Transition Through School and Into Life: A Handbook for Students and Parents


Transition Through School and Into Life cover

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Transitioning is a process leading towards independence. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), transition planning must reflect the student's personal goals for life beyond high school. Instruction, post-high objectives, vocational evaluation and daily living skills are some available transition services. The path for transitioning depends on the student's individual needs and goals.

Transitioning smoothly and successfully improves the outlook for students with disabilities after high school. Without an organized and thoroughly reviewed plan, students may find themselves overwhelmed with decisions and unaware of the support services and resources available to them. Through transition meetings, self-advocacy and preparation, students with disabilities will get the opportunity to make the most of their education and resources.

This handbook is a guide to the transitioning process and to establishing independence as an adult. Having the freedom and knowledge to improve the quality of life is the right of any person. This handbook will assist in making the transition to adult life a successful one.

When Should I Start Thinking about Transition?

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997, students discuss transition needs no later than 14 years of age. The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team plans for the transition when the student is 16 years old. At this age, the student has time to get enough experience to get into either college or the workforce. Participating in community service projects, job shadowing or practicing social skills will strengthen a student's job marketability. There are many choices to consider when transitioning. Being prepared and having carefully reviewed options will be more beneficial to a student than waiting until the last minute to map out a plan.

A key to transitioning is protecting student rights through becoming familiar with laws related to students with disabilities. This allows them to protect their interests during transition in high school and beyond:

Laws that Apply in High School

a photo of a girl with Down Syndrome looking at a laptop

  • IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • WV Policy 2419
  • ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act

Post-Secondary Disability Laws

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act
  • Higher Education Opportunity Act

See Appendix B below for a Description of Laws

Transition Checklist for Students

The following is a checklist of activities for preparing transition plans with an IEP team. Use this checklist to ask yourself whether or not these transition issues should be dealt with at IEP meetings. The checklist can also help identify who should be part of the IEP transition team.

Four to Five Years Before Leaving High School

  • Understand your learning styles and the accommodations needed to be successful
  • Explore interests, skills and needed training
  • Explore options for education or work
  • Explore interests and options for independent living
  • Learn to express your interests, preferences and needs
  • Be able to explain the disability and the accommodations you need
  • Learn and practice decision making
  • Research assistive technology tools
  • Join in community events and expand your friendships
  • Use local transportation
  • Practice money management and identify daily living skills
  • Acquire an ID card and be able to communicate personal information
  • Learn and practice personal health care

Two to Three Years Before Leaving High School

  • Find community support services (vocational rehabilitation, county services and Centers for Independent Living)
  • Invite adult service providers to the IEP transition meeting
  • Match career interests and skills with vocational and community work
  • Gather information on post-secondary programs, support services and plan for accommodating college entrance exams
  • Identify health care providers and seek information about family planning issues
  • Determine financial need (Supplemental Security Income, state financial supplemental programs and Medicare)
  • Practice communication and social skills in different settings (such as at work, school or recreation settings with peers)
  • Explore legal status and decision making before the age of 21
  • Begin a resume and update it when needed
  • Practice independent living skills like budgeting, shopping, cooking and housekeeping
  • Find personal assistant services and learn to direct and manage them

One Year Before Leaving High School

  • Apply for financial support (Supplemental Security Income, Independent Living Services, Vocational Rehabilitation and Personal Assistant Services)
  • Find the post-secondary school you plan to attend and arrange for accommodations
  • Practice communication by developing interviewing skills, asking for help and identifying needed accommodations
  • Specify preferred job and find employment with supports
  • Take responsibility for arriving to work, appointments and social activities on time
  • Take responsibility for health care (making appointments, filling and taking prescriptions)
  • Register to vote and enroll for selective service (if a male)
  • National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) Checklist used with permission from the National Transition Network (NTN)

Who Can Help Me Plan?

photo of a group of students researching in the library

What is IEP?

What does the IEP meeting accomplish?

The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) helps with transitioning and transition services for students ages 14-16. The IEP team improves a student's outlook after high school. The team helps students with choosing a job or further education, deciding where students will live and improving social relations. The team finds activities that develop skills for independent living. The following are examples of activities that a student may join to prepare themselves for the transition.

Examples of Activities:

  • Taking a college course over the summer
  • Working a part-time job
  • Volunteering in the community
  • Participating in summer camps
  • Seeking a tutor
  • Enrolling in extra curricular activities
  • Job shadowing

Students are encouraged to participate in IEP meetings. The law requires that students take part in transitional planning to voice their opinions and bring up topics of concern. Each student's IEP plan will be different. Some students may go to college right away while others may enter the workforce or vocational training. Transitioning into independent living will depend on the student's interests and goals.

