I like the library because I can use my Ipod and use their internet connection to watch TV shows. I check out my books, magazines and movies.
I can volunteer too. I pull sleeves off the books by myself. I like helping by myself. The librarian in charge of the teen volunteers is Elaine. We sit down at the table and everyone puts something in a bag and passes it on. I put in name tags. It’s for the summer reading program. Here is a website to volunteer: and a picture of me and my little sister at the library. http://westlinnoregon.gov/library/teen-volunteers-wanted
Today I am going to talk to you about the transition program that I was in. Throughout my presentation, I am going to share you some of my experiences during the time I was in the program. I am also going to give you resources which were provided to me to help me with my transitions. When I attended Rex Putnam High School, I had a wonderful support team to help me graduate and prepare for my future. David Pogel was my special education teacher and Paula Lombardi was my high school transition specialist, and they were the people who helped me prepare for my future. I had an opportunity to work with the transition specialist on Career Ability Placement Services Assessments and Caree Information System assessments, and we also took a trip over to Clackamas Community College for Academy day. They wanted me to check out the college campus.
I also worked on resumes and applied for a few scholarships through INCIGHT, as well as doing small group presentations in front of a group of people and it was for a coffee shop class that I had taken. There were some tough challenges that got in the way. One was being able to provide the right kind of services during my transition in order for me to be successful. Here are resources that were provided for anyone to use during the preparation to transition out of high school and out into the real world. Skills day- which happened during my senior year in high school and it took place at Clackamas Community College. Vocational Rehabilitation-CIS website and college resources.
After I graduated from high school, I went into a transition program to receive further help to plan for my future. This transition program was taken place at Estacada High School and that is where I met Cheryl Renton. She helped me plan my future in more detail. I entered into the transition program back in 2006 and stayed until I was twenty-one. During the time I was in this program, I completed several activities. I learned how to travel on the bus independently. I also learned job skills and career job Internet exploration. I had an opportunity to create a resumes and mastered applications. Then I had to arrange job interviews and go to job interviews. I filled out many job applications, including some on-line. I had an opportunity to fill out the college application and registered for college classes. I attended job club, attended business speaker presentations, and took a few tours to different business places and completed an application from vocational rehabilitation as well as attending their presentation. I attended job skills training and customer service trainings. While I was in the program, I was being taught how to become independent to prepare for the outside world.
One of the things I learned was how to take the TRI-MET city bus. Well, I wasn’t to thrilled about taking any kind of public transportation except the TRI-MET lift bus that takes you door to door. This was one of the toughest challenges that I had to deal with because another transition specialist wanted me to take the city bus and I had to put my foot down and say “NO” because of my safety issues and so forth. After many talks, the transition specialist finally backed off about the city bus issue.
At the time I entered into the transition program, there were some things which were needed to accommodate me in order for me to be successful. Some of the things I needed were a one-on-one assistant, and shorter tables in the classrooms. The classes were crowded with tables and chairs. Here are some resources provided for anyone in their post-high transition program to help prepare for the outside world and for the future: Apply for Vocational Rehabilitation, Apply for Social Security, apply for brokerage services, apply for DD Services, apply for occupational skills program through community colleges, involve yourself in social activity programs, involve yourself in social activities, and volunteer and paid work by services. Someone told me that jobs are sometimes hard to find for students, but if you go through vocational rehabilitation, they have been able to place youths. Goodwill, UCP (United Cerebral Palsy), and Dessert Industries also have been helpful in trainings and job placement. Most of the transition programs should have a list of resources for skills training, training, and job placements. One other thing I should share with you is when you’re going out and looking for a job, check out the employment fairs first, because each booth should be able to give you information about certain jobs.
Back in 2008, my case manager, Robyn Hoffman, was one of the best support staff on my team, and helped me throughout my transition process. Just a little background about what she does: she is one of the service coordinators who looks at different services and she checks in on the progress being made. There were several times where Robyn needed to step up to say NO, NO, NO and more NO!! She also attended my IEP (Individual Education Plan) and ISP (Individual Support Plan) meetings throughout my transition. Robyn was a wonderful advocate for me at one of my meetings because one of the transition specialist was thinking I needed to receive Brokerage services and Robyn knew for a fact that I needed to receive DD Services. There was a big disagreement, but after a while it was resolved and the transition specialist backed off. Another thing that came up was when I wanted to travel on a vacations. She helped me convince my mom and family members that I had everything in place far in advanced.
