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Transition from school to the community can mean many things: finding a job, starting a certificate program, entering community college, attending a four-year program etc. Transition also means changes to supports, such as health care, social security benefits, where to live, and many other areas of life. Most importantly, it means making decisions for one's self and self-determination. You will find resources on all of these topics and more in this section.

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Posted on 01/13/2016

The transition to adulthood for youth with ID/DD:

A review of research, policy and next steps

Helpful resources for youth with ID/DD transitioning to adulthood. 

Posted on 01/13/2016

Together Beyond the School Day:

Including Youth with Disabilities In Out of School Time Programs

For many parents and guardians of children with disabilities, finding safe and accessible out of school time activities can be a difficult and frustrating process. This booklet is designed to answer key questions for parents, young people and providers, explain relevant laws and connect both parents and providers with organizations that can help them meet the needs of all children.

Posted on 01/13/2016

Transition to Adulthood: A Health Care Guide for Youth and Families

This guide is intended to help young people with disabilities and their families plan for the transition to adulthood in health care contexts. It includes information on how to ensure that young adults have the support they need to make healthcare decisions, how to access continued healthcare coverage and decide which kind of coverage to get, and how to find an adult-oriented doctor.

Posted on 01/13/2016

Transitioning teens with autism spectrum disorders

For parents and guardians of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), the transition to adulthood can evoke feelings of uncertainty, unpreparedness, and fear – in even the most passionately loving, competent parents. You may have finally begun to feel comfortable with your child’s education and treatment, and now you must face an entirely new set of daunting challenges. 

Posted on 01/13/2016

Work, Assistive Technology and Transition-Aged Youth

This article will describe how AT can assist individuals with severe disabilities to overcome barriers to gainful employment, with a focus on transition-aged youth (i.e., youth with disabilities who are moving from special education programs to training programs, college and/or work). 

Posted on 12/10/2015

Family Engagement Framework

A tool for California school districts

In support of establishing strong, healthy, and systematic school, family, and community partnerships statewide, the California Department of Education (CDE) engaged the assistance of the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd (CA CC) to develop a tool describing expectations and implementation strategies for integrated family engagement within state educational programs. This Family Engagement Framework is intended to provide guidance to educators, districts, schools, families, and communities as they plan, implement, and evaluate strategies across multiple programs for effective family engagement to support student achievement and close the academic achievement gap.

Posted on 12/10/2015

How to Build Recruitment and Engagement of Low-income Populations

The goal of this research project was to document service provider and researcher (a) methods of recruitment, (b) assessment of what works and does not work, (c) BARRIERS, (d) resources needed for success, and (e) retention strategies. The report includes a discussion on recruitment, use of incentives, challenges, as well as retention and communication strategies. 247 services providers and 65 researchers across North America took part in the study.

Posted on 12/10/2015

Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement

Youth development is the process by which youth make the transition from childhood to adulthood. All youth have essential needs that must be met if they are to make this transition successfully. These needs fall into 5 categories: mental health, physical health, civic and social involvement, intellectual health, and employability. Effective youth services programs. Effective youth services programs meet the needs of youth in each of those 5 categories.

Posted on 09/21/2015

Creating Environments That Work for All Youth:

Increasing the Use of Evidence-Based Strategies by Special Education Teachers

Using instructional strategies grounded in strong empirical foundations will improve the educational outcomes of students in both general and special education. The President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education (PCESE) recommends the replacement of an established “culture of compliance” with a “culture of results” built on improved instruction supported by research and ensured by increased accountability (PCESE, 2002). One issue ofThe Journal of Special Education highlighted a series of research-based instructional practices for children with disabilities (Cook & Schirmer, 2003). The special education literature contains several research syntheses and meta-analyses of evidence-based practices (e.g., Forness, Kavale, Blum, & Lloyd, 1997; Gersten, Schiller, & Vaughn, 2000). However, the consensus in the field is that there is a vast gap between practices proven to be successful through research and what is practiced in our schools (Greenwood, 2001). The failure to implement and sustain effective practices in the classroom has been offered as a major explanation for the poor outcomes for special education students (Greenwood & Abbott, 2001; Landrum, Tankersley, & Kauffman, 2003). With a goal of increasing the use of evidence-based practices in special education programs and improve student outcomes, a research demonstration project was developed through a unique partnership of special educators, parents, administrators, and investigators. This brief reports on the method, implementation, and initial findings from this project

Posted on 09/21/2015

Engaging People with Disabilities:

Promoting Health Through Program Integration

This enclosed Integration Packet has been designed to help with implementation on many levels. It includes practical strategies, sample protocols, examples of educational materials, to-do lists, and model language that can be easily incorporated into existing program activities.

Posted on 09/21/2015

Family Information Guide to Assisitve Technology and Transition Planning

This guide contains: an introduction to transition planning and assistive technology, how to make a successful transition with your assistive technology, law governing accommodations and transition in birth-12 & postsecondary settings.  