Who is involved in the IEP meeting?

a photo of two female students, one using a wheelchair conversing over something displayed on a laptop

Many people involved in the student's life may appear at the IEP meeting, but who attends is determined by the needs of the student and family:

  • Student
  • Parents or guardians
  • Teachers
  • Vocational Counselors from DRS
  • Psychologist
  • Pediatrician or medical doctor
  • Speech language pathologist or audiologist
  • Housing specialists
  • Staff from community colleges
  • Occupational therapy and physical therapy services (OT/PT)

Students with disabilities receive help from the high school until 21 years of age. When students reach this age or receive a diploma, services provided through the school will end. When this happens, it is the students' job to find adult services and prove their eligibility. This is why it is important that detailed planning occurs during IEP meetings and that students have a developed plan when they leave high school.

Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) Counselors

  • Job Seeking Skills: DRS provides individual or small group training for preparing resumes, completing job applications, networking, interviewing and developing other job search skills. Your counselor and/or employment specialist will help you become job ready.
  • Job Development: DRS offers job placement services to match you with the right job. Employment specialists will work with you to develop a job or use programs such as on-the-job training to develop marketable skills.
  • Employment Attendant Care: This program is designed to assist persons with significant disabilities to enter or continue in the workforce. This service will continue as long as needed while the individual is employed.
  • Supported Employment: DRS can coordinate intensive job-site training and support to help you perform your job duties. These activities will be provided as long as they are needed.
  • State Selective Placement Program: The West Virginia Division of Personnel, in cooperation with DRS, has created an assessment and certification process for applicants with significant disabilities. Employment specialists can help you review job qualifications, assess your ability to perform basic requirements of the job and prepare you for an interview.

The transition services offered from DRS assist students to move from high school into a work environment or into a higher education setting. DRS counselors also work with families, schools and the community. For more information, call DRS at 800-642-8207.

High School Guidance Counselors

High school guidance counselors are a resource for students. They know resources and may know the student. Guidance counselors are able to help with course planning and class schedules, post-high school planning, finding resources and giving informed advice. They can help students make decisions and help them define their goals through planning, preparing and searching.

What are My Options?

Transitioning into Postsecondary Education (College/University)

a photo of a student wearing a lab coat and eye protection looking at the camera quizzically

K-12 VS. Postsecondary Education- What will I do without my IEP?

Unlike high school, a postsecondary school does not have to give Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The postsecondary school must, however, make academic accommodations so that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability. These accommodations include support aids and modifications to the classroom to ensure equal educational opportunity. Examples of adjustments are:

  • Arranging for priority registration
  • Reducing a course load or replacing one course for another
  • Providing note takers
  • Recording devices
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Extended time for testing

The postsecondary school does not have to make extreme modifications or change basic requirements. For example, although a college or university may be required to provide extended testing time, it is not required to change the content of the test. Likewise, if a postsecondary school provides housing to students without disabilities, it must provide comparable and accessible housing to students with disabilities at the same cost. Some postsecondary schools do their best to accommodate students and may have even adopted a Universal Design for Instruction (UDI). This type of instruction allows the classroom and lectures to be more accessible to a greater number of people.

Ask your school's disability services for more information about their policies and procedures for accommodating students.

When should I request an accommodation?

You may request an accommodation from your postsecondary school at any time, but you should request it as early as possible. Some accommodations may take more time to provide than others. You should follow your school's procedures to give your school enough time to review your request and provide an appropriate accommodation. Visit your school's Disability Services office or visit their web site for more information.

Some schools are integrating universal design into their classrooms to make their classrooms and information available to a greater variety of people. A Universal Design Demonstration is a federally funded project located at the Center for Excellence in Disabilities (CED) at West Virginia University. The project provides professional development, technical assistance, accessibility information and training for faculty and administration to ensure that students with disabilities are receiving an equal opportunity for a quality education at West Virginia University.

The project will demonstrate and provide technical assistance through the use of Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) principles.

UDI is an approach to teaching that blends proactive design with inclusive instructional strategies to benefit a broad range of learners including students with disabilities.

What information should I provide?

Postsecondary schools may set standards for information. Some schools require more information than others. They may require you to provide information prepared by a professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist or other qualified diagnostician. The required documentation may include one or more of the following:

Once the school has received the information, what should I expect?

The school will review your request and the requirements for the program to determine an appropriate academic accommodation. While the school must accommodate students, it is not required to lower or waive essential requirements. If you have requested an academic adjustment, the school may offer it or an alternative one if the school believes the alternative would be more effective. The school may also conduct its own evaluation of your disability and needs at its own expense.

