Case study: kevin
is an 18 year old young man with significant intellectual disabilities who is attending his
neighborhood high school. Kevin is following his state’s Extended Content Standards which are
aligned with the general curriculum’s Standard Course of Study. He receives daily instruction in
Literacy (reading, writing, and communication), Math, and Science. Kevin also is involved in
vocational and daily living skill training. His coursework is delivered in individual and small
group settings in the special education classroom except for Digital Communications (a general
education Career Technical Course) which he has taken (using a modified curriculum) with the
assistance of a one-on-one instructional assistant. Kevin also participates in a school-based
enterprise through the Occupational Course of Study (a state endorsed curriculum for students
with special needs leading to a high school diploma) and an on-campus work placement in the
Kevin has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and uses a manual wheelchair for mobility which
has been adapted with trunk support and subasis bar. He is able to use his right hand to
manipulate larger items and can use his left hand for stabilization. Kevin receives physical
therapy one time a week for 30 minutes and has ongoing therapy services in the classroom
including positioning on adaptive equipment. He wears AFOs for stability when using a stander
and a left hand-elbow mobilizer. Kevin’s physical therapist would like for him to have a
motorized wheelchair but funds have not been available. Kevin also receives occupational
therapy on a consultative basis. His teacher and the occupational therapist have been working on
developing vocationally related jigs.
Kevin has little intelligible speech other than single words and yes/no responses but within the
classroom has used an iTalk2 to communicate simple needs and choices and is learning to use a
GoTalk20+. He does not use an augmentative communication device at home but does have a
picture board which transitions with him between school, the community, and home. Kevin
receives speech therapy 2 times a week for 30 minutes each session.
Kevin has generalized tonic-clonic seizures which are 85% controlled with two different anti-
convulsant medications (Tegretol and Mysoline). He is fed through a gastrostomy tube although
he is able to take some pureed foods by mouth in limited amounts. Kevin can feed himself by
mouth using a CP Feeder but has to be closely monitored and reminded to eat slowly to avoid
asphysixation. Usually Kevin is only allowed to feed himself during special occasions such as a
class party or special meal. The gastrostomy tube placement was primarily due to asphyxiation
of food during meal times that resulted in recurrent upper respiratory infections. These URIs
have greatly decreased since his surgery. A functional vision assessment has indicated that
Kevin’s visual acuity with corrective lenses at near distances is 20/80 and at far distances is
20/100. His most effective visual field is slightly below eye level and he is able to localize to
visual stimulus and fixate his gaze on objects and people as well as shift his gaze. Kevin does not
like wearing his glasses but is cooperative in this area most of the time. Kevin has good hearing.
Kevin and his family plan for him to stay in the public schools until he ages out at age 21 which
will provide him with three more years of services. He lives at home with mother, step-father, 11
year old sister, and a great aunt that helps with his care. Kevin also has one older brother who is
in college. After receiving state level mental health funding for personal care and 10 hours of one-on-one community-based services for the last 4 fours, Kevin was recently approved for Medicaid waiver funded services. This funding source will provide Kevin with an array of services based on his individual needs including: augmentative communication devices, case management, one-on-one community and home support, personal care services, respite, specialized equipment and services and medical transportation. Funds will also be available for supported employment and day support after high school graduation. Kevin has had a comprehensive transition component in place since his 14th birthday. The development of a complete transition component was determined appropriate for Kevin at an earlier age due to his complex needs and the length of time needed to obtain appropriate adult services. His school level transition planning team has consisted of: Kevin and his parents, a special education teacher, a CTE Special Populations Coordinator, Kevin’s case manager, a regular education teacher, Kevin’s one-on-one worker, and a LEA representative (e.g., school administrator or diagnostician). Kevin’s has not been referred for any services other than those he is receiving from Mental Health through the Developmental