Posted on 09/21/2015

Models of Collaboration and Cost Sharing in Transition Programming

Most funding for state and local transition programs that serve youth with disabilities depends on the authority of three federal laws—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title I of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, found under Title IV of WIA. Because these three laws provide funding from separate federal agencies, states have various structures for providing related services (Timmons, 2004). This separation of funds and programs has often led to schools and human service agencies that serve individuals with disabilities functioning in isolation or from uncoordinated agendas (Crane, Gramlich, & Peterson, 2004). Fortunately, many state and local educational and human service organizations, with encouragement from federal funding agencies, are forming partnerships that seek to coordinate agendas and collaborate with as many stakeholder groups as possible. To be successful and sustaining, these collaborations must be able to work together, share resources, and find creative and flexible ways to fund programs and share the financial burden. This brief describes two funding tools that are increasingly used in collaborative relationships. Both blended funding and braided funding pool financial resources to maximize outcomes. These tools can be instrumental in maintaining and sustaining effective relationships in transition programming.

Posted on 09/21/2015

The Role of Parents in Dropout Prevention: Strategies that Promote Graduation and School Achievement

Graduating from high school is a cornerstone of future success. Although students with disabilities may face obstacles to completing their education, parents can play a key role in helping their children achieve this goal. By staying involved, focusing on individual strengths, finding the right school setting, and holding high expectations, parents can help their children prepare for successful adulthood.

Posted on 09/21/2015

Transition Planning

Community Mapping as a Tool for Teachers and Students

Community mapping is a tool grounded in a school-to-careers research base that can aid educators’ efforts in matching students’ transition needs with community assets. It is also a tool that can build teachers’ knowledge and awareness of community assets to create more effective transition plans. Additionally, it is an instructional activity that helps students explore organizations as well as career opportunities in their community. Community mapping can be a geographical mapping of a target community (concrete mapping) or an abstract mapping of assets or services within a target community (abstract mapping). Either way, it is a contextualized teaching and learning (CTL) approach that can acquaint teachers with the target community’s culture, resources, transition assets, and needs.

Posted on 09/21/2015

Transitions for Children and Youth

How Occupational Therapy Can Help

A guide on how Occupation Therapy can help children and youth transition. 

Posted on 09/21/2015

What does Health Have to do with Transition? Everything!

This Parent Brief provides information on the benefits of and strategies for including health in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process.

Posted on 09/16/2015

Blazing the Trail:

A New Direction for Youth Development & Leadership

In August 2007, more than 200 youth and adults came together in Washington D.C. to discuss what action steps should be done to ensure that young people are best prepared to move successfully from youth to adulthood. A major purpose of the event, called Blazing the Trail: A New Direction in Youth Development & Leadership, was to talk about improvements that should be made in laws, policies, and ways that adults communicate with youth. This is a report out. 

Posted on 09/16/2015

Bullying and Children and Youth with Disabilities and Special Health Needs

Special considerations are needed when addressing bullying in youth with disabilities. There are resources to help kids with disabilities who are bullied or who bully others. Youth with disabilities often have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or Section 504 plans that can be useful in crafting specialized approaches for preventing and responding to bullying. These plans can provide additional services that may be necessary. Additionally, civil rights laws protect students with disabilities against harassment.

Posted on 09/16/2015

Effects of Peer Support Interventions on Students' Access to the General Curriculum

and Social Interactions

The findings indicated that changes in the configuration of peer support arrangements differentially affected student outcomes. Specifically, higher levels of social interaction and contact with the general curriculum were observed when students with disabilities worked with two peers relative to one peer. The additive benefits of a second peer provide guidance to educators concerning the implementation of peer support interventions in inclusive classrooms.

Posted on 09/16/2015

Occupational Therapy's Role in Mental Health Promotion

Prevention, & Intervention with Children & Youth Inclusion of Children with Disabilities

Occupational therapy practioners use meaningful activities to help children and youth participate in what they need and/or want to do in order to promote physical and mental health and well-being. Occupational therapy practitioners focus on participation in the following areas: education, play and leisure, social interaction, activities of daily living (e.g., eating, dressing, hygiene), instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., meal preparation, shopping), sleep and rest, and work. These are the usual occupations of childhood. Task analysis is used to identify factors (e.g., sensory, motor, social-emotional, cognitive) that may limit successful participation across various settings, such as at school, at home, and in the community. Activities and accommodations are used in intervention to promote successful performance in these settings.

Posted on 09/16/2015

Youth Development and Youth Leadership Program

This brief describes how administrators and policymakers can use the concepts of youth development and youth leadership in developing and administering programs that serve all youth and activities specifically geared toward youth with disabilities. 

