Transition Model Implementation

The DRS Transition Model Implementation project seeks to improve the transition services delivered to youth with disabilities in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). More specifically, we focus on the implementation and staff development/training of the newly created interagency collaborative structure and process of the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Staff development particularly highlights the implementation of best practices in secondary transition for youth with disabilities in CPS, and implementing and troubleshooting the referral system and interagency service delivery procedures in CPS. Collaborative activities include professional development, small group problem-solving sessions, advocacy, and consultative work related to DRSs collaboration with schools and school-based transition teams. Project goals are based on best practices, evidence-based strategies, current legal guidelines, and the latest research in secondary transition to support and empower DRS counselors to provide services that young adults with disabilities in CPS need.

Based on best practices, the UIC transition team has developed a transition curriculum for youth with disabilities. This curriculum is a comprehensive manual to guide students’ preparation for adult life, whether that includes employment, postsecondary education, and/or independent living. The curriculum includes presentations and scenario-based activities. Resource materials such as age-appropriate transition assessments, family advocacy and outside organization referral information, and action planning templates.

In response to our collaboration with DRS, we have also created a parent presentation. This presentation provides parents of youth with disabilities information important to the future success of their child with a disability. The content covers all areas of becoming an adult including transition, goal setting, benefits, services their children should be receiving, and how they can support them in reaching their goals and becoming successful adults. This material will be adapted to the needs of the parents including cultural and linguistic needs.

Below in the Multiple Pathways to Transition Model which is based on best practices and includes three components: (a) career choices, (b) activities, and (c) outcomes. The career choices column explains specialized services students could receive in high school, as well as options to seek career-based learning and increased access to dual enrollment in college courses (both for credit and/or adult education certificate programs). The activities column specifies individualized supports services and classroom training activities designed to provide case management and enhance learning of transition preparation skills (e.g., goal setting, action planning and help recruiting skills). Parent training is another component, since in some cases they can become an obstacle for attaining employment and independence instead of welfare dependence. Career-based learning emphasizes career exploration, job internships (paid or unpaid) and work experiences, including ways to explore self-employment and learning how to develop a business plan to start your own business. The dual enrollment approach encourages students to pursue college credits or vocational training at the City Colleges in order to enhance vocational preparation and experience. This model specifies what services should are available, what entities should be involved (parents, VR, schools, employers, City Colleges, etc), how they could be involved, and what their rewards (outcomes) could be.


Jessica Awsumb
Project Coordinator
Center for Capacity Building for Minorities with Disabilities Research
Department of Disability and Human Development
University of Illinois at Chicago (M/C 626)
1640 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: 312-413-1581
Fax : 312-413-1804
TDD: 312-413-0453