You should expect your school to work with you closely to identify an appropriate academic accommodation. Unlike high school, do not expect your postsecondary school to invite your parents to participate in the process or to develop an IEP for you.

This information is adapted from the U.S. Department of Education and is in the Public Domain.

See Appendix D for Sources

Vocational/Technical Training

Students with disabilities interested in entering the job force immediately have other options, such as vocational or technical training. Vocational or technical training requires less time to graduate than colleges. This type of training focuses on more of a hands-on approach to learning. For students wanting direct training for a specific job, this is a good option to consider.

Continuing Education/Adult Education

a photo of an adult student

For continuing education or switching careers, a trade school may be a fitting option for adults with disabilities. Trade schools may offer their classes on-line or at night to appeal to the busy schedule of an adult. These schools, like DeVry University, Everest Institute or Penn Foster Career School may offer degrees and certificates. Fields of training may include:

  • Automotive mechanics
  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Computer technology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Legal Assistant
  • Massage Therapy

Apprenticing is another way to receive training. Learning on the job is common in many careers in manufacturing and construction, but there are many other professions that take on apprentices. Training is usually paid for while learning on the job. A certification is generally given at the end of training.

Apprenticeship programs are registered and listed with the U.S. Department of Labor and may be found at www. Apprenticeship programs may also be found through advertisements in the newspaper.

Transitioning into Employment

To identify and reach career goals, youth need have many experiences, including the following:

  • Work-based activities such as job site visits and job shadowing
  • Many on-the-job training experiences, including community service that is related to appealing fields of study and school credit
  • Opportunities to learn and practice work skills
  • Opportunities to learn first-hand about specific job skills related to a career

In addition, youth with disabilities need to:

  • Understand benefits planning and career choices
  • Learn to communicate their needs in disability-related work support and accommodation
  • Learn to find, request and secure services and accommodations in education and employment settings

Source: Publications/manuals.php

Employment Accommodations

According to the Code of Federal Regulation on Reasonable Accommodation, an employer should make reasonable accommodations for any physical or mental limitations of a qualified applicant or employee unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would cause undue hardship on the operation of its program. Accommodations include:

  • Making facilities accessible to and usable by people with disabilities
  • Job restructuring
  • Part-time or modified work schedules
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices
  • Appropriately adjusting or modifying tests
  • Providing readers and interpreters

For more information, visit or call 800-333- 4636.

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is a great way to not only prepare for a job, but gives students an idea of whether or not the job fulfills their interests, skills and training. Students participating in job shadowing will either observe a person performing the daily routine of a job or perform some of the duties themselves. There are several different ways to get involved in job shadowing:

  • Call a business of interest and ask if they have a job shadowing program
  • Volunteer
  • Speak with a school guidance counselor for information
  • Participate in and stay updated on:

    Job Shadow Day (February 2)
    Disability Mentoring Day

  • Contact West Virginia Youth Works for resources and information

    304-296-8223 ext. 24

Supported Employment

Supported employment is one resource that students may use to transition into a job. It helps people find and gain work, deal with any issues and decide whether it is best to disclose information about their disabilities. A counselor figures out what a person's interests and skills are and finds jobs that best match him or her. Supported employment also provides training if the employer does not and counselors will continue to provide support and advice to people as long as they need it. The DRS offers assistance with supported employment and self-employment.

Call DRS at 800-642-8207 for more information or visit


With flexible work hours, a comfortable setting and being in charge of oneself, self-employment could be a great option for many persons. To promote self-employment, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides assistance, consulting and mentoring services. JAN consultants handle inquiries on a case-by-case basis, offering persons with disabilities information on being self-employed, such as business planning, finance strategies, marketing research, income supports and e-commerce. JAN customers will receive a resource packet on their interests and will have consultants to provide ongoing support.

JAN's services are available through 800-526-7234 and their website at Source: Publications/manuals.php

Transitioning into Independent Living/Community Participation

The philosophy of independent living is that everyone is entitled to independence, whether at home, at school or at work. A person has the right to make his or her own choices and to be self-sufficient. There are resources available for students transitioning into an independent living situation.

In deciding where you should establish an independent home environment, consider the following questions:

a photo of a student using a wheelchair on graduation day

  • Where do you want to live?

    Near family or peer support
    Near college or work place
    Near public amenities (convenience stores, medical facilities or a bus depot)

  • What housing options do you prefer?

    With or without roommates
    Apartment/Studio Apartment House

  • What accommodations do you need?

    Is the house accommodating?
    Are the entrances and exits accommodating?
    Could it support assistive technology?
    Is it near public amenities?

  • Is transportation available?

    Are bus routes nearby?
    Are taxi services available?
    Are there any other transportation services available for persons with disabilities?
    Is there family or friends nearby that can provide transportation?

