Preparing for change can be difficult, especially for students with disabilities and their families. Education Service Center Region 12 is dedicated to providing resources to reduce uncertainty so students with disabilities can focus on planning their futures with confidence.
To connect more students and parents to valuable resources, ESC Region 12 and partners will host the second annual Let Your Light Shine: McLennan County Transition Fair on September 26 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 2101 W Loop 340. The event is free and open to all students, whether they attend public or private school, or are homeschooled. Attendees will learn about community resources to support transition, career and college opportunities, training opportunities, options for independent living, guardianship and alternatives, and how to apply for certain benefits.
“There will be so many different agencies represented in one room, and parents can ask them questions and see which transition services could help their student,” said Monica Johnson, an education specialist at ESC Region 12 who specializes in transition services. “It will make it a lot easier to feel comfortable by talking to a face instead of just getting data and a phone number from a website.”
Transition services refer to a coordinated set of activities and supports designed to help students with disabilities successfully move from school to post-school life. These services are individualized and based on the student's strengths, preferences, interests and needs. A report from the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 found that students with disabilities who received transition services had higher rates of employment, enrollment in post-secondary education and independent living.
According to the 2018 report from the National Center for Education Statistics, 69% of students with disabilities who received transition services enrolled in post-secondary education within two years of leaving high school. Among all students with disabilities, a total of 41% enrolled in post-secondary education in the same time span. As for independent living, the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 from 2013 found that 57% of students with disabilities who received transition services were living independently two years after leaving high school. Among all students with disabilities, a total of 38% were living independently in the same time span. The study also found that 59% of students with disabilities who received transition services were employed two years after leaving high school.
“Whenever students are able to access transition services, we see increasingly positive outcomes,” Johnson said. “To bring students with disabilities closer to having equal footing with their peers without disabilities is a great feat.”
Multiple school districts in Region 12 have transition fairs of their own, but the Let Your Light Shine: McLennan County Transition Fair is an opportunity to pull more resources together and serve a larger audience, Johnson said. With representatives available to answer questions in real-time, the transition fair could save students with disabilities and their parents hours and hours of time spent searching for guidance.
“There’s a huge gap between what’s out there and what people know they have access to,” Johnson said. “Students, and even adults, are missing out on resources because they don’t know about all of the services available.”
The transition fair is targeted towards students with disabilities in eighth through 12th grade, but parents of students with disabilities of all ages are welcome, Johnson said. Planning for post-secondary transition should start as soon as possible to assess a student's skills, interests and needs and give them enough time to connect to resources.
“You really want to start early,” Johnson said. “It allows for identifying potential barriers or challenges now and gives ample time to address them, so students can achieve their desired post-secondary outcomes.”
This second annual fair will feature agencies from the previous fair and introduce a few more organizations. Even if parents attended last year and feel confident with the resources they have, this will be an opportunity for repeated exposure, to learn about additional resources and potentially form new connections, whether it be to an organization or another attendee, Johnson said.
“The experience of being a parent or a student with a disability can be really isolating,” Johnson said. “There’s not many opportunities in certain spaces where they are the majority of people.”
The Let Your Light Shine: McLennaan County Transition Fair is a time to start conversations and form connections, Johnson said. It can be difficult to find answers, and even harder for students with disabilities and their families to find others who relate to their experiences. The transition fair is a space for students with disabilities to be surrounded by a community of people who understand.
“I hope attendees walk away feeling connected and empowered,” Johnson said. “I want them to walk away feeling confident in knowing that they have options and choices.”
Participants are encouraged to pre-register at bit.ly/LYLS2023.
Agencies on-site during the event are as follows:
Translate Solutions LLC (sponsor)
ARC of Mclennan County
Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities
Bitty & Beau's Coffee
Blue Cross Blue Shield BCBS
Caring Senior Service
Central Texas Helping Hands
Communities in Schools TWS
Focus ABA Therapy
Friends for Life
Health and Human Services
Heart of Central Texas Independent Living (HOCTIL)
Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network
Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries
Texas Department of Health Services
Texas State Technical College
Waco Mayor’s Committee
WACO – The Texas Department of Transportation — Waco District continues their work on constructing new frontage road bridges as part of the Mall to Mall project. TxDOT encourages the traveling public to buckle up, mind their speed, pay attention and eliminate distractions as motorists become acclimated to the new roadway configuration.
As of September 7, 2023, crews will shift eastbound SH 6 traffic off the mainlanes to the frontage road.
The shift will occur after traffic crosses over US 84/Waco Drive. After the shift, eastbound mainlane traffic will be able to access Imperial Drive.
The traffic shift will be in place during the reconstruction of the SH 6 mainlanes between US 84/Waco Drive and Imperial Drive.
TxDOT has live traffic cameras along the project corridor for the public to view. Feel free to subscribe and check the videos out anytime.
Check Current Driving Conditions Around ESC Region 12
2101 West Loop 340
Waco, TX 76712
Phone: (254) 297-1212
Main Fax: (254) 297-2960
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Thursday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday - 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
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