After I entered into the transition program, I went to Clackamas Community College (CCC) and took classes to see what it was like and to see if this is what I wanted to do to get to my dream career job. Before I even registered for classes I went to Academy Day back when I attended Rex Putnam to see what they had and what the campus looked like. Let me give you a bit of information about Academy Day before I go any further. Academy Day is a day at CCC is a day where they invite all the students from all local high schools on an IEP or have 504 plans to come to CCC to discuss how to receive accommodations for success in college. It was a fun day because they give you campus tours; they have breakout sessions, student panel, and even door prizes. The goal was to de-mystify college for students with disabilities, and to help promote the idea that everyone can be “college material”. Here are a few experiences I’ve had in college so far, which I feel have been extremely helpful. One of the best things that have helped me though the years I’ve been at CCC is the DRC (Disability Resource Center) where anyone can receive services through their office to help you be totally successful. In order to be able to receive DRC services, the student has to make an appointment to come in to see one of the service coordinators. The service coordinator will have the student fill out the application for support services. Then, you’ll have to go through an interview and discuss what accommodations would be helpful for the student based on whatever documentations you may have regarding your disabilities/disability present at the interview. If the student does not have documentation at the first meeting, temporary accommodations may be assigned until documentation can be provided.
I think there was at least one obstacle that I had to overcome, and that was for me to be able to have a table that was at my height. They had to make adjustments at first using a table and chair. They were able to provide me an accessible chair and use lifters to raise the table to the appropriate height for me. This is normally done with a crank table. Here are some things that the DRC staff can provide students while they are attending college: Accommodations, Advising and Problem Solving, Alternative Format, Assistive Technology, Transitional Planning, Test Accommodations, and finally Universal Design, Awareness and Resources. If I hadn’t known about these resources I wouldn’t be getting anywhere with my college education. Luckily I am doing quite well and receiving all of the tools I need to get to where I am today.
I know you’re all probably wondering about do I have a job today and how did I go about getting this job I currently have. Well, let me share with you this special story. First of all, yes, I do have a wonderful fantastic job and I love it so very much. Four years ago I had another wonderful case manager Sue Van Der Naald and she helped me with getting me a job doing secretarial work. She contacted Edwards Center and asked if they were interested in someone as a receptionist come work for them and they said yes. So I went for the job interview and after the interview VR, Abilities at Work, ECM and my case manager needed to put all of my supports that I needed in place in order for me to be successful at this job. Another person who had a role play in order to have made this all be possible was the director of Edwards Center, Jessica Leitner.
One of the biggest challenges that Edwards Center had was they were trying to make the environment adaptable for me to work there. Abilities at Work worked with VR to get me the necessary adaption equipment to make things easy for me to do my job. I will say that someone from Edwards Center made me a platform for me so that I can reach the copy machine and that has been a huge help since it was built.
Let me give you just a quick overview of what I do at the Edwards Center. I answer the phones, I make copies, send faxes, sort mail, take attendance after the clients arrive to work and many more things. I have worked for ECM for four years and one of the best things that I really like about my job is receiving my paychecks every two weeks. Another thing I truly enjoy about my job is I enjoy getting up every Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings and going to work to see my favorite clients and co-workers. I treat everyone I work with as if they are my family because I care about everyone and I always want to make sure that they are happy and satisfied. If they are happy and satisfied then I can easily say that my job has been completed for the day until the next shift.
I hope by to listening or reading my presentation and by sharing some of my personal experiences that I had through my transitions, I’ve been able to give you as many resources and proper tools to help you guide you or the clients in preparing for their future.
Hello ELNW members, How is everyone doing these days? Well, since the last time I’ve updated my blog, I’ve been really really busy and I am sorry that I haven’t been keeping you up to date on things. Let me start sharing with you all a timeline of events that’s happened.
November 2010- I’m not sure if anybody knew that I was moved out of a group home that was all boys and I was placed in a much better place with two female housemates and two wonderful care providers just before Thanksgiving.
January 2011-April 2011- I took winter term off from school so that I can take the time to get more settled into my new place which was a bit of a chore to do but it needed to get done. I also started doing some scrap booking which was really fun to do and also very therapeutic to me because it helped me take things off of my mind. I’m not really sure how long it actually took me but I do know that I ended up doing at least 37 or 38 scrapbooks. Yes, I still have my part time job working as a receptionist at the Edwards Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
August 2011- I went to my favorite yearly camp that I’ve always go to which is Easter Seals Washington camp Stand by me and as always I had a great time. September 2011- I took a weekend trip with my mom and middle sister up to Yakima, WA and spent the weekend with my grandma who’s been having some health issues and we’re not sure how much longer she would still be with us due to some health issues.
