Teen Transition – A Necessary Part of Future Success

Late March 2018

Transition services are required for students who are receiving specialized services under IEPs, starting no later than age 14. Unfortunately, Transition is often thought to be satisfied by a check off form with little true instruction. Effective and timely instruction during Transition is necessary for the future success of students who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

For more than 45 years, researchers have demonstrated how transition from school to postschool environments can be affected. The keys to success in transition are not many, and they are not complex. Nonetheless, few schools “do” transition successfully. The National Deaf Center has links to Postsecondary Outcomes of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing in each state. Nationally, only 48% of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing are employed and employment rates increase with education and training. Good Teen Transition services mean better readiness for post-secondary success. How did students in your state do in postsecondary achievement?

Transition services means a coordinated set of activities that are outcome oriented, based on the student’s individual needs and preferences, to prepare them to face life as an adult. In 2007, the Office of Special Education Programs required states to develop a comprehensive state plan on 20 specific indicators; Indicator 13 dealt with Transition. The questions that the IEP team should ask of each student’s education program at Transition are:

1. Are there appropriate measurable postsecondary goals in the areas of training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills?

2. Are the postsecondary goals updated annually?

3. Is there evidence that the measurable postsecondary goals were based on age appropriate transition assessment(s)?

4. Are there transition services in the IEP that will reasonably enable the student to meet his or her postsecondary goals?

5. Do the transition services include courses of study that will reasonably enable the student to meet his or her postsecondary goals?

6. Is (are) there annual IEP goal(s) related to the student’s transition service needs?

7. Is there evidence that the student was invited to the IEP team meeting where transition services were discussed?

8. If appropriate, is there evidence that a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP team meeting?

From the National Deaf Center, a 2-page transition guide specifies Essential Transition Questions:

Continue Reading the Late March 2018 Update

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Teen Transition – A Necessary Part of Future Success

Transition services are required for students who are receiving specialized services under IEPs, starting no later than age 14. Unfortunately, Transition is often thought to be satisfied by a check off form with little true instruction. Effective and timely instruction during Transition is necessary for the future success of students who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

For more than 45 years, researchers have demonstrated how transition from school to postschool environments can be affected. The keys to success in transition are not many, and they are not complex. Nonetheless, few schools “do” transition successfully. The National Deaf Center has links to Postsecondary Outcomes of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing in each state. Nationally, only 48% of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing are employed and employment rates increase with education and training. Good Teen Transition services mean better readiness for post-secondary success. How did students in your state do in postsecondary achievement?

Transition services means a coordinated set of activities that are outcome oriented, based on the student’s individual needs and preferences, to prepare them to face life as an adult. In 2007, the Office of Special Education Programs required states to develop a comprehensive state plan on 20 specific indicators; Indicator 13 dealt with Transition. The questions that the IEP team should ask of each student’s education program at Transition are:

1. Are there appropriate measurable postsecondary goals in the areas of training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills?

2. Are the postsecondary goals updated annually?

3. Is there evidence that the measurable postsecondary goals were based on age appropriate transition assessment(s)?

4. Are there transition services in the IEP that will reasonably enable the student to meet his or her postsecondary goals?

5. Do the transition services include courses of study that will reasonably enable the student to meet his or her postsecondary goals?

6. Is (are) there annual IEP goal(s) related to the student’s transition service needs?

7. Is there evidence that the student was invited to the IEP team meeting where transition services were discussed?

8. If appropriate, is there evidence that a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP team meeting?

From the National Deaf Center, a 2-page transition guide specifies Essential Transition Questions:

  • What kinds of extracurricular experiences will provide opportunities to learn social and problem-solving skills?
  • What kind of classes will prepare the student for postsecondary programs and/or employment?
  • Will the student work in high school?
  • Will the student participate in general education classes or will they need more intense training to achieve their postsecondary goals?
  • What types of accommodations are needed in different situations?

Per the Minnesota Transition Guide for Teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (see Goodies below), throughout transition planning students should continue to increase their self-advocacy skills:

  • Ability to describe their own skills and needs
  • Ability to set their own goals and create a plan to reach them
  • Knowing the how, who, and when to ask for assistance
  • Ability to make decisions and take responsibility for the consequences of those decisions

Teaching Transition Skills

1. Refer to C.O.A.C.H. for specifics on how to work with tweens and teens to teach these skills! Self-advocacy skills are taught beginning in preschool through grade 4, switching to problem-solving for self-determination by age 12. If you only teach self-advocacy without teaching problem-solving for self-determination you are doing only half the job! See the self-advocacy webpage for more information on skills and age expectations.

