Students in the "It's My Turn" class were busy making choices about the type of job they would like to have. (Putnam Sentinel/Nancy Kline)
Students in the "It's My Turn" class were busy making choices about the type of job they would like to have. (Putnam Sentinel/Nancy Kline)

OTTAWA — It’s often hard for students to make choices about their future after school. Last week 30 students were given some extra help in making choices about the transition from school to life.

A three day workshop called “It’s My Turn” was provided for 30 Putnam County students, ages 14 and over, with disabilities. A different group of students participate each year on a rotating basis throughout the county.

On Thursday students in the morning class were busy sorting through file cards, making choices about the type of job they would like. Choices including inside or outside work and being around a lot of people or working alone. One student proudly said she wanted to go into the medical field and be a doctor to help people. Another said he wanted an outside job.

“It’s My Turn” includes five sections. This includes the laws of special education, employability, post secondary option, living skills and community.

“The program’s focus is on students planning for transition from school to life by highlighting their skills, interest and talents,” said Karen Maag, one of the coordinator’s of the program.

Tim Calvelage, Maag and Julie Selhorst started the program locally by coordinating it with Sandy Brickner from the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities.

“The Putnam County ESC special education staff enjoys this program because it helps the students plan for their future and to develop self advocacy skills,” Maag said.

She said the students mostly enjoy the hands-on activities which include designing a hat about the special education laws, making a poster about their future and sorting their employment choices and community participation cards.

“The cards help them determine areas of their special interest,” Maag said.

The program is sponsored by the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities. Brickner presents the program in this area. The program was developed by the Ohio Coalition for the education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD) through funding from the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commissioner. It is currently supported by the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children.’

“Students who participate in this program learn to take charge of their future. The teachers and students continue to work on what they have learned from the program throughout the rest of the school year,” Maag said. A parent night was held at the conclusion of the program for the students to celebrate their achievements with their community, school and parents.

 

story created on Tuesday 1/21/2014 at 11:54:13 am by Nancy Kline
story modified on Tuesday 1/21/2014 at 5:24:15 pm by Kirk Dougal