  • What recreation and leisure activities are nearby?
  • Is there a social support system nearby?
  • Is there family or peer support nearby? Are there organizations or social groups nearby?

There are three Centers for Independent Living (CIL) in West Virginia. CILs receive grants to provide services to people of all ages who have physical, mental or sensory disabilities. Their goal is to give support to people with disabilities to help them become independent at home and other non-work settings. These centers and counties they serve are below:

Centers for Independent Living (CIL)

  • Appalachian CIL (Boone, Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Nicholas, Pleasants, Putnam, Ritchie, Roane, Webster, Wirt, Wood)
    Contact: 304-965-0376 or
  • Mountain State CIL (Brooke, Cabell, Fayette, Hancock, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, Mason, Mercer, McDowell, Mingo, Monroe, Ohio, Raleigh, Summers, Tyler, Wayne, Wetzel, Wyoming)
    Contact: 866-687-8245 or
  • Northern West Virginia CIL (Barbour, Berkeley, Gilmer, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Lewis, Marion, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur)
    Contact: 800-834-6408 or

Services, depending on the regional district and office, may include:

  • Advocacy and Leadership Training
  • Independent Living Skills Development
  • Peer Counseling and Mentorship
  • Housing Referral and Training
  • Transportation
  • Personal Assistance and Management
  • Supported Employment
  • ADA Consultation and Surveys
  • Family Supports

Health Care Aged and Disabled Waiver Program (A/D Waiver)

The Aged and Disabled Waiver Program, provides in-home health care for eligible clients. This is a Medicaid reimbursed Home and Community Based Waiver Program that functions as an alternative to institutional care. The A/D Waiver program covers older adults and individuals with disabilities who are qualified for Medicaid or would be eligible if institutionalized. To be eligible:

  • Applicants must be 18 or older and a West Virginia resident
  • Approved by the WV Medical Institute
  • Must require a certain level of care
  • Meet Medicaid financial eligibility
  • Require services which do not exceed the statewide average cost of nursing home care

For more information on the Aged and Disabled Waiver, call 800-499-4080.

The Title XIX West Virginia Home and Community Based MR/DD Waiver Program

The Title XIX West Virginia Home and Community Based MR/DD Waiver Program provides in-home health care for clients. The Division of Developmental Disabilities manages the MR/DD Waiver program for the Bureau for Medical Services (BMS). To qualify for the MR/DD Waiver an individual must also have substantially limited functioning in three or more of the following areas: self-care, receptive or expressive language, learning, mobility self-direction and capacity for independent living. To be eligible:

  1. Applicants must be Medical eligibility
  2. Have an Allocation (or slot)
  3. Meet Financial eligibility

For more information about the MR/DD Waiver, call the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Office of Behavioral Health Services at 304-558-3628.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI provides benefits to individuals with disabilities who are insured by workers' contributions to the Social Security trust fund.

  • You must be the worker, the worker's widow or child with disabilities. You must also meet Social Security's definition of "disability." Unlike the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program, this is not a needs based program.
  • The amount of an SSDI check is based on the worker's lifetime earnings covered by Social Security.
  • Usually there is a five-month wait to receive SSDI cash payments.
  • With SSDI a person will receive Medicare.
  • Work Incentives are given to individuals with disabilities who receive SSDI and are planning to work. The incentives may help people keep benefits while testing their ability to work and become self-supporting.

For more information, call the Social Security Administration at 800-633-4227.

Medicaid Work Incentive Network (M-WIN)

The M-WIN project works with state agencies, local service providers, community organizations and persons with disabilities. Through this effort, M-WIN accomplishes these objectives:

  • Research employment barriers and how services help maintain jobs
  • Create opportunities for Medicaid services to be given outside the home to help persons with disabilities find competitive employment
  • Prevent loss of health care benefits due to employment
  • Initiate a Medicaid Buy-In Option in West Virginia
  • Provide training to case managers regarding work incentive programs and services that support the employment of persons with disabilities
  • Provide community outreach and education to those who need work incentive information
  • Increase the involvement of consumers in choosing and directing their personal attendant services
  • Basic coverage requirements:
    • Be employed, earning at least minimum wage in competitive work
    • Be between 16 and 65 years old
    • Have a severe disability as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA)
    • Have unearned income less than a specified amount
    • Have countable income less than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level
    • Meet specific asset / resource limits

To apply for M-WIN, call your local DHHR office. Office locations can be found on the DHHR website at or by calling 800-642-8589.

For other assistance with M-WIN, call M-WIN staff at 800- 841-8436.

