Training for LIFE

Tips, Tricks and Links for Post Secondary Transition

Welcome to the Training for LIFE Newsletter

The LIFE Transition program at the Madison-Champaign Educational Service Center in Urbana, OH is ready for a new school year of excitement and growth. Let me tell you what we have been up to!

The program consists of:

LIFE Class - A class for juniors or above in which all of their academics have a functional focus and they go to a community based work experience at least 3 mornings a week. They also frequently go on community based outings throughout Champaign county.

LIFE Skills Lab - A simulated work experience destination for transition age youth in Champaign County. Designed and coordinated from an occupational therapy view point, the activities of the day are directed by the classes' intervention specialist with OT support. Students obtain career exploration, daily living and soft work skills using independent and group structured tasks.

LIFE Lending Library - Structured work tasks, equipment, books, file folder activities, task cards and more all related to post-secondary transition skills. All of these materials can be checked out by staff within the MCESC region.

Training for LIFE - Professional development and program development for administrators, intervention specialists, related services, parents, students and anyone who is interested in the success of students with disabilities after graduation.

During the 2018-19 school year we received one of the ODE's Innovative Strategies grants to expand our post-secondary transition services. It involved significant amount of training for staff, material development, exploring transition assessments and the creation of a materials lending library. All exciting stuff! Now we would like to start sharing this information and build a community of people excited about transition services.

Answering Questions

During presentations and online, we are frequently asked lots of questions. In this space we will pull from some of those questions and answer them here.

Are you in a school?

The LIFE Classroom & LIFE Skills Lab are located at the MCESC building along with several other consortium classrooms. The middle and high school level classrooms have access to the Skills Lab on a weekly schedule.

The MCESC also has consortium multiple disability classrooms within local school district buildings. The districts have committed to transporting these students to/from the lab on their classroom's scheduled day rather than their classroom. The class then spends the entire day at the Skills Lab involved in daily living skills, work skills and career exploration activities.

Our high school level classes attend 2x/month and our middle school level classes attend 1x/month.

What is your target population?

The LIFE classroom is for students at the junior level or above and primarily serves students with multiple disabilities and/or autism. Students are referred for the program during IEP's leading up to their junior year.

The LIFE Skills lab currently serves:

Consortium multiple disability classes - disabilities can include Down's Syndrome, intellectual disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy among many others.

Mac-A-Cheek Central classes - This set of jr/sr high programs addresses behavioral as well as emotional concerns that interfere with the students’ ability to learn in a regular public school setting. Many of our students served at Mac-A-Cheek Learning Center are not able to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers. The classes at the MCESC building are satellites of the learning center based in Bellefontaine, OH.

If you have questions you would like answered or topics that you would like to hear more about please email We would love to hear from you!

Up Coming Presentations, Professional Development, Webinars Etc.

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

Monday, Jan. 13th 2020 at 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 2: Career Exploration & Technology Monday, January 13, 2020 (8:30 am - 3:30 pm)

Session 3: Structuring Household Activities Monday, February 10, 2020 (8:30 am - 3:30 pm)

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)

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

Cheri Leffel, LIFE Classroom Intervention Specialist

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