October 2011- My mom and I flew down to Fort Collins, CO and spent a weekend at my sister and partner’s new place and celebrated my sister’s birthday which was a lot of fun. We went out to lunch, explored where my sister works and enjoyed each other’s company. November 2011-I was able to get the majority of my Christmas shopping and gifts wrapped before Thanksgiving holiday got busy and before I had my big upcoming surgery after Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving over with, I had a hysterectomy surgery the following week up at OHSU hospital and I was there for maybe two or three nights. The surgery went well and there were no complications afterwards. I was out of work for a couple of weeks which to me was hard because I was missing everyone and I wanted to return back to work sooner but the doctor said no. December 2011- I started feeling much much better after my surgery and the recovery went well after being home from the hospital. I was able to return back to work on the 15th just before our big Christmas party at my work. I was on light duty for a while longer but the doctor was able to release me to return to work which made me very happy. During the Christmas holiday, I was with my mom and we had a wonderful family gathering. However, on Christmas morning we called my grandma up in Yakima, WA and just by talking to her on the phone she was not the same grandma that I remembered from when I last saw her in September. Her memory was starting to go and her voice was very raspy and it just not the same. So her health condition was not good anymore.
January 2012- My grandma was put on hospice after the holidays which was very sad and scary for me and my family but we needed to do what was best for her.
February 2012- I celebrated my 25th birthday on the 16th which was fun. I don’t remember what all I did but it wasn’t much because I either had school or work the following day.
March 2012- My niece Kaitelyn celebrated her 1st birthday which was a big thing for her and it was a lot of fun to see her. Another brief update on my grandma’s health condition is that she is really going downhill. April 2012- I started spring term at Clackamas Community College I took 2 classes which were math 60, Algebra 1 and an online class Art of Appreciation. I must say that those classes were very challenging but I managed to get through them each day of the week. After school started on April 7th. things got really crazy for a while. My nephew Joel celebrated his 3rd birthday which was cool. Then, I came down with pink eye after going to the ER on a Thursday night that week and I was down that whole weekend and I couldn’t do much of my school work until my eye was better but I got through it. THEN, the following week April 11th, I was at home that evening working hard on my school work so that I can drop everything and leave if something more came up with my grandma’s condition. Sadly enough, my grandma had passed away that evening on the 11th which was very hard on me but I knew it was coming soon. So, I went up to WA that weekend and attended the funeral which was a good experience for me to remember but I sure had a hard time letting go. After I came back home from the funeral, I was playing catch up on school work which was challenging but it had to get done. THEN, I got sick towards the end of that week with a flu bug which was not what I needed but oh well, I managed.
I must say one other thing and that is towards the end of April like the 28th or somewhere during that week marks my four year anniversary of working at the Edwards Center as a receptionist.
May 2012 and the first part of June 2012- The first part of May, I started working on a project and it was doing a transition presentation about my personal experience that I went through during the time that I was in the different transition programs. I gathered all of my information to help me pull my presentation that I was giving in July 2012.
Anyways, Spring term was coming to an end and I have spent a lot of my time preparing for my math finals which was a bit of a challenge for me because I had been having some difficult times understanding the assignments and I had to dedicate my time to go to the college campus after work one Tuesday which really helped but I wished that I had done this sooner rather than waiting until closer to the term ending. Anyways, I passed my Art of Appreciation online class but I did not do well with my math class despite the challenges I had and a death in the family. I ended up getting a D for my final grade which is not good. I am going to have to retake math 60 in the winter term.
Middle part of June 2012- SUMMER VACATION from school, YAY!!!!!!!! I have been enjoying my summer vacation. I continued working on my transition presentation project before I went on a vacation for a week so that I wouldn’t need to feel stressed out after I got back. Anyways, I went down for a family reunion all from my dad’s side of the family which was a lot of fun. The reunion took place in Pagosa Springs, CO which was where they had like 13 wildfires going on but none of the fires hit our area which was good. I got to meet my brother, my dads son, Andy for the very first time in my life. I really had a great time overall.
July 2012- During the 4th of July my providers and two of my housemates took a trip up to Aberdeen WA and went over to someones house for a family BBQ gathering which was fun. As we were driving back home that night, we saw really pretty fireworks which was cool. July 10th I took that day off from work because I was going down to Corvallis, OR at the OSU campus to give my transition presentation in front of case manager’s and agencies and that was a lot of fun but nerve racking. It went very well and everyone really enjoyed it very much.
As I mentioned in my bio, I have been helping to facilitate classes about relationships for people with intellectual disabilities since August of 2011. I teach participants about a variety of topics, such as making friends, how to be in a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend, how to protect themselves, and how to advocate for themselves. I also teach students how to resolve conflicts when the need arises.
These classes also teach me a lot from the participants. I have learned to teach to the student’s comprehension level, using a variety of teaching techniques. As I teach these classes, I also learn more about making my own relationship positive, and keeping it solid.