Posted on 09/16/2015

Youth Leadership Forums—Providing Leadership Development Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities

Years of youth development research have yielded consensus by researchers, practitioners, and government representatives regarding what young people need for healthy development (Eccles & Gootman, 2002). Both environmental and social factors are now seen as critical elements for youth develpment programs. Addressing these factors creates a foundation for the development of a healthy sense of self and the formation of a positive identity—traits especially important for youth with disabilities. The combination of environmental and social factors also creates 1) a holistic platform for providing support services to youth with disabilities, and 2) the necessary conditions for youth to become leaders.   This brief outlines findings of youth development research, describes the components and benefits of Youth Leadership Forums (YLFs), and introduces the Iowa and Kansas YLFs.  

Posted on 09/16/2015

Youth Leadership Toolkit

The target audience of this Youth Leadership Toolkit, consisting of a DVD and guidebook, is Family to Family Health Education Centers (Family Voices), parents, young adult self-advocates, healthcare providers, physicians, disability service organizations, and family members, but it may also prove useful for teachers and other individuals or organizations who work with youth with disabilities. The purpose is to increase understanding of the importance of the perspectives that youth and young adults bring and to provide information and tools that help to effectively include them in addressing the challenges of transitioning to adulthood and increased independence. 

Posted on 09/15/2015

Friendship Matters: Fostering Social Relationships in Secondary Schools

A paper exploring the positive effect of friendships and strategies on how to foster productive relationships with peers.   

Posted on 09/15/2015

Teaching Functional Life Skills to Youth with Disabilities

This practice-based systematic review summarizes the scientifically-based research studies that have been produced in the past two decades focused on the effects of interventions associated with domestic/self-help life skills curricula, community participation life skills curricula, and recreation/leisure life skills curricula, on secondary-aged youth with disabilities. 

Posted on 09/14/2015

Increasing Social Interaction Among Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities

and Their General Education Peers: Effective Interventions

This paper provides a critical analysis of 26 empirical interventions aimed at promoting social interaction among adolescents with inellectual disabililtes and their general education peers in middle and high school settings.  

Posted on 09/14/2015

Opening Doors to Employment

Planning for Life After High School

This is  a handbook created to provide guidance to the stakeholders (students, parents, school counselor) on how to effectively develop employment goals during Individualized Education Program (IEP) team in developing your employment goals.  

Posted on 09/14/2015

Preparing for a Transition IEP Meeting

A newsletter from the Parent Advisory Council with strategies on how to prepare for a transition IEP meeting. 

Posted on 09/14/2015

Preparing Youth and Young Adults for Apprenticeship Programs

This guide provides insight into transition planning with a focus on assessing a youth's interests, aptitiudes and abiliites. 

Posted on 09/14/2015

Promoting Positive Social Interactions in an Inclusion Setting for Students with Learning Disabiliti

The National Association of Special Education Teachers produced a guide on promoting positive social interactions in an inclusion setting for students with learning disabilities.  

Posted on 09/14/2015

Teens on IEPs: Making My "Transition" Services Work for Me

This brief explains how schools and families can supplement the required IEP by using an opition Individual Learning Plan as a tool to help youth successfully tranistion from high school to employemnt and post secondary education. 

Posted on 08/14/2015

"Dare to Dream" by LeDerick Horne

Wordsmith, LeDerick Horne, invites you to merge 'who you are' with 'who you want to be' in his poem "Dare to Dream."

Posted on 08/10/2015

Home remodeling for disability and special needs: What you need to know

For many people, owning and maintaining a home is one of the most significant investments they ever make. But for individuals and veterans living with disabilities or special needs, or seniors aging in place, the fact that much of the world outside is not built to accommodate their needs magnifies the value of a comfortable home. It’s vital they and their loved ones have access to the best resources about how to make their homes livable and enjoyable.

Posted on 08/09/2015

Teaching using mediated communication

Introduction to using mediated communication in an university classroom. Also, some follow up interviews that place the students in the interpreter role. There are two forms of mediated communication in use: a low tech letter board and a high tech ECOpoint system. Many thanks to all who interviewed for the footage and for the openness perceived in their participation

Posted on 08/07/2015

Becoming a Medicaid Provider of Family and Youth Peer Support

Considerations for Family Run Organizations

This resource provides guidance to family run organizations that are considering whether to become Medicaid providers of family and youth peer support. It uses examples from three states – Arizona, Maryland, and Rhode Island – to illustrate key aspects of this decision and process in becoming a Medicaid family and youth peer support provider.

Posted on 08/07/2015

Bully Prevention in Positive Behavior Support

As discussed, Bully Prevention in Positive Behavior Support describes a 3 step response to problem behavior, including “Stop”, “Walk”, and “Talk. This terminology is adequate for most settings, but for some (particularly older students), this language may seem childish or “uncool”. Therefore, the language used for each of the three steps should be discussed prior to program implementation.

