Chris Walsh Center
January / February 2022
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A center at Framingham State University dedicated to helping families and educators of children with unmet needs.
Virtual Book Discussion:
The Center’s two virtual book discussions of “Sincerely Your Autistic Child” were a success with a total of 29 participants. Due to all of the positive feedback following the discussions, we have decided to host a third discussion to be held on May 4 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. More information on this next discussion will be shared in the coming weeks.
Panel Presentation: Understanding the Transition Process
What is my child’s school doing to help them prepare for life after High School?
What steps are in place to help my child be successful in postsecondary education/training, competitive employment, independent living and community participation?
What skills do my child need to help them become more independent?
Are there services available to help my child once they graduate from High School or turn 18 and are no longer on an IEP?
These are questions that most parents of children on an IEP have asked themselves at one point. The answers to these questions can be found in your child’s transition plan. If your child is at least 14 years old, your school is developing a transition plan for them. It is important that you and your child are actively involved in developing this plan.
The Chris Walsh Center has put together a panel of experts to help you understand the transition planning process so you can get the most out of it. On February 16, from 7:00 – 8:30 pm, we will be offering the free, virtual, Panel Presentation: Understanding the Transition Process. Our panel of presenters includes: Amanda Green (Secondary Transition Supervisor at Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education), Vikky Angelico (Disability Services Coordinator at Framingham State University), Lore Andrescavage (Executive Function/College/Transition Coach at Effective Effort Consulting), and Carla Cataldo (Parent). All of the presenters will share their experience and expertise on the transition planning process and be available for questions.
You can register for this event through Eventbrite.
Transition Support Group
Hello everyone! My name is Ellen Rose and I am the Chris Walsh Center's Graduate Assistant. This semester, one of the projects I am undertaking is a parent/caregiver support group for the transition process.
The group will be held March 24 to April 28 for a six week period. We will meet once a week on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. I am looking for 6-8 parents/caregivers to participate in this group.
If all participants are on Facebook, I will be putting together a private Facebook group where participants can talk to each other to give each other information as well as to ask questions that either I or the other participants can answer. Another form of communication can be used if not everyone uses Facebook.
The group will be both informative and supportive, with a resource handout given out each week prior to meeting. Then, the resource can be discussed and the second half of the meeting will be dedicated to support.
The purpose of the group is to educate and support parents and caregivers whose children have turned 14 and are planning for the future. We get a lot of questions from parents about what to do after high school. Their child may currently be on an IEP and get a lot of support. Until they turn 18 and graduate or turn 22 - they're getting services from the town. Once they're considered adults, parents wonder, “OK, what do I do now?” “How do I care for an adult, making sure that they have the support they need while helping them to become independent?” It's just a very stressful process.
There's a lot of information out there that parents aren't necessarily given from the schools. The schools may guide them through the planning process, but maybe they don't always explain what's happening.
My daughter was on an IEP and only through researching the transition planning process as part of this job have I been able to go, “Oh, that's what we did.” I didn't know that this was transition planning. It seems like no matter how much information you have, there's always new questions. One of the best places for support is other parents that are going through the same process.
The more information that we have as parents, the easier it is to support the child through the process and then just set them up for success after graduation.
Email the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating.
Mass_Chile takes on UDL
The Chris Walsh Center is partnering with Framingham State University’s English Language Programs and the Education Department to design a professional development course for a group of Chilean educators in the Chile_Mass program. While they are here on the FSU campus, the center will support the participants in learning about the principles of UDL (universal design for learning) and preparing to implement these inclusive practices when they return home to their classrooms in Chile.
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Resource of the Month:
The Arc Brochure on Transition Planning
The Arc (https://thearcofmass.org/) is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and serving them and their families. They were founded by parents in 1950 and they continue work to uphold the vision that every individual and family living with I/DD in the United States has access to the information, advocacy, and skills they need to support their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.
The Arc of Massachusetts 217 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453 (781)891-6270 • www.arcmass.org published the following brochure that explains Massachusetts laws on transition, breaks down a timeline for transition planning for parents and provides additional resources for support.