2. The Ida Institute has free Transition Management resources to enhance teaching tweens and teens

a. Telecare for Teens and Tweens assist students in formulating questions for their audiologist, describing their hearing loss to others, getting family members involved in supporting communication needs, learning communication strategies, and learning how to self-manage their hearing loss.

b. Transitions Management is a suite of materials, including nice videos, that relate to different transition periods in the life of the child with hearing loss. Check out the Being a Tween and Being a Teenager videos and the other well-designed materials this extensive website has to offer. Although the videos feature British children, they are captioned and provide a rich resource for discussion and learning.

c. 12 free lessons for teens on legal rights, self-advocacy, personal and interpersonal skills. Thanks to Dr. Kris English for making her e-book, Self-Advocacy for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing freely available on the SSCHL website. Scroll to the bottom of the self-advocacy webpage to access each of these lessons

Communication skills and access to communication are critical to success in employment settings. Being well versed in communication strategies to support successful interactions is an important skill that needs to be further honed during the transition years. Transition-aged students should have a good understanding of their hearing loss and have practiced explaining its impact in preparation to do so with an employer or coworkers. Other communication skills include:

  • sharing communication strategies that were previously successful in other settings,
  • showing employer inexpensive options for making environmental cues visible,
  • asking available resources to offer deaf awareness training for employers, and
  • knowing about and communicating workplace accommodations.

In addition to meeting academic requirements, students need to have strong self-advocacy, time-management, money management, and independent living skills to be successful in postsecondary settings. By using the Postsecondary Competency Skills Checklist (see Goodies below), IEP teams can help the students evaluate their readiness for postsecondary settings.

Transition for Students Who are “Low Functioning Deaf”

In 1999, an estimated 2000 students in the US who were deaf or hard of hearing were identified by state vocational counselors as “low functioning deaf.” This term is defined as having reading levels under second grade, low math, reading and other subjects (second to fourth grade), and/or have a secondary disability. These students drop out of school at a higher rate than other students with hearing loss. They require a much greater emphasis on vocational and independent-living skills than is now provided in most secondary schools. Read the article by Bowe, below, for more information. With many similarities to programs for higher functioning students, transition programs for lower functioning students with hearing loss should include:

  • training students in job-specific skills, preferably on site
  • prepare them to make good decisions and advocate for themselves
  • emphasize the “unwritten rules” of the workplace and key skills of good team members
  • introduce students to available vocational rehabilitation resource to support career transitions
  • develop an understanding of civil rights (Americans with Disabilities Act) on the job and in the community
  • help students appreciate the opportunities and limitations of government supports (i.e., Supplemental Security Income)

A Step Toward Post-High School Readiness

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Communication Studies and Services Department provides a broad range of support to expand post high-school student’s communication skills. Contact RIT to receive a $65 voucher your students can use toward one of RIT’s summer camps for middle or high school students who are deaf or hard of hearing (grades 5-12).

References

 

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Progress Monitoring – Gains Equal to Peers?

Early March 2018

Hearing loss is a barrier that limits access to ongoing communication in the environment. For students who are hard of hearing this means that they do not perceive 90% or more of speech, especially if it occurs beyond the 3-6 foot range. Decreased speech perception translates into decreased comprehension, especially of novel words and new information. For students who are deaf and visual communicators, most only receive communication from their classroom interpreter with little meaningful conversation or information exchange directly with peers. Progress through the curriculum at the same rate as class peers with typical hearing assumes that the student has received the same information as those peers. It’s all about access!

We need to not only strive to close language and learning gaps, we need to simultaneously support our students in keeping up with the day-to-day learning in the classroom. We MUST monitor progress to know if full access is truly occurring and to ensure that our students are keeping pace with classroom expectations. Without appropriate support, the trajectory of educational performance shown above is all too likely. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing with no other learning issues – with full access to school communication – CAN progress at the expected rate IF they are receiving the appropriate intensity of focused support.

Monitor and Compare – Progress from Year-to-Year

Review your student files semi-annually for young children and annually for school-age students. Specifically, look at norm-referenced test results, like the high-stakes tests or language evaluations. Have the student’s percentile scores stayed constant? With your focused intervention and appropriate supports, has the student’s percentile scores improved? Or, like the figure above depicts, has the student experienced inappropriate access issues and insufficient supports causing a decrease in performance over time.

Continue Reading the Early March 2018 Update

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Advocacy Notes

Who is Responsible for Providing FAPE?

I enjoy receiving e-newsletters from WrightsLaw and found their information on a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to be very interesting. Although it is written for the parent’s perspective, the responses may be equally appropriate when professionals are advocating for access and reframing the concept of LRE in terms of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The purpose of the IDEA is “to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living…” 20 U.S.C. 1400(d). Is the IEP designed to meet the child’s unique needs? Will the goals in the IEP prepare the child “for further education, employment and independent living?” The answers to these questions will help to determine if the IEP is appropriate and provides the child with a free, appropriate public education.