Disabilities division. In preparation for transition planning, Kevin has been administered speech, physical therapy, and occupational therapy assessments focusing on the skills and equipment needed for functioning in the home and community. Kevin’s parents have completed Parent Transition Surveys and Kevin provided input by responding to picture choices in post-school domains. Kevin’s teacher also administered the Supports Intensity Scale to his parents to determine the frequency, amount, and type of support needs in the home living, community living, learning, employment, health and safety, and social activities Kevin will need after graduation from high school. The assessment indicated that Kevin will need regular and extensive support in all areas of adult life to achieve his post-school goals. In addition he will need protection and advocacy services for managing money, legal issues, self-advocacy, and protection from exploitation. It is anticipated that in the area of future employment Kevin will need ongoing supported employment to work in a competitive employment placement. Using observational data, situational assessment, and modified picture interest inventories Kevin enjoys interacting with other people, music, horticulture, computers, and clerical type activities in which he has the opportunity to complete a project. Kevin responds well to verbal praise and is able to stay focused on a task for 20+ minutes with occasional verbal redirection. Kevin has developed the skills to operate a variety of switch activated devices (e.g. button maker, blender, etc.), use a paper shredder, and collate papers with a jig. Kevin has worked successfully on an assembly line in the school-based enterprise and has held an on-campus job in the school library checking books in and out using a scanning system and shelving books with the assistance of a teacher assistant. He tried a job in the school cafeteria bagging cookies for sale but due to hygiene issues (e.g. drooling) it was determined that this was not a good placement for Kevin. Kevin loves school and is always eager to learn new skills. He demonstrates a high level of motivation to please his teachers and his parents report that even when he is sick he begs to go to school. Everyone who knows Kevin feels that it would be beneficial for him to be involved in post-secondary education. His recently approved Medicaid waiver services will provide one-on-
one ongoing daily and adult living skill training but participation in continuing or compensatory
education classes at the local community college might be a good option for Kevin. This type of
setting would allow Kevin to develop skills in some of his areas of interest as well as provide a
Kevin’s residential plans for after graduation are uncertain. Kevin is very happy at home and
indicated that he loves his family. Two of his classmates have moved into group homes and
through classroom discussion and lessons on post-graduate residential options, Kevin appears to
have some understanding of becoming an adult and living more independently, possibly away
from his family. Kevin’s mother has very mixed feelings about Kevin’s future living
arrangements. As Kevin’s primary caregiver since birth she feels she would be lost without him
but realizes that as time goes on it might be necessary to seek an out-of-home placement.
Kevin’s father would very much like to see Kevin move into a group home or other supervised
post-school living arrangement as soon after high school as possible. Kevin’s father would like
to spend more time with his younger daughter and wife and believes that his elderly aunt is not
going to be able to assist them much longer with Kevin’s personal care. Both Kevin’s mother
and father are very happy about his recent approval for Medicaid waiver services and have stated
that this additional support might result in Kevin remaining in their home for several more years.
While at home, Kevin’s mother and great-aunt provide total physical care. Although Kevin could
assist with some personal hygiene tasks this is not an expectation for him while in the home.
Other than insignificant type choices, all decisions are made for Kevin by his parents. He goes
into the community on occasion with his one-on-one worker when she is allowed to use the
family wheelchair lift van. Kevin is able to sit in a car using a seatbelt and then be transferred
into a Pogo Buggy for community outings but his parents prefer him not to be transported in that
manner. This limits Kevin’s community-based learning activities. A great deal of Kevin’s one-
on-one worker’s time is spent in the home with him. While at home Kevin enjoys watching
DVDs, looking at books, listening to his I-Pod, watching his younger sister play video games,
family meals, and making music on his electronic keyboard.
Kevin’s has no understanding of money and does not provide input into his health/medical care.
