PA Transition Tidbits

Updates and Events - December 2021


Developed in collaboration with the PaTTAN Assistive Technology Team

What is Assistive Technology (AT)?

Assistive technology in IDEA can refer to devices or services. An assistive technology device is defined as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability” (20 U.S.C. 1401(1)). The term can also be used to only describe digital technology (e.g., tablet, computer, smartphone) used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of an individual with a disability.

Assistive technology is different from educational technology. The terms educational technology and instructional technology are often used interchangeably in K-12 settings. Instructional technology is a strategy for using different forms of technology to aid instruction and learning (Kauffman, et al., 2011). According to Seels and Richey (1994), “Instructional technology is the theory and practice of design, development, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning” (p. 9).

How is the Need for AT Determined?

Considerations for assistive technology utilize the SETT Framework. The SETT Framework is a flexible tool that helps to match the accessibility options to the needs and abilities of an individual. Within the framework the following areas are explored:





Specific to transition planning, the team should consider what skills and needs can be addressed across transition goal areas within ENVIRONMENT in the SETT Framework:

- Post Secondary Education and Training

- Employment

- Independent Living

Other considerations to explore:

- needs, preferences, and abilities of the student

- most efficient and effective tool for engaging in specific tasks

- tools available versus need to explore new tools

- student report of tools/features they like the best

- helping understand reasonable accommodations

- building self-advocacy skills

Often, teaching students skills to understand and request available accommodations on state assessments is a great place to start building self-advocacy skills.

Have you connected with Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF)?

Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) is a statewide, non-profit organization that helps individuals with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians acquire the assistive technology devices and services they want.

Check out their resources page!

Where can I learn more?

- Contact local intermediate unit TAC or regional PaTTAN office

- AT for Independence and Learning

- Take a look at the Assistive Technology Planning Checklist developed by the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (2001).

- PACER Center

- Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Assistive Technology

- Georgia Department of Education Transition Planning and Assistive Technology

- WATI Student Resource Guide on Transition


Consider Participating in a Doctoral Research Study:

When does Ed Tech become Assistive Tech?

Do you teach or support students attending public schools in Pennsylvania?

Do you want to contribute toward a research study that will get to the heart of what Pennsylvania educators believe?

If so, Tammy Thompson Cook love to hear from you!! Well before the pandemic, the answer to this question was murky. Participants completing the study will have a chance to win one of two $50 gift cards.

Thank you for considering contributing your perceptions and experience to this study!!

Survey link:

More info about the study:


Baldwin High School (Southwestern PA, Allegheny County)

During the 2020-2021 school year, Baldwin High School was the recipient of a Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education/PaTTAN. Using the Partners Model, Baldwin emphasized Career Education and Work standards around entrepreneurship to create a student run business, Innovation Shop. With the funds, they purchased a Glo-Forge, which students use to create products to sell in their online marketplace, as well as at pop-up sales in the school and in the community. Students are engaged in all aspects of the business from choosing the products, creating the products using the computer and the Glo-Forge, assembling the products, merchandising the products both online and for pop-up events, managing online sales, and product delivery. The online storefront was created through additional funding received from Ed Corps!

Check them out on PaTTANPod to learn more about their work!


Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network (PYLN) and Transition Discoveries are looking for youth leaders! Watch the #IAMALEADER video to learn more!
Calling All Youth Leaders!


Access Funding to Help Families in Your Community During Emergencies

The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council is offering $5,000 grants to assist individuals with developmental disabilities to access information that will educate, prepare and decrease the negative impact of emergency situations like the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may be wondering if you or your organization is eligible to apply….

The answer is YES!!! Anyone is eligible to apply as long as the information is specifically designed to benefit individuals with developmental disabilities and includes individuals with disabilities in the planning and implementation of the project. This could include non-profit organizations, for profit organizations, disability organizations, or counties, just to name a few.

What types of projects are eligible?

The sky is the limit when it comes to ideas about how to deliver your information. You could host a webinar series, have a live face to face conference or create training videos. You could develop materials to hand out, like postcards, flip charts or create plain language documents for individuals with disabilities to use as a resource. What is important to remember is content. All projects funded through this effort must be in direct relation to responding to an emergency situation. They must serve the purpose of providing resources or education. And they must be developed and implemented with the assistance of individuals with disabilities.

What types of projects have already been funded?

So far Council has funded 19 projects. Topics have included:

    • Transition to Employment in the midst of a pandemic
    • Development of a Self-Advocacy training to say what you want and need during an emergency
    • Subscriptions to a disability bookshelf for parents with school aged children providing education at home
    • Accessibility in the classroom for virtual learning
    • Producing informational videos for self-advocates to address trauma
    • Offering access to support animals to address isolation, loneliness, and trauma
    • Disaster preparedness packets
    • Staying fit and healthy when stuck at home
    • Socialization, leisure, and enrichment classes during periods of isolation; and
    • Focus groups to evaluate accessibility software to increase on-line accessibility.

Tools for Your Toolbox!

