Answered by Cindy Perras
As students move through their secondary school years and the focus sharpens on what their options may be after secondary school, it is important to note that there are numerous paths to consider and that the pathways may not be linear nor mutually exclusive. For secondary students with LDs, the transition pathways may include:
- Secondary to post-secondary (ongoing learning)
- School to work (employment preparation, apprenticeship (OYAP), work readiness, employment)
For students with LDs moving on to post-secondary education, one of the best things educators can do is to actively involve them in the transition process – think self-advocacy!
Transition planning to post-secondary starts early and is fostered by the Ministry of Education and local school boards through a number of initiatives, including:
- According to the Ontario Ministry of Education, the document Creating Pathways to Success is founded on a vision, in which all students leave secondary school with a clear plan for their initial post-secondary destination, whether in apprenticeship training, college, community living, university, or the workplace. Click here to open the document Creating Pathways to Success.
- Students in K – grade 6 create an “All About Me Portfolio”, which contains evidence of the younger students’ learning and career/life planning. Introducing students early in their school career to the process of developing a personal portfolio helps them reflect on their strengths and interests as learners as they prepare for transitions from grade to grade.
- In grades 7 – 12, students document their learning through Individual Pathway Planning (IPP), which is web-based and student-driven.
- Career Cruising (a Ministry licensed web application) is a comprehensive career guidance system that guides students through the career and education planning process. Once students have decided on a career path or paths, they can link directly to comprehensive university, community college, and apprenticeship training information. Click here to visit the OSAPAC website and learn more about Career Cruising.
- Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Transition Plans - a plan for transition to post-secondary is a mandatory component of the IEP, for identified students 14 years of age and older. Click here to open the Ministry document, Transition Planning: A Resource Guide.
- The Regional Assessment and Resource Centre (RARC) has created a new, practical, online resource for students with disabilities who are going on to post-secondary education, entitled the “Resource Guide for Students with Disabilities: Transition to Post-Secondary Education”. Click here to open the Transition Resource Guide.
- Secondary schools are able to provide varied and rich resources to support the transition to post-secondary process for students with LDs, including:
- Offering learning strategies courses
- Offering career options courses
- Ensuring that each identified student’s IEP includes an adaptive technology plan and clearly identifies all required accommodations
To assist educators and students with managing the various, and at times overlapping, components of the transition to post-secondary planning process, a simple checklist, developed by Cindy Perras, may be of assistance. Click here to open the transition to post-secondary checklist.
In terms of support at the post-secondary education level, supports and services might include academic accommodations, test and exam accommodations, the use of assistive and/or adaptive technology, peer mentoring, tutoring, etc. As each college and university in Ontario will have its own disability services, LD@school has created a chart that includes links to these disability services. Click here to open, in PDF, LD@school’s chart entitled “Services Available for Students with LDs at Ontario Colleges and Universities“.
To access ongoing community based support, click here to visit the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario (LDAO) website, which offers resources, services, information, venues and products designed to help people with LDs and ADHD, as well as parents, teachers, and other professionals. Available community based supports may vary according to region. Click here to access a summary of local supports offered by the chapters of the LDAO.
Related Resources on the LD@school Website
Cindy Perras is the English Educational Consultant with the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, working as a member of the LD@school Team and LD@school/TA@l’école Advisory Committee. Cindy is an educator with 35 years of experience in special education, as a teacher, Consultant, Co-ordinator, and parent. Her professional qualifications include a Masters of Education degree from Brock University, a Bachelor of Education degree from the Ontario Teachers’ Education College, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Windsor, and a Specialist in Special Education; additionally, Cindy has completed the Ph.D. coursework at OISE/UT. Cindy enjoys researching and writing articles for LD@school, connecting with Ontario school district administrators and educators, and assisting with planning for the Educators’ Institute.