Posted on 08/07/2015

From Poverty to Child Welfare Involvement: The Critical Role of Housing in Family Stability

Economic security and safe, stable, and affordable housing are critical to the well-being of all children, youth and families. Poverty places families with children at risk of experiencing a wide array of life-changing experiences and unhealthy outcomes, including homelessness and involvement with the child welfare system.

Posted on 08/07/2015

Housing and Education Collaborations to Serve Homeless Children, Youth, and Families

Best Practices in Interagency Collaboration Brief Series

This brief is designed for staff of homeless assistance programs and members of Continuums of Care (CoCs) funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as well as for State Coordinators for Homeless Education and local homeless education liaisons who operate under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The brief provides basic information to help homeless service providers and homeless education staff understand each other’s role in supporting children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness, while offering tools to enhance collaboration among agencies.

Posted on 08/07/2015

Housing and Outreach Strategies for Rural Youth

Best Practices from the Rural Youth Survey

Major causes of rural homelessness include high rates of poverty and unemployment, a lack affordable housing and inadequate incomes. There is an even more acute dearth of literature relating to the prevalence and plight of rural youth experiencing homelessness.

Posted on 08/07/2015

Housing for Homeless Youth

With over two million youth experiencing at least one night of homelessness each year—and over a hundred thousand more leaving child welfare, juvenile justice, and the child mental health system—America must find increased housing resources for youth living without their parents, or unaccompanied, homeless youth.

Posted on 08/07/2015

How States Can Support Older Youth in Fostercare

Youth who age out of the foster care system are more likely than their non–foster care peers to be involved with the criminal justice system, have low educational attainment, become pregnant, experience homelessness, and lack health insurance. 2 One study showed, for example, that a mere 6 percent of foster youth had completed a two- or fouryear postsecondary degree by age 23 or 24, compared with 29 percent of their peers. 3 A startling 77 percent of female foster youth became pregnant by age 23 or 24, compared with just 40 percent of their peers in the general population. 4 In general, individuals who leave foster care at age 18 are more apt to grow into adults who will require long-term government support and who experience lifelong difficulties.

Posted on 08/07/2015

Looking to the Future

Youth and Housing in Rural America

The Housing Assistance Council recently published an edition of Rural Voices dedicated to the housing needs of seniors and older rural residents. That issue highlighted the reality that the senior population in rural America is growing in part because younger people tend to leave these areas for the cities and suburbs.

Posted on 08/07/2015

Positive Behavior Support for Children and Youth

Since 1996, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) has formally endorsed positive behavior support as the systematic approach for intervention and prevention of challenging behaviors. The literature indicates that positive behavior support with parental and/or caregiver involvement and technical support is an effective intervention for children and youth with developmental disabilities, including autism and other disorders, and can significantly prevent and reduce severe challenging behaviors. 

Posted on 08/07/2015

Program-Wide Positive Behavior Support:

Supporting Young Children's Social-Emotional Development and Addressing Challenging Behavior

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) describes a process for addressing children’s challenging behavior that is based on an understanding of the purpose of the behavior and a focus on teaching new skills to replace challenging behavior. Over the last 20 years, there has been an accumulation of evidence that the use of PBS can result in decreases in problem behavior and assisting individuals with challenging behavior and their families in achieving their desired lifestyle.

Posted on 08/07/2015

Seeking Shelter

The Experiences and Unmet Needs of LGBT Homeless Youth

In 2010, the Center for American Progress issued a landmark report on homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, youth. “On the Streets: The Federal Response to Gay and Transgender Homeless Youth” explored the drivers of homelessness among LGBT youth, the experiences they have on the street, and proposed federal interventions that could help address the epidemic of homelessness among LGBT children and young adults. 

Posted on 08/07/2015

Supporting Homeless Children and Youth through Proactive and Positive Behavior Management

Research Summary

A well-established body of research finds that children living in poverty have a higher risk of developing a variety of social, emotional, and behavioral problems (Armstrong, 2009; Eamon, 2001). Children who are homeless face all the adversities that children in poverty face, along with the additional risks associated with unstable housing (Murphy & Tobin, 2011; Samuels, Shinn, & Buckner, 2010; Wadsworth, Raviv, Reinhard, & Wolff, 2008). 

Posted on 08/07/2015

The Role of Housing in the Transition Process of Youth and Young Adults: A Twenty-year Perspective

IN 1981, LIGHTHOUSE YOUTH SERVICES, a private nonprofit agency in Cincinnati, Ohio, began one of the first independent living programs for adolescents in the state. The local county children’s services supervisors and Lighthouse administrators had been hearing numerous stories of youth who had left the county’s foster and group homes and were discharged from county custody, only to return several months later stating that they were homeless. The youth were reporting that they had learned a lot from various placements, but their families remained dysfunctional and were still unable to provide a stable place for them to live

Posted on 08/07/2015

What Works to End Youth Homelessness?

