How do you ensure my child is safe while in the community as she has problems with knowing appropriate boundaries.
A: All IEP goals are worked on within the Life Bridges building before the young adult is taken into the community. If boundaries are a concern for your young adult then those skills will be addressed specifically in the IEP and respecting appropriate boundaries will be practiced in multiple situations on campus first. Once in the community, the verbiage used to train appropriate skills on campus are repeated to ensure your young adult experiences success. There will be a lower staff to Team Member ratio when new skills are first practiced in the community to ensure the safety of the young adult as well as others in the community.
My child requires a 1:1 staff and has for a long time. How will that be continued at the Life Bridges building?
A: All students who have an assigned 1:1 through the ARD will have that service continued while attending the Life Bridges program. The district cannot ensure that the 1:1 who is with your young adult at the high school will be the same person at Life Bridges. Your young adult’s program will be continually monitored to determine the continued need for this increased level of needed supports.
What do I need to do to prepare for the supports my child will need when he ages out?
A: This is the main focus of the Life Bridges program. We will work together with the family as well as outside agencies to ensure that there is a smooth transition between public school and the time when ‘the yellow bus quits coming’.
What will my child’s schedule look like at Life Bridges?
A: The Life Bridges program focuses on what the young adult needs as opposed to a scripted curriculum dictated by the state as is the case for kindergarten through 12th grade. The amount of time needed to gain the skills or knowledge your young adult needs based on the IEP is taken into consideration when creating his/her specific program. As this is a Transition Program, the staff at Life Bridges will work with the family to assist with the transition process, which includes problem solving those days the young adult does not attend the Life Bridges program.
Do all special education students attend the Life Bridges program?
A: First: The Texas Education Agency states that only special education students who have received their TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills = curriculum) through a modified or alternative curriculum qualify to attend an 18+ transition program. Students who received a diploma and had accommodations but not modifications to their curriculum do not qualify for an 18+ Transition Program.
Second: It is up to the young adult and his/her family as to whether or not they wish to access services in the 18+ Transition Program/Life Bridges. This decision is made during the young adult’s graduation ARD at the end of his/her senior year.
What if I want my child to attend the program but he does not want to go?
A: If your young adult is his/her own guardian, he/she is the one who will make the final decision on attending the Life Bridges program. We work diligently with young adults and their families to ensure that the best decision is made for that young adult.
Guardianship is very expensive and I don’t want to remove all my child’s rights so is there another alternative to me making decisions for her?
A: There are several alternatives to guardianship. Texas has recently adopted a “Supported Decision-Making Agreement” system for parents/guardians of people with disabilities. The young adult can choose those areas that he/she would like assistance when making decisions for his/her life to include: obtaining food, clothing and a place to live; physical health; mental health; managing money and/or property; education/training; services and supports; and employment. Unlike Guardianship which must go before a judge, the Supported Decision-Making Agreement only needs to be signed by a Notary.
I plan on moving at the end of my child’s senior year. Is there something like the Life Bridges program offered in other districts?
A: Yes. Each district is required to have an 18+ Transition Program. The programs offered at other districts may look different from Comal’s Life Bridges program.
However, please be cautious that you ensure to enroll your young adult once you get moved. If an Exit ARD is not held prior to you leaving the district and you and/or your young adult choose not to enroll him/her in an 18+ program once you do move, your young adult will be considered a Drop Out.
What are the implications of my child being classified as a Drop Out?
A: Your young adult will not receive a diploma unless an Exit ARD is held upon completion of the IEP. For young adults who have the potential for employment, not receiving his/her diploma could impact this opportunity. There are several options the ARD committee can consider in order to ensure IEP goals are met and the young adult receives his/her diploma.