Where do I go to learn more and apply:

The instructions as well as the application can be found at the PADDC website,

The Community Response Projects are supported in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council, through grant number 2001PASCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.


Virtual Family Leadership Institute

You're invited to apply to participate in a Family Leadership Institute (FLI), a multi-session, in-depth training for families to build knowledge and leadership skills related to inclusive special education and health care, offered at no cost to families by the PEAL Center and our partners!

This is a unique opportunity, as we have not offered a virtual FLI before!

Live sessions will be held on Zoom every Tuesday evening, from 5:00-6:30 pm, for 7 weeks between January 11th and February 22nd, 2022. Participants MUST COMMIT to attending all live sessions, in addition to completing "Learning On Your Own" (LOYO) assignments in between.

Participation is by application only, which must be completed and submitted by December 3rd, 2021. Complete the online application at: Space is limited, please apply early! If you have been selected for this FLI, we will let you know by December 10th.

Please see flyer for more information. Contact PEAL with any questions, at or 866-950-1040, ext 203.

December: PEAL Center Youth Events

The PEAL Center is hosting Youth Virtual Coffee Drop In's every Thursday at 12:00 pm on Zoom at


December 2 - Self Awareness 2

December 9 - Leadership Skills Session

December 16 - Self Awareness 3

Youth Development Trainings on Self Awareness are offered from 12:00 - 1:00 pm on Zoom at on the following dates:

December 3

December 17

For questions or to request accommodations contact

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT:C)

The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT:C) provides information, tools, and supports to assist multiple stakeholders to provide effective services and instruction for students and out-of-school youth with disabilities.

Check out their Training Resource Library.

If you're new to transition, be sure to check out Transition 101!


Transition Resources to Follow on Social Media

Social media is a great way to learn about new tools and resources related to secondary transition. Be sure to check out some of our partners on social media!

Transition Discoveries

Instagram: @transitiondiscoveries

Twitter: @TransitionDisc1

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT:C)

Twitter: @TransitionTA

The Iris Center

Twitter: @TheIRISCenter

PEAL Center

Twitter: @PEALCenter; @pealyouth

Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network (PYLN)

Twitter: @thePYLN

Think College

Twitter: @thinkcollegeICI


Twitter: @TransCenInc


Did you know that there are 29 Intermediate Units across the state of Pennsylvania? Each IU has training and consultation (TAC) staff dedicated to secondary transition. The Transition TAC across the state do AMAZING work at the local level to help local education agencies improve transition practices for students with disabilities. Each month we will feature TAC across the statewide system!


Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5 (Erie, Crawford, & Warren Counties)

Renee Jerge

Renee has been in education for over 20 years and have had experience at all levels. She truly enjoys watching students learn, grow, and become successful members of the community. Serving the local tri-county region as a trainer and consultant has enabled her to share my passion with other educators and help to maximize the effectiveness of quality educational practices.

Connect with Renee


phone: (814)440-9928


Amy Shilling

Amy's background is in mental health, but she became an educator to make a greater impact. She has previously served as a special education teacher for students with emotional and behavioral challenges. She has served as a training and consultation specialist in the behavior initiative, and added transition 3 years ago. Most of the region is rural, so Amy's primary focus is preparing students to be college and career-ready and connecting them to the best opportunities and resources available.

Connect with Amy


phone: (814)734-8386


other resource: IU5 Transition Councils


Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11

Brian Kritzer

Brian is in his third school year as a transition consultant at TIU 11. Prior to my this role, he was a high school Learning Support Special Education teacher at Mount Union Area School for sixteen years. While at Mount Union Area, Brian also served as the school district's transition coordinator.

Connect with Brian:


phone: (814) 542-2501 ext. 104


other resource: TIU Transition Council Padlet



Philadelphia Intermediate Unit 26

LaQuenta Montañez

LaQuenta serves as the Secondary Transition Coordinator for The School District of Philadelphia, and IU26 Consultant for the Philadelphia Public Charter Schools. Her 25 years of experience in Secondary Transition, coupled with extensive knowledge in this area working with Vocational Itinerants, Office of Specialized Services, makes her a great resource for students and families in the preparing for life after high school.

Connect with LaQuenta


phone: (215) 400-5874


other resource: Philadelphia Transition Coordinating Council

google site: Virtual Secondary Transition Fair

This newsletter is brought to you by: The Pennsylvania Community on Transition

The Pennsylvania Community on Transition is a group of various stakeholders from across Pennsylvania who work collaboratively to ensure appropriate transition outcomes for Pennsylvania youth and young adults.

The Pennsylvania Community on Transition is a state leadership team consisting of representative from: the State Departments of Education, Health, Labor and Industry, and Human Services; Various Serving Agencies, Young Adults, Parent Organizations, Advocates, Higher Education, and Employers.

The shared vision and common goals of the Pennsylvania Community on Transition is achieved when all PA youth and young adults with disabilities:

  • Successfully transition to the role of productive and participating adult citizens
  • Are empowered to recognize their talents, strengths, and voice
  • Have equal access to resources that will promote their full participation in the communities of their choice.