What We Know Now

The definition of homeless youth can vary, but for the purposes of this paper “homeless youth” or “unaccompanied homeless youth” are used interchangeably and refer to an individual, 12–24 years of age, who is living on their own, without a parent or guardian, and lacks a stable or permanent address.1 Transition-aged youth (TAY)2 , 18 to 24 years old, are one of the fastest growing homeless populations and require unique housing and services because they are still developing as young adults and need support until they are able to support themselves, gain life experience, and transition to adulthood.  

Posted on 07/20/2015

Access to Mental Health Care

January 2013

This Adolescent Health Highlight describes barriers to treating adolescent mental health disorders; discusses the connection between insurance status and access to mental health treatment; and explains funding for adolescent mental health services. 

Posted on 07/20/2015

Addressing the Mental Health Problems of Border and Immigrant Youth

A Culture and Trauma Special Report from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (January 2013)

For health care professionals on the front lines of providing mental health and trauma care to Latino children and families in the United States–Mexico border region, it is crucial to understand the diverse cultural, socioeconomic, environmental, and political factors that daily impact the lives of their clients/ patients. Equally important, such clinicians need to implement culturally competent care while simultaneously addressing the families’ misconceptions and knowledge gaps about the causes of mental health problems and their treatment. 

Posted on 07/20/2015

Adolescent Mental Health in the United States

June 2009

Adolescence is a critical period for mental, social, and emotional wellbeing and development. During adolescence, the brain undergoes significant developmental changes, establishing neural pathways and behavior patterns that will last into adulthood.

Posted on 07/20/2015

Anxiety Disorders

Everyone experiences anxiety as a response to stress from time to time, even children. Mild anxiety can help a young person cope with a difficult or challenging situation, such as taking an exam, by channeling that anxiety into positive behaviors, e.g., reviewing course material ahead of time in order to prepare for the exam. However, when anxiety is constantly present and appears to be an irrational fear of familiar activities or situations, then it is no longer a coping mechanism but rather a disabling condition (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, n.d.).

Posted on 07/20/2015

Better Solutions for Youth with Mental Health Needs in the Juvenile Justice System

Many of these youth are unnecessarily placed in or referred to the juvenile justice system for relatively minor, non-violent offenses, often in a misguided attempt to obtain treatment services that are lacking in the community.6 However, the unfortunate irony of this approach is that the mental health services typically available to youth in the juvenile justice system are often inadequate or simply unavailable, as documented by a series of investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Posted on 07/20/2015

Bullying Prevention and Friendship Promotion

Bullying is considered one of the most common forms of violence in schools and as such, most schools have adopted programs to reduce bullying and create emotionally and physically safe places contexts for learning (Espelage & Swearer, 2003; National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, 2009). Approximately one in three students ages 12–18 years report being bullied during the past year, with peak ages being 11–13. Forty nine states have passed anti-bullying laws (http://

Posted on 07/20/2015

Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is defined as is a condition in which excessive body fat negatively affects a child’s overall health or well-being across all environments, including home, school, and the community. Obesity is further defined as an individual with a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender. The most common causes are genetic factors or family history of obesity; decreased participation in physical activities; unhealthy eating patterns or behaviors; and, in rare cases, medical conditions.

Posted on 07/20/2015


Everyone feels sad or “blue” at times, even children and teens. However, youth who experience prolonged and variable periods of sadness may have a more serious medical condition, such as major depressive or dysthymic disorders. Depression is classified as a mood disorder with cyclical symptoms that can disappear and reappear. These symptoms can interfere with a young person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, resulting in difficulties with occupational performance and overall well-being. 

Posted on 07/20/2015

Employer's Pocket Guide on Youth Employment

Through the YouthRules! initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor and its strategic partners seek to promote positive and safe work experiences for young workers. YouthRules! strives to educate teens, parents, educators, employers and the public on Federal and State rules regarding young workers. Components of the initiative include a website (, printed materials like this guide, outreach events, training seminars, and partnering activities. 

Posted on 07/20/2015

From Promise to Practice:

Mental Health Models that Work for Children and Youth

This Toolkit highlights effective prevention and intervention strategies for children, from birth to young adulthood, with an emphasis on meeting the mental health and related needs of children and youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. It is not meant to address all youth mental health issues and treatment models. Rather, our goal is to emphasize what we consider to be the most effective, and most promising, family- and community-based treatment models that improve mental health and related outcomes for children and youth living within, or returning to, those families and communities. 

Posted on 07/20/2015

Grief and Loss

Grief is conflicting feelings caused by a change in or an end to a familiar pattern of behavior (James, Friedman, & Landon Matthews, 2001).This broad definition encompasses a wide variety of losses that might result in grieving, including death of a loved one (e.g., parent, friend), parental divorce, a major move, death of a pet, military deployment of a parent, or loss of function as a result of illness or injury. 

