I went up to the high school today here in town to meet with Elijah, two of his teachers and a DARS (Department of Rehabilitative Services) representative. I had asked for the DARS rep to come to Elijah's ARD but she had something come up last minute and could not attend. One of the teachers we met with is the transition teacher at the high school and the other teacher is his case manager. Elijah will be graduating in just over three years and his unique needs require us to start planning now.
Overall, it was a good meeting. Elijah was not too interested in participating. He had been pulled out of his computer class and he really wanted to get back. He did state that he wants to possibly work on disassembling computers for their parts or maybe working with animals. After he left, we all sat around and discussed what Elijah is capable of. His teachers and I agree that he is smart enough to go to college, but his writing skills are not where they need to be for college. At this point (now remember we still have three more years) we aren't sure about a technical school either. We did agree that when he is doing something he likes that he does a good job. He also needs a schedule and likes to stick to it. He doesn't handle change well.
The nice thing is the DARS representative works exclusively with deaf and hard of hearing students. She can work with the school for Elijah to find a job his senior year and provide a job coach to assist him at work. When he becomes frustrated or flustered he may melt down or cry. The plan is for him to take a transition type of class his junior year. He would learn about resumes, job interviews, and do some volunteer work through the class (working in the school or working at the local animal shelter) and then his senior year he would have a job. He would be able to leave school early and go to the job. The school would even provide transportation to work and then I would pick him up.
I wanted he representative from DARS to meet him now so she would have an idea of what he might need. She can then be on the look out for possible jobs for him after graduation. She will attend his ARD (IEP meeting) next January and help in making his plan for his junior year. I am hoping that Elijah will mature in the next three years and that his social/personal skills improve. I am glad we met today and I feel like we are at least heading in the right direction. The DARS representative stated that he had employable skills. Now we just have to continue down this road and see where it takes us!
THE SHADDOX BOYS
Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. Jacob is 21 years old and just moved into an apartment with his girlfriend. He graduated from a technical college with an Associate's degree in Computer Maintenance. He works for a school district as a computer technician. Elijah is almost 18 years old. He is hearing impaired, has Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is a junior in high school. Elijah lives with his mom Mary and her wife, his stepmom. Mary has a bachelor's in deaf education and a masters in special education, and is an educational diagnostician. Life is always changing and this blog has chronicled many of these changes and will continue to do so!