See Appendix D for Sources

Assistive Technology

a photo of a woman showing a child a device considered assistive technology

Assistive technology is any device used to perform tasks that can be difficult or impossible for a person to complete. These devices can be as complex as computers with screen reading software or as simple as Velcro used in place of buttons or shoe laces.

Examples of assistive technology:

  • People who are blind or have low vision might use a magnifier or a screen reader for a computer

  • People with physical disabilities might use a cane or a power-operated wheelchair.

Advocacy and Aids Assistive Technology Act

The Assistive Technology Act gives funding to states to support an assistive technology state plan to increase access to assistive technology. This applies to individuals with disabilities in education, employment, community living and applies to information technology and telecommunications.

For more information about West Virginia's Assistive Technology Act program, contact West Virginia Assistive Technology System (WVATS), at the Center for Excellence in Disabilities at West Virginia University. Call 800-841-8436 or visit

Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT)

Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT) is designed to increase access to assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. To be eligible, a person must have a disability and be in need of an assistive technology, device or service. PAAT can help a person get funding to purchase a device or modify one to strengthen an individual's independence. The scope of PAAT's advocacy may include providing information, negotiating policy changes or challenging denials and barriers.

Accessibility of Physical Environments

Physical disabilities limit the physical tasks an individual can complete. People with these disabilities may have limited use of their fingers, arms or legs and may have problems with fine motor control and mobility. Creating a checklist of accommodations for an individual will help you to create an accessible environment. The following are some considerations that will make a friendlier environment for everyone.

  • Mobility
  • Parking accommodations
  • Curb and entrance ramps (36 inches wide)
  • Clearly indicate accessible paths with signs
  • Slip resistant railings and steps
  • Clear away any obstructive objects (anything more than four inches from the wall)
  • Make sure work space, materials and bathrooms are accessible
  • Handles should be no higher than 48 inches from the floor
  • Accommodate for the usage of a trained service animal
  • Communication
  • Office equipment (such as a photocopier and telephone) with braille instructions or large buttons
  • Computers with accommodating keyboards and mice

Payment Options for Assistive Technology after K-12

There are many funding sources for assistive technology available to individuals with disabilities after high school. These sources include those from public and private agencies, lending libraries and business and civic groups.

Public AT Funding Agencies

  • ALS Foundation
  • Medicaid/Medicare
  • Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
  • Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MH/MR)
  • United Cerebral Palsy Association (Bellows Fellow Grant)
  • ARC
  • School districts
  • SSI/SSDI work incentives
  • Private Agencies and Foundations
  • Travelers
  • Prudential Insurance
  • Equitable Life
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • State Farm
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Aetna
  • Champus

Lending Libraries

West Virginia Assistive Technology System (WVATS) 800-841-8436

T.R.A.I.L.S (Traveling Resource and Information Library Services) 202-857-2673

Early Childhood Resource Lending Library (ECRLL) 800-642-9704

Vendor Loan Programs

Resources Within the Community (May write mini-grant proposals for aid)

  • Business and professional women's associations
  • Exchange Club
  • Kiwanis
  • Elks
  • Lions
  • Church Groups
  • "A Dream Come True"
  • "Make-A-Wish"
  • Masons/Shriners
  • Quota Club
  • Junior Women's League
  • Telephone Pioneers
  • Moose Lodges
  • Fraternal Orders of Police
  • Sunshine Foundation

List compiled by Debbie Budash from "Pathways to Funding for Adults and Senior" handbook.

See Appendix D for Sources

Self-Determination and Self-Advocacy Skills

a very focused student taking a test

To determine the best transitioning path, students must know what options best fit their needs. Self determination and self-advocacy skills allow a student to succeed throughout the transitioning process. Students should know their rights, their wants and needs and be able to communicate this to others. Knowing about the accommodations that they need for work or school, their learning styles and strengths and weaknesses will allow them to know what works best for them.

There are ways to improve a student's self-advocacy:

  • Participating in IEP meetings
  • Knowing one's rights and standing up for them and researching laws like the:  
    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004
    • Rehabilitation Act
    • Americans with Disabilities Act
    • WorkForce Investment Act (WIA)
    • Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Act
    • The Civil Service Reform Act
  • Compiling a transitioning portfolio which could include:  
    • IEP records
    • Academic Records and Standardized test scores
    • List of needed accommodations
    • List of medications being used
    • Description of communication or learning styles
  • Setting up a school schedule
  • Asking the right questions to disability services (if going to college):  
    • When is early registration available and what is needed to register?
    • How do I request services or appeal denied services?
    • How do I handle discrimination complaints?
    • What services are offered and what documentation is needed to apply?
  • When seeking accommodations, disclosing disability information
  • Knowing how to be assertive and objective
  • Developing and practicing decision making skills
  • Practicing for interviews and preparing for a job
  • Taking over contact with service professionals
  • Moving out of the home and becoming independent

West Virginia Advocates (WVA) protects and advocates for the human and legal rights of persons with disabilities. The program offers services, which are free and confidential, and information and referral. Due to limited resources, direct advocacy and legal help are determined by certain criteria. WVA specializes in abuse and discrimination cases, IEP disagreements and violations of disability rights.

