The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services drew more than 800 researchers, educators, rehabilitation counselors, self-advocates and other stakeholders to three days of discussions on transition to college and careers for youth with disabilities. Barb Trader, TASH’s Executive Director, presented with Norciva Shumpert on policy reform that supports expanded availability of customized employment strategies for individuals with significant impact of disability. In a second panel, Barb and Madeleine Will shared recommendations from a recent roundtable on improving education accountability for transition-age youth, which was hosted by the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination, which Barb and Madeleine Co-Chair. Policy reform is a continued priority for TASH, particularly in the area of improving education and transition practices toward better life outcomes for the people for whom we advocate. Promising systems change work is underway in 12 states and with TASH member involvement as a result of grant programs funded through the Office of Disability Employment Programs and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. A third grant program, PROMISE, is expected to be launched in 2013 by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
One very prominent theme of the national transition conference was the presence of an implementation gap between best practice and current practice in states. With increased pressure for improved employment outcomes expected from many federal partners, TASH members have leverage to influence changes in states. More information will be shared in webinars on this topic throughout the summer months. Please watch TASH in Action for more information. Also, 2012 National Transition Conference presentations will be available on the TASH website by June 15. Program information on the 2012 National Transition Conference is available at www.transtion2012.org.