He has been covered under his father’s work insurance policy but his recent approval for a
Medicaid waiver program will assist with medical care, equipment, and supplies. Kevin’s parents
plan to work with his Mental Health case manager to obtain guardianship since Kevin has now
turned 18 years of age. Kevin has never received SSI benefits. Postsecondary Goals:
Immediately after graduation, Kevin will participate in habilitative and functional skill
training through CAP services and will attend courses designed to provide specialized academic, functional, and occupational preparation for individuals with disabilities 2 times per week at the community college. o This goal meets I-13 standards for Item #1 for the following reasons:
a) Participation in training is the focus of the goal. b) Participating is an observable behavior.
Nonexample: After leaving high school, Kevin plans to attend courses the local community college.
o This goal does not meet I-13 standards for Item #1 for the following reason:
a) “Plans” does not indicate an explicit behavior by the student that will occur after high
school that can be observed as occurring or not occurring.
b) This goal does not state the purpose of attending a community college. Stated in
observable terms, this may be a reasonable goal for Kevin if specialized academic, functional, and occupational curricula (e.g., compensatory education) are available at the community college.
Within three months of graduation, Kevin will obtain a supported employment position that
allows him to work to his maximum stamina and incorporates the use of assistive technology. o This goal meets I-13 standards for Item #1 for the following reasons:
a) It is stated that the goal will occur after graduation from high school. b) The goal is stated measurably: “obtain” and “work” can be observed as occurring or
Nonexample: Upon completion of high school, Kevin will express his preferences related to his
postsecondary employment options, given picture symbols and the iTalk2, an augmentative communication device. o This goal does not meet I-13 standards for Item #1 for the following reasons:
a) Expressing preference about employment preferences is an activity. Expressing
preference about employment is not an outcome.
b) This goal is an activity that should be engaged in with Kevin prior to and throughout
secondary transition. It does not reflect a postsecondary goal for his employment.
After graduation, Kevin will continue to live with his parents and will participate in his daily
care routines to the maximum extent possible.
Immediately following graduation, Kevin will participate in 1- 2 age-appropriate community
and individual community-based activities per week related to horticulture, socialization with young adults, animals, and music.
After graduation Kevin will effectively utilize an augmentative communication device at
home and in the community that allows familiar and non-familiar individuals to communicate with his regarding needs, wants, and desires. o The above goals meet I-13 standards for Item #1 for the following reasons:
a) Each goal is focused on Kevin’s independent living (residential, self-care, community
b) Each goal is stated in a manner that can be observed (i.e., “will live”, “participate”,
c) There are criteria for performing the postsecondary goals that make them explicit and
d) The goals are stated as outcomes for Kevin after high school, not activities or
Nonexample: Kevin enjoys watching DVD’s, looking at books, listening to his IPod, watching his younger
sister play video games, sitting with family for meals, and making music on his electronic keyboard. o This goal does not meet I-13 standards for Item #1 on for the following reasons:
a) While this information includes a consideration for Kevin’s preferences and interests,
b) No timeframe or date is stated for this goal. It is stated as an activity that is currently
happening rather than a goal for the future.
c) “Enjoys” is neither observable nor measurable. d) This is a statement of Kevin’s preferences, not what he will do after exiting secondary
Given the GoTalk20+ augmentative communication device and weekly community practice,
Kevin will independently and accurately use the device to communicate single words to communicate a desire for an item in community settings, including restaurants and ticket counters. o This example meets I-13 standards for Item #2 for the following reasons:
a) Kevin is not able to use a GoTalk20+ effectively and learning to do so is a skill that
will prepare him to participate in a habilitative and vocational training program
recreational opportunities, and educational opportunities after high school.
b) Learning to use a GoTalk20+ effectively will prepare Kevin to incorporate assistive
technology use in future employment
c) Similarly, communicating choices will prepare Kevin for the goal of participating in
that interest him.
d) Finally, learning to use the GoTalk20+ is a step toward preparing Kevin to
communicate more effectively
with familiar and non-familiar individuals in various
Nonexample: Kevin will participate in occupational therapy two times each week for 30 minutes each
session for the duration of the IEP. o This goal statement does not meet I-13 standards for Item #2 for the following reason:
a) Participation in occupational therapy does not indicate what knowledge or skill Kevin
is expected to gain during the upcoming year.
b) While it is likely that participation in speech therapy logically supports his
goal, because there is no skill noted, it is unclear
that there is a link.
