Seguin Services, Inc. and Park Lawn Association

Project Name: Building Bridges to the Future

Contact Information:
Lori Opiela
(708) 222-4834
3100 S Central Ave
Cicero, IL 60804

Project Goals

  • 100% of participating student IEP’s will include a transition to adulthood plan tailored to each student's unique needs;
  • 35% of special education students, served in this project and exiting targeted high schools, will experience no gap in services provision resulting in a loss of skills as measured by admission into adult services programs with community service provider;
  • 100% of participating parents will learn about services and financial supports that their children can receive to successfully transition into adulthood at IEP meetings and individual consultations with a TOS;
  • 50% of students in their final year of special education will increase their mastery of work, social and other self-help skills necessary to succeed in the wider, more diverse environment of adult work or other life experience through increasing experiences with adult service programs across multiple service domains;
  • 95% of special education students with developmental disabilities exiting high school who were employed during high school will maintain employment, if desired, with employment supports provided by an adult services provider as evidenced through interviews and progress note documentation;
  • At least 50% of parents will have made contact with the PAS agency to get their child on the PUNS list;
  • 50% of parents will have applied for and procured income supports (e.g., Supplemental Security Income);
  • 50% of parents will have applied with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) and secured Medicaid eligibility for their child with developmental disabilities, as a necessary pre-condition for receiving services through Medicaid-waiver funding through learning about these entitlements from a TOS and the IEP team; and
  • 50% of parents will have consulted an attorney to execute legal instruments (guardianship, Special Needs Trust, will, power of attorney, etc.) to secure their child's future as a result of learning this information through individual consultations with their TOS.

Project Description

The Building Bridges to the Future project is developing a new mechanism for ensuring that children with developmental disabilities, ages 14 to 21 years, are not “missed” as they move from school to the adults with disabilities system of care. This new project prepares special education students so that they can successfully transition from school into the adult world of learning, working, socializing, and living in the community as we all do. The project employs a TOS and recruit student interns to coach and support parents and students with developmental disabilities who attend high schools in the southwest and west suburbs of Chicago.

Project activities of best practice for transition planning services to children with developmental disabilities include:

  • Establish relationships with special education departments in eight high schools over the next three years to identify and serve all special education students, 14-21, diagnosed as having a developmental disability;
  • Attend IEP staffing, participating as a member of each student’s interdisciplinary team, and ensuring that each IEP will include transition plans tailored to each student’s unique preferences, skills, and needs;
  • Conduct individual self-advocacy training and coaching sessions to educate parents, guardians, and students about options for community services and financial and legal arrangements necessary for a successful transition into adulthood, including information about government benefits to ensure that the transitioning students obtain the maximum resources to which they are entitled;
  • Work collaboratively with partner agency staff to provide in-service training and information sessions as part of school transition fairs, special seminars, or other appropriate training venues;
  • Assist parents and students with establishing Medicaid waiver services through contacting the appropriate PAS agency, registering each student on the PUNS list, and obtaining Medicaid, or other appropriate medical insurance, for each student; and
  • Provide linkage to legal professionals to address issues such as guardianship, special needs trusts, and other relevant legal issues.