For more information on West Virginia Advocates, call 800- 950-5250 or visit .

Appendix A: Resources

The Arcs

The Arc of Harrison County (Harrison, Randolph)

The Disability Action Center (Previously known as the Arc of Marion County)

The Arc of Mid Ohio Valley (Wood, Pleasants, Ritchie, Wirt, Calhoun, Jackson)

The Arc of Three Rivers (Kanawha, Clay, Boone, Putnam)

Centers for Independent Living (CIL)

Appalachian CIL (Boone, Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Nicholas, Pleasants, Putnam, Ritchie, Roane, Webster, Wirt, Wood)
Contact: 304-965-0376

Mountain State CIL (Brooke, Cabell, Fayette, Hancock, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, Mason, Mercer, McDowell, Mingo, Monroe, Ohio, Raleigh, Summers, Tyler, Wayne, Wetzel, Wyoming)
Contact: 866-687-8245 or

Northern West Virginia CIL (Barbour, Berkeley, Gilmer, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Lewis, Marion, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur)
Contact: 800-834-6408 or

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

WorkForce West Virginia

WV Department of Education (WVDOE)
Special Education Transition

WV Department of Veteran Affairs

WV Division of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS)

WV Higher Education Policy Commission

WV State Rehabilitation Council
800-642-8207 ext. 2544

Advocacy/Due Process

Behavioral Health Advocacy

Office of the Ombudsman

Olmstead Coordinator

Community Living

Adult Residential Services
800-642-8522 304-558-5388

Bureau of Senior Services (BOSS)

Homemaker Agencies
A/D Waiver Vendors

Caregiver Support

Centers for Independent Living
See Centers for Independant Living (CIL)

Chafee Foster Care

Habitat for Humanity of WV

Home Energy Assistance Program
Contact your Local County Office

Home of Your Own (HOYO)

Assistive Technology and Communication

Mission West Virginia
Computers: e-Impact program

Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities

WV Assistive Technology System (WVATS)

WV Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

WV Relay System

Transportation and Mobility

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
Call your Local DHHR Office

WV Paratransit Directory
Susan O'Connell

Health Care

Bureau for Medical Services

CAMC Health Information Center

Local County Health Departments

M-WIN Medicaid Work Incentive Network

Rx for West Virginia (Prescription Assistance)

West Virginia Association of Free Clinics (WVAFC)

Personal Assistance

Division of Rehabilitation Services
Contact your Local DRS Office

Medicaid Waivers

M-WIN Medicaid Work Incentive Network

Ron Yost Personal Assistance Services Program
800-642-8207 ext 4624


Adult Basic Education

Adult Education
304-558-5616 ext.456 GED: 800-642-2670
Literacy Training: 304-558-5616

College Financial Aids

Pell Grants

Promise Scholarship

Career Technical Education Centers

Career Centers: 877-967-5498
Perkins Act: 800-872-5327

College and University Disability Services

Bluefield State College - New River Community and
Technical College

Concord University

Eastern WV Community & Technical College
304-538-8147 Ext. 285

Fairmont State University - Pierpont Community and Technical College
304-367-4686 or 800-641-5678 Ext. 8 default.asp

Glenville State College

Marshall University - Marshall Community and Technical College

Potomac State College of WVU

Shepherd University - Community and Technical College of Shepherd

Southern WV Community & Technical College

West Liberty State College

West Virginia State University - West Virginia State Community and Technical College

WV Northern Community College
304-233-5900 ext. 8938

West Virginia University

West Virginia University at Parkersburg

West Virginia University Institute of Technology Community and Technical College of WVU Tech

Work Experience/Exploration

Community Rehabilitation Program

WV Division of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS)
Call your Local DRS Office

Human Resource Development Foundation (HRDF)

Job Accommodation Network

M-WIN Medicaid Work Incentive Network

One Stop Shops - WorkForce

Work Adjustment Training

Supported Employment

U.S. Military

Work Adjustment Training - Goodwill Industries

Appendix B: Laws and Regulations

a photo of some tax documents

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications. This act defines what the federal government expects of employers, governments and the public in ensuring fair accommodations and treatment.

