Towards the end of April, 2015, DRW received a call from the family of Bryce, a young man with a cognitive disability. Bryce — at 18 years old — was attending school 2 days a week and also attending a nearby Adult Development Center 3 days a week. This was part of his Individualized Education Program (IEP) that had been worked on by his high school. Bryce’s work placement at the Adult Development Center was supposed to be his transition program out of the school.
However, since Bryce was 18 years old, the school sent Bryce’s family his Notice of Graduation less than six weeks before the graduation date! Bryce’s family were shocked, as they had not thought the school had provided Bryce with enough education to release him yet. Staff at the school had claimed they had taught Bryce all they could, and that he could not learn anymore. Bryce’s parents disagreed, and contacted DRW for help.
DRW’s Jo Pelishek sat down with Bryce’s parents and staff members at Bryce’s school, and tried to help the school understand that Bryce needed more time there to learn employment and life skills. Since he was only eighteen, Bryce was eligible to access school services for three more years, until he was 21. Likewise, Jo brought up that Bryce’s work placement at the Adult Development Center was restrictive, and Bryce was not being taught many valuable job skills at the there. Jo tried encourage the school to get Bryce a community job, but she was told nothing was available in the small town. Jo talked about the possibility of a job that could be done at school, and eventually decided to do some research before the next meeting.
At the next meeting, DVR (Department of Vocational Rehabilitation) joined DRW in advocating for Bryce to remain in school, and we began the process of helping Bryce find employment. The school finally agreed to hold back a credit so Bryce could walk the graduation stage with his class, and then continued to offer Bryce supports and services. The school also set Bryce up with some jobs at the school until they could find him employment in the community. Although he met adversity along the way, his transition supports he received led to a job he loves, where he is considered to be a valuable employee.