Example: Kevin will participate in yearlong on-campus vocational preparation, including the following
experiences, each for a period of three months, with a frequency of a minimum of two sessions each week, and session duration of one hour per session in the following positions
a) Clerical job experience in school office b) School Based Laundry Enterprise c) Janitorial work experience throughout school building
o This annual goal meets standards for I-13 for Item #2 for the following reasons:
a) Kevin will gain skills as well needed of employment in these on-campus job
b) Data from completion of the annual goal may provide Kevin’s IEP team with
information regarding future employment strengths and interests for him.
c) The goal statement includes specific criteria to attain this goal, including minimum
level related to (a) duration of the work experience, (b) frequency of participation, and (c) as well as the duration of each work session.
Nonexample: Given a GoTalk20+, Kevin will use the device to speak in sentences in the community to
speak to familiar listeners including his teachers and family members as well as unfamiliar listeners by October, 2008. o This annual goal does not meet standards for I-13 for item #2 for the following reason:
a) Kevin is just learning to use of the GoTalk20+ augmentative communication device
in the classroom setting, so this behavior cannot logically be demonstrated during the coming year given Kevin’s current level of performance.
Example: Given picture symbols with Velcro adhesive and a wall mountable daily planner, Kevin will
utilize a schedule to plan self-care (e.g., showering and eating), employment, educational, and recreational activities, five days each week for the duration of the IEP with a maximum of one physical prompt per activity to place the picture symbol on the schedule. o This annual goal statement meets I-13 standards for Item #2 for the following reasons:
a) Developing the skills to plan necessary to meet this goal will prepare Kevin for his
postsecondary goal of maximum participation in his daily routine.
b) The goal statement provides conditions, criteria, and a timeframe, so that it is
Nonexample: Kevin will receive occupational therapy services 3x/ week.
o This goal statement does not meet I-13 standards for Item #2 for the following reasons:
a) The goal statement does not indicate any skills that Kevin will be gaining. b) This is a related service, not a statement of an annual goal.
Visits to recreational agencies/facilities in the community
Leisure and recreational interest survey through student response to different leisure
Referral to Teens on the Town, a recreation program for young adults with developmental
Employment preference survey
Watching a movie in the classroom
Calling the movie theater from the classroom to determine movie times Daily Living Skills Examples: Maintain a bank account
Express preferences related to saving money for personal
Selecting clothing for the day Non-examples: Preparing simple meals for himself
Travel training in the community Employment and Other Post-School Objectives Example: Meeting with job coach in classroom and community settings
Meeting with SSI representative to determine possible financial benefits
Vocational rehabilitation referral
Apply for college disability support services
Complete application for job at local mall
Functional Vocational Evaluation
Refer to Vocational Rehabilitation for non-verbal, modified assessments of adaptive
behavior, career interest, and career skills
Administration of assessments intended for verbal students
Administration of assessments for preschoolers, not related to employment or adult living
Participation in academic and functional curriculum
Participation in self-advocacy training
Class field trip to the movies
Situational assessment at local hotels
Speech therapy services for training in use of augmentative communication device
Speech therapy, occupational therapy for augmentative communication evaluation and
selection of appropriate augmentative communication device for school and postschool environments
Occupational therapy consultation for use of assistive technology
Occupational therapy consultation for assistive technology evaluation for determination of
devices to increase independence in home and community environments
Physical therapy to maintain and improve strength and flexibility Transfer of therapy services to adult service arena Nonexamples: Counseling services related to anger management
Instruction related to self-determination Evidence of Coordination:
A consent form signed by Kevin’s mother, indicating that the local education agency (LEA)
may contact vocational rehabilitative(VR) services to make a referral for services
A consent form signed by Kevin’s mother, indicating that the LEA may contact Social
Security Administration (SSA) to schedule a meeting with the family regarding Kevin’s benefits
A consent form signed by Kevin’s mother, indicating that the LEA may contact Medicaid to
coordinate referrals to outside agencies therapy referrals
An invitation to conference the VR agency representative Notes on file from conversation between LEA physical therapy (PT) and private practice PT
Nonexamples: An invitation to conference to the VR agency representative
Notes from a phone call with outside PT provider by the LEA PT (without consent on file)
Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment:
Summarized on front page of IEP.
