Transition - Parents Can Make It Happen

Transition - Parents Can Make It Happen

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First, I suggest getting a copy of Wanda Draper’s book, “ Your Child Is Smarter Than You Think!”  I do not get a dime for this. The book will give you back your confidence as a parent that you know your child.  Wands is positive about parents and their impression they make on their child(ren).  Also, that parents better than anyone else know their child(ren).


If your child is on an I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan), look at his/hers strengths, weaknesses, areas of interests and make this a starting point.  Make the IEP a working document.  The sooner you start with a Transition Plan, formal or informal, the better.  Middle school is ideal to start.  When you have a few ideas of the things you child can do, you might go to these sites.


  1. Which is the Bureau of Labor Statistics      

Occupational Handbook site.   A few ways to look up occupations are; occupational finder, growth rate, new jobs, occupational groups, and lots more. Check it out.

  1.  On the site it says, “What is Onet?”     

The answer is. “The nation’s primary site of occupational information.”


Two great books to read on Transition and Independence, although geared for autism apply across the board, are;


  1. “Developing Talents Careers for Individuals with

Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism,” by Temple Grandin.

  1. “Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum,” by Lynne Soraya.


Social skills and learning to adjust situations are part of these books. Yet, I am focusing on career aspects and job skills.


Temple Grandin explains how to look for chances and places for you and your child/teen/young adult to develop these skills by;


  1. Volunteering
  2. Clubs
  3. How to show work pieces.
  4. Developing/nurturing talents
  5. Basically have a portfolio of work
  6. Networking


Lynne Soraya covers more of how to adjust, interview, and when to reveal disabilities or not. The book covers other areas like living indepentently; instead over covering careers but contains vital information and resources.


An example I read about was a young adult on the spectrum that had either the subway or bus routes memorized for New York City.   It worked into an information resource job.  People would call to find out when and what number a specific bus/subway was going. 


This is an example of   “designer job” development. Basically, it is the idea where a job is developed for a person based on his/her interests.  Except where will you find a job like this or how many companies will create jobs based on a specific person’s interests?  Some tech companies are doing this but that is a small number. There are a few projects built on this basis working with companies that are doing this.


Take a lesson from this model to do it yourself for your son/daughter.  You can use all the resources you have.  Starting with the IEP.  Get to know your child.  What does he/she want to do?  Think outside the box. 


Let me go to my son for an example. Love animals?  Pet grooming?  Veterinary assistant?  Pet insurance company?  How to prepare them?  I know in Oklahoma every county has a 4H club. 


I asked our vet if my son could volunteer at her practice.  She was extremely nice to allow him to do so for a year.  Think of the liability she could incur.  I asked and got a yes.  Remember if you don’t ask the answer is “No!”


Had I known about the other information earlier I would have  had my son volunteer at the zoo, maybe.  Field trips to places he had interests in that fit his work ability would have been done in middle school. This would have been done using the books and sites I gave you. 


A few things I did to before and during middle school that I am proud of were making sure he could keyboard and type on the computer.  I found with help from providers and the schools online typing programs. He started typing on the computer in elementary. We found games as motivation.  You-tube offers videos on showing how to do lots of things.  I had him take keyboarding in seventh grade instead of eighth grade.  Commonly this isn’t offered to special needs children.  Working on a computer is almost a must for many jobs.  Take the initiative and ask or insist.


Do you think your child can read better than he/she is letting on?  Might be embarrassed because he/she can read it out loud but can read it silently?  Microsoft 2010 had what is called a Grade Read Ability Calculator.  This simply  means it can approximate the grade level your child is reading on.  You can go to add ons  in Microsoft and add it.  Then when you perform spell check it will tell you what grad level your material is on.  I used this on my son.  He was reading about the Karate Kid on Wikipedia.  I went to the site cut and pasted. It showed him as eleventh grade sixth month.  I put this here in case you have a child like mine.  You need to know your child’s abilities.


What are some advantages other than job skills for my son working at the vet?  He found out he didn’t like this.  There were too many bugs around the animals.  This has to do with one of those sensory issues that autistics can’t get over.  A lot of people don’t like bugs but can get over it for a job.  Tanner is not one of those.   We are narrowing down his job choices.


I put my thinking cap on and thought for almost a year.  I will not reveal the place because I don’t want place like this to be overwhelmed with calls.  I found a place where he will start to learn scanning skills.  This place has worked with autistics.  During the first interview he was deemed to have appropriate conversation skills. He will have personal interaction with a few people.  This is opposed to being a carry out for a grocery store where working with the public means interaction with numerous people.  Not great for those with autism.  A few people is good because they can learn about him and he can them learn about them.


Next he will be on a computer, which is like candy to those with autism.  How did I think of this place?  I thought about my son.  What would work for him and followed the steps I gave you earlier.  Next I called.  Remember no call is a now but calling is a maybe.  I got a couple of no’s before I found this fit that I am sure God intended.


I have a few more resources for you to check out.

  1.  You could use what you know to formulate possible careers for your child.  This Is only one example.  Google job assessment for more options.  Check with your state Vocational Rehabilitation  Department or go to
  2. Check out  There is a wealth of information to glean here.
  3. There is plenty of information but it would be overdoing it. I offer my cell 405-850-0595.  Please text me and put transition in text with either a cell number or email.  I will try to help you with resources, brainstorming or just talk. I promise to do my best to help.
  4. A few other ideas. I am not advocating but trying to be inclusive.
  7.          (Oklahoma only)

       (Texas only)

       For other states I would put career tech and your

       state in a Google Search

                 Might consider the Military If this and only if it fits  

                your son/daughter

                ****This is not an all inclusive list….Text me with

               resources I love updates


Remember to check out all the resources. Do assessments of your child’s abilities. Take them on field trips to places that match these criteria.  Be willing to make it happen.   If you fear for your child chances; you can muster up the strength  to think up and approach places.


What has my son gained so far? He knows what it might like to work at a vet.  Also, this choice isn’t for him.  I want him to be happy.  What does volunteering have over working a number of jobs?  Quitting because you don’t like it goes down in a more negative way.  Volunteering is seen in a much more positive light.   Your son/daughter will have a lifetime to work to sustain himself.  Let him get off to a great start in a positive light when he has the luxury of working for free.