Families across Summit County recently came out for the inaugural Transition Expo put on by the Summit County Transition Expo Committee. This event was the first for the collaborative group made up of local schools, career centers, transition specialists and Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD). The group’s focus is to help teens with developmental disabilities make successful transitions from school to adult life.
Penny Haser, a Transition Coordinator from the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center and committee chair, was pleased with the event’s success. “This was a great first year,” she said. “We had such good feedback from participants, parents and vendors.”
Haser and the 15 member committee began planning the expo in 2015. They worked closely with schools to create an event that would provide information to help students and their parents as they plan for the future. The event attracted over 100 participants from all over, including parents – which as Haser explained is helpful to families looking to learn more about transition resources that are available to them. “It gave them lots of one-on-one time to discuss programs and ask questions,” she explained.
“We wanted to provide resources to families,” committee member Jacquie Owens of Summit DD added. “The goal of the expo was to give families and teens transitioning from school to adult life the tools, information and resources they need to make informed decisions about their future.”
There were nearly a dozen information sessions during the day for families to learn about a variety of topics. The sessions included topics such as support through Summit DD, transportation options, college services, vocational support, and ISPs among others. In addition to the sessions, there were also more than 30 local agencies, businesses, and organizations on hand to talk with families and answer questions specific to them and their needs.
Haser and the transition committee are looking to build on this year’s success and are excited to plan another expo in the spring of 2017. Haser added that the committee’s goals for the future are simple, “We’d like to draw the parents and teachers in to learn more about the resources available to them,” she said. “We want to help students prepare for their futures.”
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