Four Strategies for Helping Disabled Students Achieve Success After High School
On a daily basis, students with disabilities (SWD) face numerous obstacles and frequently require additional assistance to ensure equitable educational opportunities. After graduation, this need for direction does not go away, and there is a strong argument that this transitional period in life requires more support than any other. However, students must establish the foundation for success well before entering high school.
We have been able to connect in a variety of ways over the past few years; However, establishing traditional relationships both inside and outside of the school is essential for creating a support network for students that encourages smooth transitions. If educational professionals consistently seek to connect the expertise of teachers, parents, colleges and universities, government organizations, private businesses, and nonprofits, they will be successful in supporting students.
Teachers can make connections between their students’ knowledge and opportunities in the state or community by integrating their school-community collaborative practices. Schools and educators can follow the four recommendations below to further increase SWD’s postsecondary success after this network of relationships has been established and consistently maintained.
SWD’S 4 STEPS TO POSTSECONDARY SUCCESS
1. Make a thorough, important educational plan. The curriculum is an essential component of student achievement. Educators should be provided with opportunities to work together throughout the year by school systems to ensure horizontal and vertical alignment. In addition to addressing any gaps in prior knowledge, interdisciplinary collaboration is essential for improving reading, writing, and problem-solving skills.
Introducing content from career, technical, and agricultural education (CTAE) in middle school can be beneficial for all students. Over time, the development of expertise will be facilitated by increasing prior knowledge and fostering a sense of familiarity. SWD can better prepare for CTAE classes at the secondary level and be aware of possible CTAE pathways prior to entering high school thanks to this progressive build.
Both core-content and CTAE curricula must offer students support, differentiation, a variety of presentation options, and a variety of ways to demonstrate their mastery of standards.
2. Integrate student interests and CTAE courses into transition plans. Individualized education program (IEP) teams must develop transition plans that are in line with student interests and link those interests to CTAE course opportunities. Before the IEP meeting, the school staff and the IEP team should first provide ample opportunities for the student to complete career and interest surveys.
SWD can define their interests, discover their skills, and investigate career opportunities through numerous online programs like Virtual Job Shadow. The student should be able to take CTAE classes that are related to their career interests as part of their curriculum.
The student should be able to increase their self-efficacy, learn more about postsecondary education options, and develop employability skills by achieving the transition goals after qualitative and quantitative data have been collected.
First-generation immigrants and college students may require additional assistance in navigating the college application process or creating a résumé that is career-ready.
3. Educate students about a variety of career options prior to and during high school. Before entering high school, students should naturally be introduced to a variety of career paths if they are actively participating in a rigorous and relevant curriculum. Students can try their hand at connecting their interests and skills to possible career paths as a result of this.
All students should be exposed to each CTAE pathway in some way, and schools should also evaluate student interests before the secondary level.
An all-encompassing course can provide students with exposure to a variety of pathways prior to or during their freshman year of high school. In the event that this choice is unimaginable, schools ought to give a period throughout the late spring or toward the beginning of the school year for understudies to meet CTAE educators, visit every study hall, associate with experts in the field, and trial inside the potential open doors accessible.
SWD should be allowed to participate in multiple CTAE pathways if they so choose, and they should be able to meet all of the requirements from year to year to complete each pathway. Pathway completers are more likely to graduate and succeed in postsecondary education.
4. Introduce students to actual opportunities. Students must have access to real-world learning opportunities at all times, and the curriculum and schedule of the school must always provide them with options and time. Schools need to make plans and offer satisfactory help for SWD to guarantee that they acquire required credits and complete starting CTAE classes by green bean or sophomore year. During their junior or senior year, opportunities in upper-level CTAE classes increase as a result.
To make it possible for students to connect with guest speakers, tour college campuses, shadow community businesses, complete the pathway, and take part in work-based learning opportunities, transition coordinators and other staff members must use their ability to build relationships.
By encouraging students to actively participate in extracurricular activities, community service projects, and job opportunities, educators, parents, and students can all advocate for SWD. In addition, they can advocate for the inclusion of SWD in all school activities and programs by collaborating with CTAE staff and other school members.
The sooner and all the more frequently an understudy is offered the chance to fabricate associations with postsecondary vocation or school choices, the more probable that understudy is to have faith in themselves, make practical objectives, and become fruitful.
In the end, effective career and college pipelines for SWD require a coordinated network of students, parents, educators, and community members. SWD, like their peers, need to be actively pushed to push themselves and make a difference in their community.
Our education system is set up to provide SWD with more equitable opportunities and outcomes as we move toward a post-pandemic world. Allowing these students to have a say in making this positive change and supporting them along the way are essential responsibilities of educators.