Training for LIFE

Tips, Tricks and Links for Post Secondary Transition

Big picture

LIFE Lending Library

When looking at our transition program, we started to realize that we needed more opportunities for our students to participate in hands on activities that are high interest, visually supported and address foundation skills for independence. Creation of these activities can be extremely time consuming, expensive and difficult. A great teacher may not have the time, technical skills or materials to create all the items that they would love to have. On the other hand, these materials are generally used for a short period of time before the student masters the skills or needs a change to maintain interest.

Our solution...

As an educational service center serving 2 rural counties, a way we can support all of our staff is with a lending library. Our library consists of over 430 items that include complete structured tasks with supporting visuals and jigs as needed, file folders, task cards, equipment and books. All of these items are stored at our agency's main building and are available to any staff member in our associated school districts. The library system is all online and staff can place items on hold. Once the hold is placed, I gather the materials and the staff member picks them up when convenient. Luckily we have enough staff that travel to different parts of our region on a regular basis that if the borrower asks, we can send it out to them with another staff member.

The online software that we use and have been very pleased with is It costs approximately $75 per year using the educator's discount and is very easy to use and manage. There is an additional cost if you want to have more than one person as a manager. We have not added additional managers yet but may be looking into that as the program grows. The program supports the use of bar codes to identify and check in/out materials which makes life easier once the system is up and running. A good bar code scanner can be purchased for around $35.

Tips To Replicate This In Your Program

Consider your administrative structure

How you want to structure the system.

  • Who will be able to access the library?
  • Will there be a cost?
  • Will you charge an initial deposit to cover lost/damage items?
  • Where are items going to be stored?
  • Who is going to manage the materials?

There are costs associated with providing this service but there can also be a lot of savings in a system like this. Materials and equipment that is not used on a daily basis can be shared within a district or agency rather than sitting in storage. Multiple levels can be supported without over stressing the staff.

Consider material structure

Elements of uniformity help keep the collection together

  • HEAVY DUTY zip bags - These can be found on Amazon and when purchased in bulk are reasonable. I have found that the 10" x 12" and 16" x 20" sizes fit almost everything we have. Larger equipment such as appliances stay in their original boxes and some tasks with larger parts are in plastic bins.
  • Cover Sheets - Create a consistent format for a task Cover Sheet and make sure EVERY task has one. The cover sheet should include at minimum the name of the task, a picture of the task, Please Return to... , and if using a library software system the item's barcode. The more consistent this is, the more likely people will identify the materials and return them. We laminate the cover sheet and it stays in the bag even when the task is taken out to help keep our bags from being lost in the shuffle.
  • Task Directions - Create a template for how directions are written and stick to it as much as possible. Our task direction sheets include the following headings: Task Name, Created by, Ohio Learning Standards, Task picture, Materials included, Additional Materials Need (supplied by classroom), Directions, Optional Activity/s, Assessment, Differentation, Keywords, Career Field/s, Resources and Visuals

Start Small

Start small and work out some of the kinks in the system before diving in full force. This will save you from having to redo things many times.

Grant Money

There are a lot of grants out there, you just have to get creative. You may have to tap into local businesses, library grants and your state agencies. Post-Secondary outcomes are high on the priority list in most state and federal agencies right now so tap into that momentum.

Reach out to others!

If you are interesting in setting something like this up for your program, please reach out to me for more information!!! I have learned so much in the process of doing this that I can share to hopefully save you the headaches I've had.

If you have done something like this or have some tips, I am all ears!!!! Please email them to me and I'll add them in to future newsletters.

Transition Activities: Structured Work Tasks for Transition Age Students, Theory & Hands On

Monday, March 9th, 8:30am-3:30pm

Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center, Urbana, OH, USA

Urbana, OH

Theory with a Make It, Take It Component!

Workshop Overview

Promoting independence is key for our students as they prepare for life after graduation. In this series, we will discuss the theory behind using structured work tasks for skill development and increasing independence. Each session will expand on the the basic theory related to the theme and then participates will be given lots of practical ideas to use with their students and the understanding of how to expand on these ideas according to student's needs. By the end of the day, participants will make an activity that they can use with their students, all materials included.

Session 4: Cooking Monday, March 9, 2020 (8:30 am - 3:30 pm)

Session 5: Group Activities Monday, April 20, 2020 (8:30 am - 3:30 pm)

$65 per session per person for employees of districts/agencies in Madison, Champaign, Clark, Hardin, Logan and Shelby counties

$75 per session per for employees of districts/agencies in counties other than those listed above.

Presenter: Patricia Kauffman, OT/L

Patricia is an occupational therapist and the LIFE Skills Lab Coordinator for the Madison Champaign Co. ESC. As an OT for 27 years, Kauffman has spent most of her career in the school setting but also owned a private practice in the Columbus area for 7 years. She developed the LIFE Skills Lab at MCESC in 2016 and has been able to significantly expand the program as a recipient an Innovative Strategies for Developing the College and Career Readiness of Students with Disabilities grant from ODE for the SY 2018-19. She has attended several TEACCH trainings including the 5-day intensive: Adolescents and Adults Transitioning to Vocational, Residential and Community Settings. She has recently presented at SST6 Best Practice Showcase, Ohio Occupational Therapy Association’s (OOTA) annual conference and OCALICON. She will be presenting at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) annual national conference in March.

Use this link to register:

Training for LIFE Team at the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center

Team Members include

Patricia Kauffman, OT/L, LIFE Skills Lab & Lending Library Coordinator

Terri Mac Donald, Low Incidence Supervisor

Alycia Smith, Intervention Specialist at West Liberty-Salem Schools

Carrie Boggs, Intervention Specialist at Triad High School

Emily Davis, Intervention Specialist at Mechanicsburg Middle School