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Georgia’s online education for disabled students

Parents Navigate Georgias K12 Education Supports 

Parents Navigate Georgia’s K–12 online education for disabled students
Plan for the Future

September 12, 2020 - As Georgia students and families get back to school and navigate virtual learning, parents of students with disabilities are working through transition planning that will set up their students for success after high school.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandates that schools must incorporate transition planning into online education for disabled students with an individualized education plan by the time they turn 16.

Planning for transition is a natural extension of the IEP process, and dedicated professionals and devoted parents agree that collaboration and consideration of the individual are essential.

Elise James is a program specialist for transition outcomes at the Georgia Department of Education with over 40 years of experience in special education for disabled students. She explains that, according to IDEA, students’ post-secondary goals must be guided by their own interests, preferences and gifts.

“It’s really not our place to necessarily say, ‘You can’t do that,’” said James. “Our place is to provide [students] with the opportunities to see what is available and to experience it, so that they can make decisions based on their strengths.”

When students with developmental disabilities leave high school, they have a variety of options. Post-secondary plans can include internships; apprenticeships; tech school; college; inclusive post-secondary education programs; employment; Project SEARCH; or other pathways funded via the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities or private pay.

District administrators are responsible for presenting options to parents for education for disabled students, and resources vary by location. School administrators and professionals have a meaningful impact on student outcomes. In addition to assisting with transition, teachers in special education conduct lessons, collect data and facilitate IEPs for every student on their list.

To learn more about the transition process for online education for disabled students and resources for parents, read the latest issue of GCDD’s Making a Difference

About the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities is the State’s leader in advancing public policy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play and worship in Georgia communities.

The article was published in the Atlanta Daily World Online on 9/12/20 in the Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine Online on 9/10/20.