Posted on 07/20/2015

Integrating Mental Health into Chronic Disease Prevention Strategies for Youth:

An Opportunity for Change

Health agencies play a vital role in promoting, protecting and improving the health of youth. As childhood and adolescent obesity, asthma and diabetes rates have steadily climbed, that role has increasingly focused on the growing chronic disease prevention needs of this population.

Posted on 07/20/2015

Pathways for Youth Employment: Federal Resources for Employers

In February 2014, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. Across the country, elected officials, business leaders, non-profits, foundations and local school systems are also stepping up to answer the President’s call to action to implement their own cradle-to-college-and-career strategies for improving the life outcomes of all young people. 

Posted on 07/20/2015

Preparing Youth for Careers, Lifelong Learning, and Civic Participation

This overview paper is designed for practitioners in both the public and non-governmental sectors who design and implement youth employment and youth development programs, the policymakers who support them, and others who wish to: n learn more about principles and characteristics of leading youth development programs now operating in the United States; and n identify components or entire programs which may be transferable or applicable to non-American societies and additional communities in the United States

Posted on 07/20/2015

Promoting Strengths in Children and Youth

Occupational Therapy Practitioners use meaningful activities to help children and youth participate in what they need and or want to do in order to promote physical and mental health and well-being. Occupational therapy practitioners focus on participation in the following areas: education, play and leisure, social participation, activities of daily living (ADLs; e.g., eating, dressing, hygiene), instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., meal preparation, shopping), sleep and rest, and work

Posted on 07/20/2015

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is defined as a process for helping children gain critical skills for life effectiveness, such as developing positive relationships, behaving ethically, and handling challenging situations effectively (Zins et al., 2007). Specifically, strategies that foster SEL help children to recognize and manage emotions, think about their feelings and how they should act, and regulate behavior based on thoughtful decision making. 

Posted on 07/20/2015

Systems of Mental Health Care for Youth in Foster Care

Winter 2012

The current issue of CYF news is dedicated to providing a meaningful discussion of the myriad of issues related to the mental health of youth in foster care. It is not likely new information to find that youth in foster care are vulnerable to maladjustment given their exposure to both significant events that led to removal from their homes and the process itself of being in foster care. What is new perhaps is the fact that despite the clear and compelling evidence that youth in foster care demonstrate both short and long-term, clinically significant mental health problems, the process or systems created to meet the mental health need are rarely reviewed

Posted on 06/26/2015

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition

June, 2015 - Volume 1 Ussue 2

The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT), funded by the
U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs and
Rehabilitation Services Administration, began its work in January 2015. Our
purpose is to assist SEAs, LEAs, State VR agencies, and other VR service providers
to implement evidence-based and promising practices (EBPPs) to ensure
students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, stay in
school, progress in school, and graduate with knowledge, skills, and supports
needed to succeed in postsecondary education and employment.

Posted on 06/10/2015

A shared path to success

A parent's guide to special education services for school-age children. 

Posted on 06/10/2015

Communication with the Corrections System: What Should Parents Know?

A brief guideline for parents of children with mental health, behavioral, cognitive, or learning disabilities 

Posted on 06/10/2015

Encouraging Active Parent Participation in IEP Team Meetings

Now answer these questions honestly: Are parents equal partners with you in the education of students with disabilities? Do you actively invite parents, accommodate their schedules, and welcome their differing cultural contributions? Are you aware of cultural and linguistic team processes or environments that might make parents uncomfortable? Are you wondering how to improve parent participation in your decision-making processes?

Posted on 06/10/2015

IEP Team Meeting: A guide to participation for parents

Parents and guardians of school-age children with disabilities need to be familiar with relevant regulations and procedures for developing an IEP to fully participate in IEP development and long-term planning. Similarly, students who have attained legal adult status in their state and have assumed responsibility for their own IEP need information to assure informed participation at their IEP meetings. 

Posted on 06/10/2015

Parents’ Experiences with the IEP Process Considerations for Improving Practice

This document contains recommendations from the reviewed literature for strengthening the IEP process and promoting a positive experience for all stakeholders. These recommendations suggest a framework for developing best-practice guidelines for ensuring active parent participation in IEP meetings. By encouraging greater parent-educator collaboration, these recommendations are intended to create strong partnerships for the ultimate benefit of the students. They are broken into three categories: considerations for schools and educators, considerations for parents and considerations for CLD families. 

Posted on 06/10/2015

Parents’ Experiences with the IEP Process Considerations for Improving Practice

This document contains recommendations from the reviewed literature for strengthening the IEP process and promoting a positive experience for all stakeholders. These recommendations suggest a framework for developing best-practice guidelines for ensuring active parent participation in IEP meetings. By encouraging greater parent-educator collaboration, these recommendations are intended to create strong partnerships for the ultimate benefit of the students. They are broken into three categories: considerations for schools and educators, considerations for parents and considerations for CLD families. 