Educational Benefit

Courts have held that to receive a free appropriate public education, the child must receive meaningful educational benefit. How will you know if the child is receiving “meaningful educational benefit”? As this issue of the Bimonthly Updates discusses, you use objective information from tests that measure the child’s knowledge and skills.

The legal landscape is changing. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires states to adopt high academic standards for all children. The law also requires schools to test all children to determine if they are mastering these standards. When Congress reauthorized IDEA in 2004, the focus shifted from access to the schoolhouse and compliance with procedures to improved outcomes for children who receive special education services.

In Endrew F. v Douglas County (March 22, 2017), Chief Justice Roberts explains that SCOTUS is not reversing the old Rowley standard, but – if a child is not fully integrated in the regular classroom, the focus on FAPE shifts even more to the “unique circumstances of the child.” Read the analysis.

Who is Responsible for Providing Free Appropriate Education (FAPE)?

The school is responsible for providing the child with a free appropriate education (FAPE). The child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the roadmap that describes how the school will provide your child with a FAPE.

“The IEP provisions [of IDEA] reflect Rowley’s expectation that, for most children, a FAPE will involve integration in the regular classroom and individualized special education calculated to achieve advancement from grade to grade.” (Page 11)

“When a child is fully integrated in the regular classroom, as the Act prefers, what that typically means is providing a level of instruction reasonably calculated to permit advancement through the general curriculum.” (Page 13)

The decision is clear. Being “fully integrated” and “making progress in the general education curriculum” are the keys. If a child is not fully integrated, the focus shifts even more to the “unique circumstances of the child.”

The “IEP Must Enable Child to Make Progress: A Plan for Academic and Functional Advancement”

Resources

Wrightslaw article: Who is responsible for providing FAPE?

Wrightslaw analysis of Endrew v. Douglas County: IDEA demands more: Inclusion & Progress in Regular Curriculum: IEP Tailored to Unique Needs.

Note: the views expressed are those of Karen Anderson, PhD, and do not constitute legal advice.

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Progress Monitoring – Gains Equal to Peers?

Hearing loss is a barrier that limits access to ongoing communication in the environment. For students who are hard of hearing this means that they do not perceive 90% or more of speech, especially if it occurs beyond the 3-6 foot range. Decreased speech perception translates into decreased comprehension, especially of novel words and new information. For students who are deaf and visual communicators, most only receive communication from their classroom interpreter with little meaningful conversation or information exchange directly with peers. Progress through the curriculum at the same rate as class peers with typical hearing assumes that the student has received the same information as those peers. It’s all about access!

We need to not only strive to close language and learning gaps, we need to simultaneously support our students in keeping up with the day-to-day learning in the classroom. We MUST monitor progress to know if full access is truly occurring and to ensure that our students are keeping pace with classroom expectations. Without appropriate support, the trajectory of educational performance shown above is all too likely. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing with no other learning issues – with full access to school communication – CAN progress at the expected rate IF they are receiving the appropriate intensity of focused support.

Monitor and Compare – Progress from Year-to-Year

Review your student files semi-annually for young children and annually for school-age students. Specifically, look at norm-referenced test results, like the high-stakes tests or language evaluations. Have the student’s percentile scores stayed constant? With your focused intervention and appropriate supports, has the student’s percentile scores improved? Or, like the figure above depicts, has the student experienced inappropriate access issues and insufficient supports causing a decrease in performance over time.

For example, consider a student who scored in overall reading in grade 2 at the 48th percentile, at the 38th percentile in grade 3, and at the 30th percentile in grade 5. The student still continues to fall within 1 standard deviation from the mean, or within the ‘average’ range. However, a drop of 18 percentile points over 3 years certainly raises the question about adequate yearly progress and if the access accommodations and services have truly ‘leveled the playing field’ for the student with hearing loss. The school team may not be concerned because the student still scores ‘average’ but to a professional with a background in the impact of hearing loss on learning, this trend should demand that more focused and appropriate supports/access accommodations be provided.

Infants and Toddlers

An integral part of early intervention services includes monitoring the growth in skill development for young children with hearing loss. If a child was identified at birth and received amplification/intervention within a couple of months, then the goal is one month of development per one month of age. If the hearing loss was identified and amplification/intervention not provided until 3 months or later, then the goal is more than one month of growth per one month of age. If a child with a delay only gains 6 months of development in a 6-month period then he or she will never catch up to age peers by school entry.

The following are resources that can be used by interventionists/parents to track skill growth over time.

Communication Development Monitoring – checklists for parents of children ages 8-36 months to complete every 6 months to track expressive vocabulary growth as compared to typically developing peers. Checklists can hang on refrigerator as a reminder to families about words appropriate for them to include in daily conversations. It will also be handy to mark when a word has been learned. Graphs for boys and girls show growth via percentile ranks. Scoring examples are also posted to assist in identifying the growth in months for every 6-month period.

