and collaborates with stakeholders (employers, school districts, public universities, legislative staff and other state agencies). Jennifer published the first DARS state policy on Applied Behavior Analysis. This enables intervention for consumers who have challenging behaviors or social skill deficits that create barriers in transitioning from school to post-secondary opportunities or obtaining and maintaining employment. Jennifer has published 4 additional state policies that created the first-ever, Autism Endorsement for Employment Specialists (earned through UNT) an Autism Premium and Vocational Assessment for Developmental Disorders. In addition to working with the state of Texas, Jennifer is the Founder and Executive Director of Inspire Behavior Therapy. Inspire Behavior was founded in 2008 and employs Board Certified Behavior Analysts who provide treatment for children and adults with developmental disorders.

    Professionally, Jennifer has expertise treating Developmental Disorders, but she gained the most insight from her role as a mom. Her oldest son came into her life when he was 7 years old. Kevin has DiGeorge Syndrome and autism spectrum disorder. Today, Kevin is a 21-year-old man who has been able to live on his own and learn to drive after receiving intensive supports during his transition to employment. He has been successfully employed at Home Depot for the past 4 years, but a month ago obtained a full time position as a mail clerk for the Texas Workforce Commission. Creating successful transition strategies is her passion.


    What is Transition?

  • Should be a seamless Bridge

  • IF the Bridge to Transition Crumbles

    Students can fall into the Black Hole..

  • Who is at Risk? Students with a Neurodevelopmental Disorder. (Learning Disorders, AD/HD, Autism and Intellectual Developmental Disorders)

    But who is the MOST at Risk?

    Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Students with Autism

    Only 55.1 percent of young adults with autism held paying jobs during their first six years out of high school, the lowest percentage among the disability categories examined.

    9 out of 10 people with Autism are either unemployed or underemployed

    40% of those with Autism that do attempt college, less than half will NOT complete it.

    regardless of their IQ or education level


    Successful Transition Starts With A

  • Successful Transition

    Is purposely driven with clear and concise objectives

    Contains a specific and detailed roadmap that should be established by 9th grade.

  • Successful Transition

    Step 1: 1. A baseline of the students strengths and deficits

    must be determined. In order to obtain this baseline, a thorough transition assessment should be conducted.

  • Successful Transition

    Transition Resources

  • Successful Transition

    Step 2: 1. A working road map is established per the

    results of the transition assessment/s. The road map is adjusted year by year as progress is made or new deficits are discovered.

  • Example of a Road Map: Autism

    9th grade: severe generalized anxiety, cognitive inflexibility and inability to engage people

    10th grade: progress was made with overall anxiety in the school setting, but had not generalized in others


  • Example of a Road Map: ASD

    11th grade: inability to self advocate, inability to identify his strengths and weakness, sudden increase in cognitive inflexibly and still working on social anxiety

    12th grade: peer social engagement , literalism and work stamina



    Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

  • Vocational Rehabilitation

    Is a federal program

    Is available in all states

    Can be accessed if the students disability is a barrier to post secondary options

  • Historically .

    During the graduation ARD, students and parents were handled a brochure and told they could access VR services, but there was no collaboration between the school and this agency existed.

    This contributes to the Black Hole


    Specialized Services for Developmental Disorders

  • Specialized Services Examples:

    Applied Behavior Analysis

    Statewide team of specially trained VR Counselors

    Autism endorsement for Employment Specialists that can be earned through the University of North Texas

  • Specialized Services

    More Examples:

    If they earn the endorsement it enables Employment Specialists to receive a premium for working with Autism clients (of all ages, not just with students)

    New assessment called the Environmental Work Assessment (EWA) is designed to identify variables that effect the clients ability to function at his or her potential


    WIOA Makes Transition a Priority

  • WIOA

    Stands for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

    These new federal regulations contained in WIOA, requires that all VR programs spend at least 15 % of their federal dollars on PRE-Employment Services for students ages 10-22 who have a disability

  • WIOA This establishes transition as a priority when before,

    accessing students while still in school, were not.

    Provides Pre -Employment Services opportunities that had not existed before or were not commonly accessed.

    Creates the opportunity to bridge the gap between transitioning from school to post secondary options

  • WIOA

    Provides the opportunity for a much needed collaboration between schools and VR.

    While VR can not duplicate school services, we can fill in service gaps when the school cannot.

    In Texas, are few examples of what we can provide: in home support, pay for driving lessons, treatments such as Applied Behavior Analysis and help obtaining their first job.

  • To learn more about Accelify find us online at and on social media. For additional information, contact:

    Thank you.

    Transition PlanningHow To Avoid the "Black-Hole" Between

    Graduation and Adulthood

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