As students begin the process of transition to adulthood, our goal is to ensure that agencies work together with youth and families to discuss and develop a plan that will lead to adult employment. The number of community agencies involved in the transition process is individualized by students’ needs and eligibility criteria. The importance of agency coordination and collaboration for students with ASD is heightened by the fact that some agencies may not be familiar with the variability of strengths and variables for employment presented by individuals on the autism spectrum.
Big ideas for transition teams:
- Families should begin to explore the agencies and resources in their local area well before age 14.
- Educators of all students with ASD, regardless of their skills and abilities, should facilitate the connection to information for multi-agency transition planning no later than age 14.
- Students with ASD may not be eligible for adult agency support (or limited supports) and their families need to have knowledge of additional resources and how to navigate the transition process within their local school districts.
- Students should leave school with all the supports and services in place to be successful in the workplace or post-secondary education setting, creating a seamless transition.
This component area covers the area of Interagency Coordination and Collaboration. The importance of agencies working together is vital to promoting more positive outcomes in the transition to post-high school employment or education. In this component, the areas of interagency collaboration and interagency coordination will be defined in addition to information on how to more productively partner with agencies on behalf of transition-aged students. Having the correct agencies in the IEP for transition services is essential to effective planning for post-high school education, employment, and independent living. Resources are provided in addition to related learning activities in the form of downloadable print material, modules, and interactive online activities to enhance knowledge.
Intended Audience: professionals as well as families for a better understanding of the key stakeholders in the transition planning process. There are many resources in this component that families may find helpful in coordinating their transition-aged young adult’s employment preparation, health care, guardianship, and more.
It is very important to partner with agencies to improve outcomes for students with disabilities and who are transitioning from high school. Through improved collaboration we can assure students are connected to agencies and services both at school and in the community which can improve their post high school outcomes. This often takes research, an understanding of the agencies and services and their function, and considering how the services apply to individual student needs.
Related Learning Activities:
- Go to the Iris Center Secondary Transition: Interagency Collaboration Module (Challenge). Download or print the PDF transcript for the module provided on the first page, if helpful.
- Begin the module by watching the video (2:30) and follow the instructions provided as you move through the module.
- Continue through the interactive sessions until the course is completed (estimated time for completion is 2 hours).
- Consider how the information in this module can be applied to your transition aged students.
- What do you think was most helpful in the module?
- What could you put into practice now? This school year? In the coming school year?
Coordinating services is a part of interagency collaboration, and is essential for improved outcomes for students with disabilities as it applies to education, employment, and independent living options. By working with outside agencies to coordinate services and supports, student’s specific needs can be met and barriers can be addressed.
Related Learning Activities:
- Go to the Transition Coalition Interagency Collaboration Introduction page. You will need to register for a free account if you do not currently have one.
- Work through the training module which includes an Overview of Interagency Collaboration, Interagency Teams and Team Members, and Strategies for Facilitating Interagency Teams.
- Module includes information and resources, videos, surveys, and interactive activities to help build or strengthen interagency teams.
Activities to Build Interagency Coordination and Collaboration
Is your team ready to learn more about the agencies in your local area? Are you ready to help local parents and students find the support they need to live successful lives after high school? Build an understanding of which agency does what, how to navigate these services, and connect names and faces to the different agency support personnel in your local area through the activities described below. Make adjustments where needed to align with your transition program and the needs of the students.
Related Learning Activities:
Complete a minimum of 1-2 of the following activities.
- Set up a free account at the NTACT-C site and then conduct Resource Mapping (from NTACT-C): often the first step in defining a flow of services. This approach focuses on what the community (e.g., school, vocational rehabilitation, youth agencies, organization, etc.) has to offer by identifying available services and resources that can be aligned to define a flow of services and ultimately build a seamless transition system.
- Utilize Community Resource Mapping (provided by the Institute of Community Inclusion): this is a strategy for promoting interagency collaboration by better-aligning programs and services for youth and families. The major goal of community resource mapping is to ensure that all youth have access to a broad, comprehensive, and integrated system of services essential to achieving desired school and post-school outcomes.