Auditory Skills Checklist 1   Auditory Skills Checklist 2– Approximately 85% of children with hearing loss have hearing loss of 70 dB or better. Of the approximately 15% who have 71-110+ dB hearing loss, about half receive cochlear implants. Finally, based on one state’s 2013 data (NC), of the families who chose a communication option, 92% chose spoken language for their children. Only 2% chose ASL and 6% chose simultaneous communication. Fewer than 1% chose Cued Speech. Based on this, it is clear that for the vast majority of children, growth in auditory skill development is very, very important to their future success and should be diligently tracked from infancy.

ASL Development for those families and children who use sign language, skill development should also be monitored. Information on this webpage includes an extensive developmental checklist for ASL skills. Once a child is in kindergarten the ASL Content Standards below should be used as a guide to development.

Pragmatics Checklist – as children transition from early intervention it is critical to determine language performance in all areas. Pragmatics is often overlooked. Pragmatics, or social communication, will not develop at a typical rate, or in the same way for children with hearing loss unless addressed. It is typical for a 7-year-old with hearing loss to have the pragmatics skills of a 3-year-old!

Hearing aid use and independence is a concern, even for our youngest children with hearing loss. Families need to develop confidence in monitoring hearing devices and supporting full time use. Strategies for Keeping Hearing Aids On and Achieving Effective Hearing Aid Use in Early Childhood are resources to assist in these goals.

School Age

NEW!  ASL Content Standards – K – 12. Developed by Gallaudet, these comprehensive standards are truly impressive! They were developed to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing children acquire and learn ASL in much the same way that hearing children in the US acquire and learn English.  Whichever communication modality is used by a student, he or she must have the prerequisite skills to adequately communicate both receptively and expressively.  Most families at this point prefer that their child learn to listen and speak. This preference does not always result in a child who has school entry skills. Whether the family has chosen to use sign from birth, or it is the modality deemed to be most effective for learning by a school team due to child’s lack of progress learning to listen and speak – a student must progress through learning ASL in a developmental sequence to prepare them to make academic gains at least at the rate of their class peers. The ASL Content Standards for K-12 grade students is a huge step forward in determining instruction needed and progress monitoring of ASL knowledge and use.

CURRICULUM BASED MEASURES: There is a need for functional assessments to monitor students’ academic performance. Curriculum based measures provide a specific approach to measuring student learning that includes repeated measurement (weekly, monthly) across extended periods of time using general outcome indicators that are sensitive in the rate of change demonstrated in the performance of a task of the same difficulty. While curriculum-based measures (CBM) have been commonly used in public education, it is appropriate to consider CBM use for students who are deaf/hard of hearing specifically. Developed as part of a grant from the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, the University of Minnesota has developed extensive progress CBM materials designed specifically for teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing to monitor students who have hearing loss and/or language differences.

Go to the Education Resources for Teachers of Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students resource page for extensive training resources for teachers and specific means to monitor student progress. This truly is an amazing resource and would be great for professional learning collaboratives or self-study. The measures take only a few minutes each week!

MAZE ASSESSMENT: Monitoring performance via the MAZE assessment is a common form of curriculum-based measurement. Maze presents sentences or short stories with every 7th word missing. The student must select which of 3 words best fits the missing word in the sentence. Clearly, as can be seen in the bar graph, even our students with hearing loss who do not have IEP services and supports are not performing like their age peers. Learn more about creating MAZE reading passages here.

Monitoring Progress of Expanded Core Skills

Expanded core curriculum refers to those skills that students with hearing loss need to learn to be able to access the general education curriculum and fully participate. Even if a student is provided access to effective communication as required by Title II of the ADA, he or she still needs to learn the skills to independently, and confidently, navigate as a person with hearing loss in a mainstream setting. These areas will not be taught specifically and yet they must be learned if full participation in the classroom is expected.

Per the Iowa Expanded Core Curriculum guidance, hearing loss adds a dimension to learning that requires explicit teaching, such as information gained through incidental learning. It has been estimated that for persons without hearing loss, 80% of information learned is acquired incidentally. No effort is required. Any type of hearing loss interrupts this automatic path to gain information. This incidental information must be delivered directly to students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Most teachers without specialized training related to hearing loss do not have the expertise to address the unique needs of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Therefore, IFSP & IEP team collaboration with educational audiologists and teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing is necessary in addressing academic and social instruction and the assessment of these areas. In order to close this information gap, the Expanded Core Curriculum for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (ECC-DHH) was developed. Texas has developed a Livebinder with extensive information about ECC and resources to support implementation.

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