|LABBB overnight at our Woodland House
We design and deliver special education services that promote academic, social, and career independence in the most inclusive settings possible.
If we asked ourselves every day, "What are we going to do today to move closer to our mission?" How would do we measure progress? The IEP is only one component of moving toward this. There are so many more steps that we can take to assess our students. When our students stay overnight at our Woodland respite guest house, this is one method we can use to learn and see what we need to focus on for our students to be more independent. How anyone can measure a student's independent living skills in a school and get accurate data for being an independent adult is a mystery to me. These school-based assessments are false advertising.
When we see a student functioning and engaging with their peers in the community, an overnight trip, or at the Woodland house, this is when we get real, useful, data.
What if a student can make a meal, but then they don't take responsibility to clean up, or engage with their peers; they just want to go to their room afterwards? These are habits that they have learned, but independence is going to be a much different world. It is hard to be part of a tribe; it's only by engaging in a real-life independent living environment with their peers that will help them improve. Ultimately, this will be their real world; we can't avoid this. These skills need to be observed and taught in our community. The exact same is true of work skills.
Fulfilling our mission to help our students be as independent as possible takes courage and risks, and we will have failures along the way. We have fears that a legitimate, for example, "What if I sent my son or daughter on the LABBB NYC trip, Ski Trip, or Disney trip or have them stay over in the Woodland House? Will they be safe? Will they miss home?
As parents we also have difficult decisions to make that are part of our mission? Are we considering guardianship? Did we have a discussion with our family on how on our son or daughter will be taken care of in the future? Do we have a plan?
Last week I met with a group of LABBB parent alumni. This was an energetic, stimulating conversation. If there is anything I can do to convince you that post-22 is a significantly different world, these parents are living proof. In LABBB we are committed to preparing you in every way we can. Transition is our job in every aspect of our students' lives from 3-22.
Why do I write so passionately about these topics? There hasn't been a parent yet that I have spoken to who isn't dealing with these issues. Some parents were prepared, some parents are stuck, and some were not prepared. It would not be in the best interest of anyone in our community not to address these issues over and over.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!