Posted on 06/10/2015

What Youth Need to Know if They Are Questioned by Police

This fact sheet contains a brief summary of information for parents of children or youth with disabilities at risk for arrest by police at school or in the community.

Posted on 06/10/2015

Your IEP Meeting: A Great Place to Practice Self-Advocacy Skills

Self-advocacy is a key step in becoming an adult. It means looking out for yourself, telling others what you need, and knowing how to take responsibility. No one is born knowing these skills. Self-advocacy skills are needed over a lifetime, and everyone has to learn them. Here is some great information that can start you on your way

Posted on 06/10/2015

Youth Development & Leadership

Youth who participate in YD/YL experiences are more likely to do well in school, be involved in their community, and transition positively through adolescence to adulthood. 

Posted on 06/09/2015

Am I learning to lead

This self-assessment is designed to help you look at how you’re growing as a leader. When you’re involved in a program, it’s hard to know how much you’re growing as a person. You may feel like a program has a big impact on your life, but you may not be sure how. That’s where tools like this are important. Instead of being centered on what program staff do, this focuses on YOU. Who better to tell us what you’re getting out of the program than you? The goal is to get you and the staff you work with talking about where you’re doing great and what other things you need to practice.

Posted on 06/09/2015

Career-focused mentoring for youth: The what, why, and how

When asked to describe an ideal employee, attributes such as being a hard worker, a team player, and a good communicator are frequently cited by employers as being even more important than technical expertise. According, however, to a recent survey of 461 employers conducted by the Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resources many new entrants to the workforce lack these important skills. These business leaders reported that while the three "R's" are still fundamental to every employee's ability to do the job, knowledge of applied skills is even more important. (Are They Really Ready to Work? Employers' Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce (2006)).

Posted on 06/09/2015

Creating Mentoring Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities: Issues and Suggested Strategies

Mentoring can have a dramatic impact on a young person’s life. Despite the increasing prevalence and importance of mentoring programs for youth in general, few of these programs, to date, intentionally include youth with disabilities

Posted on 06/09/2015

Disability knowledge and identity self-assessment

This tool was designed to find out what you know about disability history, culture, community, and policy. The goal of this assessment is to help programs that work with youth and emerging leaders with disabilities figure out what kind of job they’re doing in educating about disability issues. It is also designed to help programs that work with youth and emerging leaders with disabilities identify program strengths and opportunities.

Posted on 06/09/2015

Dropout prevention and youth with disabilities: The role of mentors

Children with disabilities are statistically more likely to drop out of school. According to research, mentorship and mentoring programs are successful at keeping students with disabilities from dropping out of high school. Statistics show that when students feel they are part of a community and receive guidance and support for their future dreams, they are more likely to stay in school. 

Posted on 06/09/2015

Information Brief:

Youth development and leadership

It is no longer adequate to gauge a young person’s potential for success by looking at the negative indicators in their lives. Instead, the National Consortium on Leadership and Disability for Youth (NCLD-Youth) wants to take a positive youth development perspective and see what are the supports, activities, and outcomes that young people need in order to be positively engaged in their communities

Posted on 06/09/2015

Internships: The on-ramp to employment

A guide for students with disabilities to getting and making the most of an internship

The National Consortium on Leadership and Disability/Youth (NCLD-Youth) is a youth-led resource, information, and training center run for and by youth and emerging leaders with developmental disabilities. The program is housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership alongside its sister center, The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability/Youth (NCWD-Youth), the primary author of Paving the Road to Work: A Guide to Career Focused Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities.

Posted on 06/09/2015

The power of mentoring

Since learning through example is itself at the core of the mentoring process, let’s begin by doing just that. A pilot project undertaken by the Center for Independent Living of Western Wisconsin (CILWW) in Menomonie, Wisconsin, serves as a ready model. This venture was supported in part by financial assistance from the Wisconsin Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Waisman Center’s Healthy and Ready to Work Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. CILWW was chosen as a project site because of its 25-year history providing peer support as one of its core services.

Posted on 06/08/2015

Getting to work

Promoting Employment of People with Mental Illness

This report describes the need for supported employment services, how these services work, the successful
outcomes they secure, the cost savings that they enable states to realize, and the legal obligations that they help states fulfill. It also offers recommendations for states interested in expanding the availability of supported employment services for people with serious mental illness.

Posted on 06/08/2015

Given Time It Worked

Positive outcomes from a SSDI benefit offset pilot after the initial evaluation period

Ellie Hartman, Program Manager with Wisconsin PROMISE co-wrote this article that highlights positive outcomes from a SSDI benefit offset pilot after the initial evaluation period. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Employment Pilot in Wisconsin was one of four Social Security Administration authorized pilots to test a cash benefit offset feature for the SSDI program. Those allowed to use the offset only lost US$1 of their SSDI cash benefit for every US$2 earned when their monthly earnings reached the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level after completing the Trial Work Period (TWP).

