The Arc of Shelby County

Project Name: The Arc of Shelby County Transition Services

Contact Information:
Karen H. Stokes
(205) 664-9313
1960 Chandalar Dr. Suite H
Pelham, AL 35124

Project Goals

  • Students will increase their ability to make decisions and achieve self-determination;
  • Families will gain knowledge of the importance of future planning, advocacy skills, and will more fully understand available community resources and supports;
  • Students will have greater knowledge of available community options after school services end; and
  • Transition teachers and job coaches will increase their knowledge of the importance of self-determination to successful transition and will gain strategies on how to facilitate self-determination.

Project Description

The purpose of this transition from school-to-community project is to create greater inclusion and involvement of students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities in their local communities, without total reliance on traditional waiver supports. The project addresses gaps in the knowledge base among project collaborators and bridges the disparity between school-based services and life after transition for families and their students, providing hope for the future.

Participating students and their families receive a broad spectrum of services and opportunities designed to increase the probability of greater success following their school completion. The core component of the project is informed choice by students and families. Students must have the opportunity to participate in their own future planning and decision-making to be based on their own unique dreams and goals. Teachers, families, and support groups must promote opportunities for students to gain knowledge and skills in decision making and in knowledge of what their communities offer. To facilitate these needs, the project includes teacher training, an emphasis on self-determination within the classroom and in the community, employment and work experiences, transition planning, and family training.

Through workshops and trainings, transition teachers and job coaches from high schools in Shelby County offered a focus on teaching strategies and how to promote and encourage self-determination in their students as well as why self-determination impacts successful transition from school to community and how to bring attention to these skills.

Students their families participating in the intensive education and support program are assisted by a Family Advocate to focus on futures planning, family values, and self-determination, choice making, personal advocacy, and utilization of community resources and supports.