As someone with a disability, I understand you get mixed messages. Professionals, caregivers, and parents, tell people with disabilities they should always be careful. But as an adult, only people with disabilities can judge what is really right for them. Through teaching these classes, I am able to help participants know they don’t need to be afraid to try and experiment with making friends and having relationships. If they mess up, they can learn from their mistakes, and figure out how to do better next time.
I have co-facilitated 3 of these ten week class sessions, and I plan to continue to do so. It is important to provide this education–which is not normally provided—to people with disabilities. With the help of my co-workers, I am able to teach a lot better, and with each I have gotten better speaking in front of the class. It helps me to observe more of how I can teach with each class. I enjoy being a self-advocate, and teaching others to do the same!
These classes, in general, are good for anyone who doesn’t know a lot about the topics we talk about! The classes can help them pass on this information to other people with disabilities who they know. They can answer their friend’s questions.
My name is Sam L. I’m a 25 year old guy that’s trying to figure life out much more than I currently know. I graduated from Grant High school in Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2004. That fall, I started general education class at Portland Community College(PCC’s) South East Center. Math, writing and reading. I also took a few computer classes to add a little variety.
Years later, in June 2006, I decided to drop out of PCC because I did not know what I wanted to do in life. Once I dropped, I had plenty of time to think clearly about what I wanted to do in life. Now I have a set-plan when I go back to school, and I am not just going because it’s fun and entertaining. In March 2011, I will be starting back at PCC. I’ll be going to two campuses this time– SE Center and Cascade.
I was born with this over-sized head. It’s just there– annoying at times, but I’m still me. In a nutshell, it’s my lymph system gone crazy. I lived a normal childhood how any child should; I looked different is all. In October 2000, right after I started my freshman year at Grant, stuff went hay-wire with me and I ended up in a coma for a little over two and a half months. Turned out to be a stroke-like event as I was turning 15. Thus, I’ve been unable to talk or walk without assistance since then. I used to be able to do quite a bit though. In 2002, I started back at Grant High and graduated on time with my class of 2004 earning a regular degree.
Right now, I’m still disabled but I’m slowly making stuff happen. I’ve been with ELNW since 2007 and it has really played a huge role in my decision-making. This project has helped me quite a bit me in life. I really hope I’m hoping people who visit the ELNW website learn a lot from the resources offered on this blog.
I’ve mysteriously vanished from Emerging Leaders Northwest(ELNW) events for a little bit but now I’m back at ELNW! I’ve been enrolling myself back into Portland Community College(PCC). It’s been a bit of a slow process but I’m headed back to start spring term on March 28th. I’ll be taking math on Monday’s and Wednesday’s at PCC’s SE Center and writing on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at PCC’s Cascade Campus. Ultimately, it’s my want to learn to weld. Seems like an odd desire to me even but metal work and stuff like that fascinate me a lot. Later on, I hope to add physics and welding classes as well.
Frustrated with school as it was, I dropped out of PCC in 2006 when I was 20 years old after having completed 2 years there already. My decision to drop out was made because I really didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do in life yet. I was taking general-studies classes which was good, but I had little motivation to keep going. I needed to think about my options in life so I dropped out with the intention of returning to PCC again in the future after I had figured things out further.
In 2007, I became a member of ELNW. I was coming to CDRC for appointments to see Dr. Fried-Oken. She hooked me up with the person that helped start ELNW. (I forget her name though…) That was an excellent coincidence because over the months and eventually years of contributing to the ELNW project, I learned skills needed to be successful in life. That, combined with thinking about what I wanted to do in life that I was already doing, has made my decision to return to class that much more awesome! It’s rather slow-going, but the way I see it, patience is a virtue. With time, everything will work itself out assuming the correct steps are taken.
The transition to college training at OSU went great. There were about 25 students, represented by two high schools, CV and Corvallis. The day included sessions on transition, the OSU Disability Access Office, Fafsa, a student panel, an employer panel, and a tour of the OSU campus.
A main theme throughout the day was “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t!”
This was most evident during an impromptu talking to given by one of the employer panelists, Harold Wood. He grew up with a learning disability and all of the painful experiences to go along with it. Despite being ‘beatin up and put down’ during his academic career, Harold used his backwards eye to see life a little bit different than his more popular peers. He soon discovered an appreciation for art and beauty and sought out to show the world what he saw though the lens of his camera. Harold has now been a successful photographer/artist for over thirty years. He attributes everything to his unique learning style which is unfortunately some times called a learning disability.
Harold told the audience this; “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t! Don’t let someone else think they can tell you what you’re passionate about! Follow your passions and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
So thank you to all who had a hand in Tuesday’s event and we look forward to next falls empowerment and training event. If you’d like any more information you can contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org