Special Education

Talking About Transition

By Christina A. Samuels — March 19, 2009 1 min read
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The blog Disability Scoop is featuring a question-and-answer session with a New York-based transition coordinator. I was interested in her answer to this question about people with cognitive disabilities and support after high school:

....do not leave school before you must. If you have not completed the requirements for graduation, you are entitled to stay in school until the year you turn 21! For all the struggles you may face within the school system, school services are mandated by law. Adult programs require meeting eligibility requirements, which often makes services far less comprehensive and user friendly.

I recently wrote an article about transition and interviewed a mother of an 18-year-old with severe disabilities. Her state, Michigan, would allow her son to stay in school until he’s 26, which is an expansion of the federal law which provides for schooling until age 21. But she found herself questioning the value of having him remain in school that long, if the district wasn’t going to create a program to meet his special needs. She was worried to see him left behind while his friends and peers graduated.

I didn’t have an opportunity to include this parent’s anecdote in my article, but I thought that she raised a good question. Is it generally the best idea for students with cognitive disabilites to stay in school as long as possible?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.