Kevin enjoys interacting with other people, music, horticulture, computers, and
clerical type activities in which he has the opportunity to complete a project. He responds well to
verbal praise and is able to stay focused on a task for 20+ minutes with occasional verbal
redirection. Kevin has developed the skills to operate a variety of switch activated devices (e.g.
button maker, blender, etc.), use a paper shredder, and collate papers with a jig. Kevin has
worked successfully on an assembly line in the school-based enterprise and has held an on-
campus job in the school library checking books in and out using a scanning system and shelving
books with the assistance of a teacher assistant. Kevin loves school and is always eager to learn
new skills. He demonstrates a high level of motivation to please his teachers and his parents
report that even when he is sick he begs to go to school. Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Abilities:
Kevin is following his state’s
Extended Content Standards which are aligned with the general curriculum’s Standard Course of
Study. He receives daily instruction in Literacy (reading, writing, and communication), Math,
and Science. Kevin also is involved in vocational and daily living skill training.
His coursework is delivered in individual and small group settings in the special education
classroom except for Digital Communications (a general education Career Technical Course)
which he has taken (using a modified curriculum) with the assistance of a one-on-one
instructional assistant. Kevin also participates in a school-based enterprise through the
Occupational Course of Study (a state endorsed curriculum for students with special needs
leading to a high school diploma) and an on-campus work placement in the school library.
Signed examination summary from Kevin’s physician, dated during the current year that he is:
18 years old
Is typically fed via G-tube to avoid asphyxiation
Uses a manual wheelchair to ambulate
This example meets the I-13 standards for Item #5 for the following reasons:
o Information regarding the student’s strengths and needs is provided. o Information considers current and future environments. o Information is from multiple sources, relevant to Kevin’s strengths, preferences, and
Example reflecting best practice: The information in the above example, as well as: Summary evaluations from various dates during the previous 3 years by LEA’s physical therapist LEA’s occupational therapist Private occupational therapist Summary of notes from Person Centered Planning (using the Making Action Plans [MAPS]) forms meeting conducted at family’s home, recorded by Kevin’s great aunt.
This example reflects additional best practices suggested for age appropriate transition
o The information was obtained from multiple sources.
o The information reflects the input of the student/family regarding strengths, needs,
Kevin is a student with significant cognitive disabilities. He has severe limitations in cognition,
communication, fine motor and gross motor skills.
The information provided does not meet I-13 standards for Item #5 for the following reasons:
o Stating the type of disability is not sufficient information to conduct comprehensive
transition planning, since individuals with the same disability classification likely have varying abilities
o There is no information regarding the student’s strengths and skills that are currently
Courses of Study:
Receives specially designed instruction with an alternate curriculum, including instruction
focused career development, functional academics, and community referenced skills that are
linked to the state standard course of study in Language Arts, Math, and Science.
These courses of study
meet I-13 standards for Item #6 for the following reasons:
o Kevin is a student with significant cognitive and physical disabilities whose curriculum
o The curriculum described is relevant to his postsecondary goals o The curriculum described includes opportunities to access the standard course of study
The box is checked on the IEP indicating that the student is completing the coursework for a
These courses of study do not meet I-13 standards for Item #6 for the following reasons:
o While it would be adequate to check a box to describe the courses of study, the standard
diploma option without any explanation of accommodations, modifications, or alternative paths would be inappropriate based on our knowledge of Kevin’s strengths and needs and his postsecondary goals.
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