- Community Conversations (information provided by START): Community Conversations is one strategy that has been used to discover, support, and disseminate creative and promising approaches for supporting students with disabilities to participate more fully and naturally in school, work, and community activities, including the same relationships, work and community experiences as their peers.
- Hold a Transition Fair. This Transition Fair Tool Kit (from NTACT-C) can provide guidance in holding a transition fair. Transition fairs connect students and families with information and resources on programs and supports to build successful lives after high school. During a transition fair, families and students have the opportunity to talk to different programs, ask any questions, and network with other families.
- Download the List of Activities to Building Interagency Coordination and Collaboration (from the steps above).
Considerations for Interagency Coordination and Collaboration
Teams working to improve their collaboration with agencies to improve outcomes for transition aged students may benefit by learning strategies to more effectively communicate and work with educators, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and other agency staff and stakeholders.
Related Learning Activities:
- Review the Video by NTACT:C on Collaborative Interagency Partnership Considerations (free account required).
- Identify 1-2 strategies that you are already using to collaborate with agencies.
- Identify 1-2 new ways you learned to increase collaboration with agencies.
Tools to Support Interagency Coordination and Collaboration
There are a number of tools that can be useful in promoting and strengthening interagency collaboration. The following includes resources available in Michigan, including a guide for navigation. There are some resources developed by START which may be useful. This also covers information essential for teams, how effective teaming occurs, holding productive meetings, and more.
Related Learning Activities:
Review the following resources to see what you may be able to apply to your transition program.
- Team Information Form: It is critical for all team members to be identified, invited, and actively participate in the V3 Discovery Process. Use this form to keep track of who is on the student’s team.
- Michigan Community Resources Directory: Alphabetical List & Descriptions of Michigan Community Agency Resources
- Navigating Michigan Community Agencies: Basic guidelines that can assist your team to navigate and understand what and when to involve community agencies.
- Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics: These tools help your team have effective meeting mechanics as ideas are shared and decisions are made, to help capitalize on the strengths and experiences of a group of people with common goals.
Additional Reading Interagency Coordination and Collaboration
The following supports interagency collaboration and is focused on Michigan-based initiatives.
Related Learning Activities (optional):
- 2019 EMPLOYMENT FIRST IN MICHIGAN: This 2019 report on Employment First builds on the original 2014 baseline report, noting where employment conditions have improved, what challenges remain, and what policy and practice changes are required to continue Michigan’s improvement in providing access to competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities.
- Michigan Employment First Strategic Plan for Systems Transformation and Improving Competitive, Integrated Employment Outcomes: The Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP) and the Michigan Employment First stakeholders embarked on a Vision Quest process documentation and roadmap outlining Michigan’s Employment First’s Vision, Mission, Values, and Objectives to increase Competitive Integrated Employment.
- MDE B-13 Compliance Checklist & Guide 2020: State Performance Plan for indicator B-13 is for tracking the percent of youth aged 16 and above with an IEP with coordinated, measurable, annual goals and transition services, including courses of study, that will reasonably enable the student to meet those postsecondary goals. One of the questions of the checklist is specific to having representatives of any participating agency (likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services) invited to the IEP Team meeting.
- Michigan’s WIOA State Plan: Download and review Michigan’s 2020-2023 plan. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires that the Unified State Plan include “an analysis of the economic conditions in the State” (WIOA, Section 102(b)(1)(A)). This should include “an analysis of the current workforce, employment and unemployment data, labor market trends, and the educational and skill levels of the workforce, including individuals with barriers to employment, including individuals with disabilities.” (WIOA, Section 102(b)(1)(B)).
- Michigan Alliance for Families: Adult Service Agencies Overview
- NTACT-C: Examples of State Agency Collaboration Efforts
- PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment: Planning for Success In Postsecondary Education Takes Time and Organization (section on Involving Agencies)
- Project 10: Transition and Interagency Collaboration