2000 Conference Proceedings

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THE LIFESPACE ACCESS VOCATIONAL TRANSITION PROFILE: SCHOOL TO WORK TRANSITION PLANNING FOR THE USERS OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

William B. Williams, MA, School Psychologist,
Modesto City Schools, Modesto, CA

The Lifespace Access Vocational Transition Profile is designed to provide a systematic process for a Transition Team to gather the information needed to plan for the transition of an individual who is a user of assistive technology from a school program into an adult vocational program.

The Lifespace Access Vocational Transition Profile represents the next step in assistive technology assessment and planning in the Lifespace Access profile series. The Lifespace Access Vocational Transition Profile is based upon the same conceptual model as the widely used Lifespace Access Profile for Assistive Technology Planning and the Lifespace Access Profile-Upper Extension.

The Learner Resources Model was originally developed to provide a conceptual framework that would work across the entire range of regular education and Special Education populations to categorize and understand the numerous factors that influence a student’s functioning and success in an educational or training program.

The Learner Resources Model is based upon the premise that every individual comes into an educational or training program with four types of resources. These include Physical Resources, Cognitive Resources, Emotional Resources, and Support Resources. The Physical Resources category looks at person’s physical capabilities and needs. Cognitive Resources includes the individual’s communication and reasoning abilities, general knowledge and other intellectual abilities. Emotional Resources include factors likes the individual’s ability to deal with frustration or stress, the individual’s level of interest or motivation, and the individual’s likes and dislikes. The Support Resources category is included in the model as a reminder that the success on an individual in an educational or training environment is very rarely dependent only upon the capabilities or resources of the individual alone, but is closely linked to the people, whether parents, professionals, or volunteers, that are available to support the individual and the program.

The Lifespace Access Profile and the Lifespace Access Profile-Upper Extension are used to develop and track the progress of individual assistive technology programs and cover each of these resource categories in great detail. In contrast the items included on the Lifespace Access Vocational Transition Profile are more narrowly focused and are designed to allow the Transition Team to compare the vocationally related abilities and needs of the individual to the services and support that are provided in possible adult vocational programs. These comparisons provide the Transition Team with valuable information regarding the fit between the opportunities, services, and support resources of an agency with the needs, interests and capabilities of the individual. One of the uses of this comparison information is to help the Transition Team identify areas that need to be emphasized in the individual’s educational or training program to prepare them for various adult vocational programs. A second use of the information generated by these comparisons is to highlight the limited program options for many individual’s who use assistive technology for vocational access and who may have more personal care needs than the populations traditionally served in adult vocational programs. Armed with this information it has been possible for individuals, their parents, and other advocates to push the agencies that fund adult placements to in turn encourage the adult service contractors to expand their programs to meet the needs of assistive technology users.

Like the previous Lifespace Access profiles the Lifespace Access Vocational Transition Profile stresses the importance of multidisciplinary approach to the planning process. Inclusion of a variety of professionals and specialists along with the individual, parents and other interested or involved parties , like friends or siblings, on the Transition Team is strongly recommended. Once the team is identified the members are asked to provide input across all four Learner Resource areas.

In the Physical Resource section of the Lifespace Access Vocational Transition Profile the Transition Team members are asked to rate aspects individual’s physical resources and access needs. These include the individual’s general health and program attendance, job access methods and needs, switch access abilities, work time range, need for breaks, length of work day, mobility within a work environment, transportation needs, and self-care capabilities.

In the Cognitive Resources section of the Lifespace Access Vocational Transition Profile the Transition Team members are asked to rate aspects of the individual’s cognitive resources and communication. These include the individual’s level of technology use sophistication, receptive communication, expressive communication, and money skills.

In the Emotional Resources section of the Lifespace Access Vocational Transition Profile the Transition Team members are asked to rate aspects of the individual’s emotional resources and vocational interests. These include the individual’s level of tasks focus, emotional reactions, job motivation, job site and job type preferences.

In the Support Resources section of the Lifespace Access Vocational Transition Profile the Transition Team members are asked to rate the levels of technology support that will be available to support the individual’s vocational participation from family and agencies.

A process similar to that used to develop the individual’s profile is used by the Transition Team to develop program profiles for each adult program that is identified as a possible placement. Based upon the comparison process outlined in the earlier section of this paper the Transition Team can develop a specific plan to get the individual ready for a program or a program ready for the individual. Given the time that these processes can take it is recommended that Transition Team begin their work several years before the time when a transition to the adult services must be made.


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