Civil Rights Restoration Act

The Civil Rights Restoration Act prohibits an organization from discriminating against any group of people if the institution receives aid in any form from the federal government. Individuals cannot be stopped from participating in an activity or receiving a service based on race, color, nationality, religion, sex, age or disability.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA)

IDEA has been amended many times since passing in 1975, and most recently in 2004. Children with disabilities sometimes need, and are entitled to, special equipment and services to ensure they have access to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). These services and equipment are to give children with disabilities an equal opportunity to succeed in public schools.

Under the IDEA there are six main points to be aware of:

  1. Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
  2. Least Restrictive Environment
  3. Comprehensive Evaluation
  4. Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
  5. Parents' and Students' Input into Educational Decisions
  6. Procedural Safeguards

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Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as Amended

In the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as Amended, Congress found that the number of Americans with disabilities is increasing and realized that having a disability is a normal part of being human. As a result, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as Amended states that individuals with disabilities have the right to live independently, to have self-determination and make choices, and to both pursue careers and contribute to society. Under this Act, it is policy that individuals with disabilities are to "enjoy full inclusion and integration in the economic, political, social, cultural and educational mainstream of American society."

WorkForce Investment Act (WIA) and Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Act

Direct services and vocational services are available for people to gain employment and to obtain job training and job accommodations. The WIA helps many people access employment services and training through their One-Stop system and offers guidance and support. The Vocational Rehabilitation Act focuses on helping persons with disability attain a job.

Section 504: Requires reasonable accommodation, which includes physical accessibility and effective communication.

Section 508: Requires all Federal electronic and information technology be accessible.

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WV Policy 2419

West Virginia Policy states that by 2014, all students should have full educational opportunities. The policy enforces the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 and details how to identify students with learning disabilities through scientific, research-based instruction. This policy applies to students ages 3-21 who are enrolled in special education programs and other similar services.

For more information, visit policy2419.html

Higher Education Opportunity Act 2008

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was passed on August 14, 2008 and reauthorized the Higher Education Act of 1965. HEOA improves access to postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities. The Act deals with financial aid issues for students with intellectual disabilities. Under HEOA, students with intellectual disabilities are eligible for Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and the Federal Work-Study Program. HEOA also authorizes a model demonstration program and coordinating center for students with intellectual disabilities. The demonstration program will focus on creating inclusive model transition and postsecondary education programs to meet the needs of students with intellectual disabilities and their families.

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Appendix C: Financial Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

You will need records of income earned in the year prior to when you will start school. You may also need records of your parents' income information if you are a dependent student. The following is an example of the information that will be asked:

  • Your Social Security number. Be sure it is correct!
  • Your driver's license (if any)
  • Your W-2 Forms and other records of money earned
  • Your (and your spouse's, if you are married) latest Federal Income Tax Return. (IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040 EZ)
  • Foreign Tax Return, or
  • Tax Return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, or Palau
  • Your Parents' latest Federal Income Tax Return (if you are a dependent student)
  • Your latest untaxed income records
  • Veterans benefits records
  • Child support received
  • Worker's compensation
  • Your current bank statements
  • Your current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond and other investment records
  • Your alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)

When filling out the FAFSA, it is important to apply as early as possible beginning January 1st of each year for priority consideration. Although the deadline for West Virginia students is usually March 1st, be sure to contact your educational institution for details.

Types of financial aid

  • Scholarships and Grants
  • Fellowships
  • Tuition reductions
  • Loans
  • Work
  • Family contributions
  • Military aid

Sources of Financial Aid

Educational Institution

  • Work-Study
  • Merit or performance based tuition waivers


  • Corporation for National & Community Service- Earn money through community service
  • AmeriCorps
  • Private organizations and clubs
  • Local businesses

State Aid

  • Promise Scholarships

Federal Aid

  • Pell Grants
  • Stafford Loans: higher interest rate and shorter grace period
  • Perkins Loans
  • Direct Loans
  • Federal PLUS Loans: Available to parents

Savings Plans

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS)

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities - General

Incight Go Getter Scholarship

Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award

Student Award Program
Foundation for Science and Disability, Inc.

Undergraduate Scholarship Program Central Intelligence Agency program.html

Hearing Loss/Deafness

AG Bell Financial Aid and Scholarship Program Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
202-337-5220 Scholarship_Awards

Hard of Hearing and Deaf Scholarship Sertoma International

William C. Stokoe Scholarship National Association of the Deaf: Stokoe
301-587-1789 (TTY)

Visual Impairments ACB Scholarship American Council of the Blind

AFB Scholarships American Foundation for the Blind

NFB Scholarships National Federation of the Blind

Physical/Mobility Impairments

ELA Foundation Scholarship Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation

SBA Scholarship Program Spina Bifida Association of America
202-944-3285 ext. 23

Pfizer Epilepsy Scholarship Award Intra Med Educational Group

Scholarships for Survivors Program Patient Advocate Foundation

Solvay Cares Scholarship Solvay Pharmaceuticals

Learning Disabilities Ann Ford Scholarship National Center for Learning Disabilities

Hydrocephalus Association

Mental Health Lilly Reintegration Scholarship

Scholarship list compiled by the University of Washington DO-IT Program

Appendix D: Sources

When Should I Start Thinking About Transition?

