Students with disabilities face special challenges when it comes to transitioning from life as a student into adulthood and the world of work or higher education.
The mission of the Crow Wing County Transition Interagency Committee is to help students with disabilities make that transition go as smoothly and successfully as possible.
Last month, CTIC hosted its third annual transition workshop at the Brainerd South Campus. About 125 people - including youths with disabilities - age 12 to 21, their parents, school staff and other agency staff attended this free workshop.
Speaker Nick Wilkie, a transition specialist at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living in St. Paul, offered practical ideas on transition planning for higher education and/or the employment process, as well as inspiration for students to reach their dreams and become as independent as possible.
Thirty-four vendors representing 20 local agencies and organizations that provide related services to youth with disabilities were on hand throughout the event to answer questions and provide information.
CTIC encourages parents and students who have a disability or an Individual Education Plan to consider some of the following areas when planning for the student's future:
Jobs and training: learning about different jobs, finding a job, seeking assistance on the job and related issues.
Community participation: Applying for Social Security, learning to use public transportation, getting to know the community, getting a driver's license, helping navigate the systems and getting help through different services.
Training and learning opportunities after high school: Exploring where to go to school after graduating, touring colleges and technical schools and finding out where to learn specific job skills.
Home living: Where to live, moving away, learning to budget, keeping house, staying healthy and fit.
Recreation and leisure: Meeting new friends, what to do with spare time, joining groups, etc.
The Crow Wing County CTIC meets monthly in Brainerd. CTIC has links to a number of other agencies that help students and their families with transition issues. For more information about CTIC and transition resources for students and families, call Bonnie Kriha at (218) 454-5511 or Twila Ehrich-Belton at (218) 825-6791.
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