Equipping Students for Life After Graduation
November 3, 2015
What happens next? Almost every parent understands the fear and excitement of sending a child off to college or helping him find his first job. This path is not a simple one, though, for families who have a child graduating from Elim’s school. While the passageway from student to adult can be difficult for anyone, adding in the unique needs of individuals with disabilities can make this transition completely overwhelming.
Elim’s Crossroads program seeks to arm students and families with the skills they will need once they leave our school. The program’s staff also assists families in navigating transition challenges like government funding, day programming, residential facilities, and insurance adjustments.
The Barczak family is so thankful for the guidance provided in Crossroads. “One of the biggest fears parents have for their child with special needs is ‘What will happen when school is over?’ We feel confident that there will be a place for John through our preparation and the dedication of the staff at Elim. We could not have done it alone. We are on the right path.”
John started in Elim’s Crossroads program in January of this year. When he started, John struggled with anxiety and noise. Even eating lunch with peers caused some difficulties, leaving John to eat by himself much of the time. John’s teachers worked with his parents to determine an individualized plan that took John’s likes, dislikes, and strengths into account. Now, John eats, socializes with his peers, and completes his schoolwork more independently.
In the Crossroads program, John has been learning to work in a vocational environment. He completes assembly tasks in Elim’s workshop and is learning social skills like making eye contact when asking questions and the proper ways to approach a supervisor. Each day in Crossroads, John spends time learning life, work, and daily living skills.
Most importantly, John’s happiness is growing each day at Elim. “In Crossroads, John is learning new skills, socializing, and loving life,” his parents explain. “Every day John asks ‘School, Elim, tomorrow?’ His happiness at Elim shines through every day. What more can we ask for? We feel so fortunate to have Elim in our lives!”