How Does the Law Help With the Transition From One Level of Schooling to the Next?
The National Fragile X Foundation

IDEA 1997: Implications for Secondary Education and Transition Services
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition asp

Transition, It's A Brave New World Disability Scoop, Michelle Diament world/2082/

Who Can Help Me Plan?
Center for Excellence in Disabilities
June 2009

IDEA 1997: Implications for Secondary Education and Transition Services
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition

Mapping Transition Services
West Virginia Board of Education MappingTransitionServicesFinal.pdf

What Are My Options?

Career Planning Begins With Assessment: A Guide for Professionals Serving Youth with Educational & Career Development Challenges (Rev. Ed.)
Timmons, J., Podmostko, M., Bremer, C., Lavin, D., & Wills, J. (2005)

Everyone Can Work: A Handbook for Employment Resources
Center for Excellence in Disabilities
June 2009

Job Shadow

M-WIN Spec Sheet
Center for Excellence in Disabilities

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, Institute for Educational Leadership manuals.php

Pathways to Funding for Adults and Seniors: A Handbook for West Virginia Residents
Paths, Inc. and Center for Excellence in Disabilities
April 2009, 8th Edition

Seeking Supported Employment: What You Need to Know
University of Illinois at Chicago

Small Business and Self-Employment for People with Disabilities
United States Department of Labor

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities 2002 U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

Vocational Training Training.html

Assistive Technology

Everyone Can Work: A Handbook for Employment Resources
Center for Excellence in Disabilities
June 2009

Transition and Self-Advocacy LD Online Advocacy

Appendix E: Glossary

Accommodation: Adjustments to an environment that enable a person with disabilities to perform the essential functions of a task.

ADA-Americans with Disabilities Act: Prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, public services, public accommodations and telecommunications.

Assistive Technology: Any device used to perform tasks that can be difficult or impossible for a person to complete.

CIL-Center for Independent Living: Organizations that provide services and resources for persons with disabilities assisting them to gain the ability to live and participate in the community.

Civil Rights Restoration Act: Prohibits an organization from discriminating against any group of people if the institution receives aid in any form from the federal government.

Disability-Federal Definition: Any person who has, had or is considered to have, a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more of the major life activities; examples include housing, personal care or employment.

DRS-Division of Rehabilitation Services: DRS helps find and keep job services for persons with disabilities.

FAFSA-Free Application for Federal Student Aid: A free application for students and families to apply for federal government aid for educational costs.

FAPE-Free Appropriate Public Education: Free public education is a right to be guaranteed to all children in WV before they graduate high school or reach 21. More details can be found in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

IDEA-Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Addresses eligibility, individualized education plans (IEP) and teams, evaluations and parental rights for educating children with disabilities.

IEP-Individualized Education Plan: A plan developed for students with disabilities to tailor an educational program to best fit the students' needs. It includes information about a student's disability, educational goals, services and accommodations the student uses.

IPE-Individualized Plan for Employment: Prepares individuals for entry into employment through counseling, assessments or support services.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Insists that individuals with disabilities have the right to live independently, to have selfdetermination and make choices and to both pursue careers and contribute to society.

Post-Secondary Education: Education gained at another institution after high school.

Self-Advocacy: Knowing ones rights and standing up for them and actively taking part in achieving a goal (like in transitioning).

SSDI-Social Security Disability Income: Pays benefits to eligible persons with disabilities who have worked long enough and paid social security taxes in the past but are not able to work now.

SSI-Supplemental Security Income: Designed to assist aged people with disabilities who have little or no income. SSI provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.

Supported Employment: Helps people find and gain work, deal with any issues and help people decide whether it is best to disclose information about their disabilities. It provides continual support and training if needed.

UDI-Universal Design for Instruction: UDI is an approach to teaching that blends proactive design with inclusive teaching to benefit as many learners as possible.

Vocational Rehabilitation Act: This act prevents discrimination of individuals with disabilities. It helps persons with disabilities get a job by preventing employment discrimination.

WIA-WorkForce Investment Act: The WIA helps many people access employment services and training through their One-Stop system and offers guidance and support.

WV Policy 2419: West Virginia Policy states that by 2014, all students should have full educational opportunities.