Posted on 06/01/2015

On the job: Stories from youth with disabilities

Jobs help youth explore their strengths and interests, develop relationships in the community, formulate their future goals, and learn important workplace skills.

Posted on 06/01/2015

The Post-High School Outcomes of Youth With Disabilities up to 4 Years After High School

At various times in history, changes in economic and social conditions have generated a reconsideration of how best to characterize the life stages through which most individuals in a society progress. Increasingly, researchers contend that changes in the latter part of the 20th century and the early 21st century have brought us to another such time of reconsideration (e.g., Fussell and Furstenberg 2005). They suggest that, among other social shifts, an increasing emphasis on postsecondary education and the growing struggles postadolescents face in becoming economically self-sufficient elongate or postpone the transitions usually associated with adulthood—“completion of schooling, movement from the parental household, entrance into the labor force, formation of partnerships, and the onset of childbearing and parenting” (Furstenberg, Rumbaut, and Settersten 2005, p. 7). Recognizing this reality, a growing body of research focuses on the period of “early adulthood” as distinct from adolescence and full adulthood (e.g., Arnett 2002; 2001). 

Posted on 05/14/2015

Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Participants in Prevention Programs

Recruiting and retaining youth and families in prevention programs can some? times be difficult. Poor recruitment and retention can undermine the success of even the strongest program; programs cannot have a favorable impact if people don’t participate.

Posted on 05/11/2015

Postsecondary Education and Employment Outcomes for Youth with Intellectual Disabilities

Think College - Fast Facts

Individuals who participate in postsecondary education have better jobs. Youth with intellectual disabilities have the lowest rates of education, work, or preparation for work after high school of all disability groups. Nationally, there is a growing interest in postsecondary education as a way to improve employment and other key life areas for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). Vocational Rehabilitation agencies can play an important role by supporting the inclusion of individuals with ID in postsecondary education and including it in their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

Posted on 05/08/2015

Understanding 504 Plans

If your child has learning and attention issues and is struggling in school, you may be curious about 504 plans. If your child doesn’t qualify for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a 504 plan may be a good alternative.

Posted on 05/08/2015

Workforce Wednesday: Do's and Don'ts for Youth Summer Job-seekers

Summer is right around the corner, and that means Utah’s teenagers are looking for summer jobs. Thanks to strong job growth we’ve consistently seen in the economy, opportunities abound for young job-seekers. But some simple mistakes could hamper your job search—just as some easy actions could give you a leg up.

Posted on 04/22/2015

Texas Teen With Down Syndrome's Reaction to Getting 1st Job Will Make You Smile

Texas Teen With Down Syndrome's Reaction to Getting 1st Job Will Make You Smile

Posted on 04/09/2015

PROMISE Newsletter

December Edition - Volume 1

PROMISE TA Center newsletter on "Family Engagement"

Posted on 04/06/2015

The Youth Transition Demonstration: Lifting Employment Barriers for Youth with Disabilities

The transition to adulthood for youth with disabilities can be especially difficult. Besides the host of issues facing all youth at this age, young people with disabilities face unique challenges related to health, social isolation, service needs, the potential loss of benefits, and lack of access to supports (Osgood et al. 2010). These challenges complicate their planning for future education and work, often leading to poor education and employment outcomes, dependence on public programs, and a possible lifetime of poverty (Davies et al. 2009).

Posted on 04/05/2015

Preparing Students with Disabilities for School-to-Work Transition and Postschool Life

Preparing students with disabilities for the workforce requires a comprehensive transdisciplinary vocational assessment and an emphasis on postschool planning.

Posted on 04/01/2015

A Parent's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism is a group of developmental brain disorders, collectively called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment, or disability, that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, but others are severely disabled.

Posted on 04/01/2015

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). CDC’s estimate comes from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, which monitors the number of 8-year-old children with ASDs living in diverse communities throughout the United States.

Posted on 04/01/2015

Autism Spectrum Disorders:

Primer for Parents and Educators

As one of many NASP public service programs,the Center fosters best practices in education and mental health by providing information on topics affecting today’s youth, families, and schools.

Posted on 04/01/2015

Healthy Smiles for Autism

The National Museum of Dentistry develops unique learning opportunities to teach you and your children how to have a healthy mouth for life. Oral health is an important part of overall health. Due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent report on the number of children with autism spectrum disorder in the United States, the museum discovered a need to offer parents of children with autism spectrum disorder assistance. This guide empowers parents by providing tools to effectively teach a lifelong oral health routine and prepare for a child’s first dental visit.

Posted on 04/01/2015

Welcome to the Autistic Community!

This document was supported in part by a cooperative agreement from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities policy.

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