Marin Autism Collaborative Annual Meeting 2014

On Saturday March 8, discount the Marin Autism Collaborative held its annual meeting, link where parents and service providers shared information and resources about transition planning for individuals with ASD.

Panel #1: Pathways to Transition Planning

Transitions are often difficult for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Matthew Tarver-Wahlquist, sickness the Director of Residential Services at the Cedars of Marin, moderated the panel, which discussed resources, preparations, and advice for teenagers transitioning away from high school. Beth DeWitt, County Manager at GGRC, Diane McNamara, Program Manager at Marin Special Education Local Plan Area, and Anne Goodrich, Secondary Program Specialist at Novato Unified School District, discussed services available for transition planning for individuals with ASD. A plan can help ease the difficulty of transitioning and provide a reasonable framework for reaching goals. Typically, your teen’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) should indicate whether or not the child is on a diploma track or a certificate path, as well as post-secondary goals. Parents Janet Miller and Janet Lawson (also the founder of Autistry) discussed their personal experience with transition planning for their ASD child. During transition years, parents and service providers stressed the importance of letting children explore interests and help them navigate choices as well as to encourage them to advocate for themselves.

Panel #2: Community Living Options: Live, Work, and Play

Moderated by Matthew Tarver-Wahlquist, the panel shared information on available services and resources in Marin County. Beth DeWitt, the County Manager of the GGRC, Linda Wohlrabe, the Executive Director of the Opportunity for Independence, and Nancy Dow Moody, the President & CEO of Lifehouse, talked about residential housing services, supportive living services, day programs, and recreation programs available to the ASD community.

LynnEl Powell and Janet Miller, who are both parents of children with ASD, shared their experiences on the availability of services for individuals with ASD. Parents also shared advice on accessing ASD services as adults. Some parents suggested that all school assessments and academic records be kept for proof when applying for ASD programs as adults.

Panel #3: Young Adults Share their Stories

This panel, which was moderated by Janet Lawson, the founder of Autistry Studios, starred members of Autistry Studios; Marin Xiques April Evans, Ross Jacobs, Steven Waite, and Josh Foley. These inspirational young adults with ASD shared their personal experiences and challenges on transitioning from high school to adulthood. Many of the panelists said that they do not disclose their ASD unless they feel comfortable. During transition years, the panelists also noted that parents sometimes need to step back and let kids make decisions.

Resources:

The MAC Annual Meeting 2014 covered transition planning and how to navigate life and access to services as adults with ASD. Please find below the resources that were provided at the meeting from various organizations in Marin County. The list of publications and local/national agencies was made possible by Stephanie Smith of the Parent Matrix Network.

Transition Planning Resources:

Example and Case Study of Transition Plans, SELPA

Parent Involvement Activities for Transition

Standards Based IEP Development

Matrix Parent and Resource Center Special Education Transition Plan

Cypress Vocational and Therapeutic Services Program Flyer

CA Department of Rehabilitation, Employment and Independence for Californians with Disabilities

Golden Gate Regional Center, Employment First Initiative Policy

List of Publications and Agencies (made by Stephanie Smith of the Matrix Parent Network), also available below.

Publications:

Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit, comprehensive national autism organization

Creating a Path to Employment: Tips for Parents with Children with Disabilities, Office of Disability Employment Policy, US Dept of Labor

Essential Skills to Getting a Job: What Young People Need to Know, Office of Disability Employment Policy, US Dept of Labor

Going to College: A Resource for Teens with Disabilities, Going to College-national resource for teens

Guideposts for Success, national collaborative on Workforce and disability

Planning for Transition: It’s Never too Soon, PACER National Champions for Children with Disabilities

Transition Planning: The Basics (IEP), California Transition Alliance

Transition to Adult Living: An Information and Resource Guide, CalStat Project of California, Dept. of Education, Special Education

Local and National Agencies:

ASCEND (San Francisco), Education, Networking, Development and Support

Autism After 16 (national), online resources

Autistry Studios (San Rafael), Prevocational workshops, counseling

California Department of Rehabilitation (Novato), employment, independent living

Casa Allegra (San Rafael), living, employment, education

Cedars of Marin (Ross), comprehensive national autism organization

College Internship Program (Berkeley), college and career support, Asperger’s

College Living Experience- CLE (Monterey), support during college

College of Marin Disability Student Services (Marin County), support services during college

Cornerstone Community Homes (Novato), residential services

Cypress Vocational and Therapeutic Services, transitional programs, vocational

Family Works (San Rafael), independent living skills

Golden Gate Regional Center, services and funding for qualified individuals with special needs

Integrated Community Services (San Rafael), employment, housing, recreation, information

Life Works (Sonoma County), transition support, Asperger’s

Lifehouse (San Rafael), residential and support services for adults, supported living. Teen and adult recreation

Marin Ventures (San Rafael), Day Programs

Matrix Parent Network and Resource Center (Novato), parent training, resource and information for parents of children with special needs from birth to 26

Moving Forward Towards Independence (Napa), residential, supported living, vocational

National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (national), online resources

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (national), online resources

Opportunity for Independence (San Rafael), vocational, behavioral, recreational, supported living, day program, education

Regional Occupation Program (San Rafael), Marin County Office of Education

School to Career Partnership (Marin County), Marin County Office of Education

Sweetwater Spectrum (Sonoma County), housing

Think College! (national), college options for people with intellectual disabilities

TransCen, Inc, (San Francisco), Improving employment outcomes

Transition Coalition (national), online resources

WineBev (Napa), day programs and employment