What are transition services?
The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Transition Program offered at MCIU provides a continuum of services and opportunities to help transition-age students prepare for their future. Programs are community-based and supported by professional educators through a collaboration with business, school, families, and local agencies. The program is specialized to meet the individual needs and preferences of each student.
Who is Eligible?
Students who are 14 years of age or older (or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP team). School Districts must refer students to the MCIU transition program.
History of the Program
Transition is the process of preparing students for adult life after they leave high school. Transition planning begins at age 14, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP team, as students explore and discover what they want their post-school outcomes to be through career awareness exploration activities. The transition process continues through high school as academic instruction and community experiences support these outcomes. The entire process is based on the individual student’s needs, considering the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests. Transition can be thought of as a bridge between school programs and the opportunities of adult life, including higher education or training, employment, independent living, and community participation. Educators facilitate students’ successful transition by guiding them through the following activities, thus preparing students to cross the bridge into adult life.
Independent Living Program
The Independent Living Program offered at MCIU is designed to give students with disabilities, ages 18 to 21, the tools necessary to live in the real world. The program assists students with developing independent living skills in an apartment setting. Students will be engaged in activities from “You’re on Your Own” curriculum from PCI Education. This Consumer Education Curriculum includes elements to stimulate living in the real world. Students will be engaged in over 100 real-life activities that teach how to live independently and successfully. The program has authentic and realistic forms so students can practice filing taxes, reading, and paying bills, preparing budgets and completing credit card applications. The program is housed in a fully-furnished apartment setting with a kitchen, bedroom, computer room, living room and bathroom.
The Transition Experience provides students the opportunity to develop workplace appropriate social skills, career acquisition skills, and career retention skills by participating in a variety of occupational-type experiences in community-based placements. These experiences are individually designed to provide students with hands-on occupational-type tasks in a business setting. Students receive periodic support from a Transition Teacher in addition to daily job coach support.
Community Based Internships are intended for students with a transition employment goal of competitive employment. Students will receive specific, direct training (as spelled out in their Training Plan from a local business). It is important to note that although there will be a job coach at these placements, students will be expected to function primarily independently with support from the job coach involving a daily check-in to determine if the student needs more support. Additionally, students will receive approximately 2 – 3 hours per month of support from a Transition Teacher with Cooperative Education Certification. Students will receive monthly evaluations (focused on strengths and areas for improvement) from the community placement. A Transition Teacher will meet individually with students to review and discuss their monthly evaluations. Generally, these types of internships are no more than 1 semester per placement.
This program offers support for students with paid employment. Students are released from school for part of their day to attend a paid work experience. Students will receive 4 hours of support per month from a Cooperative Education certified Transition Teacher. Students will receive monthly evaluations from their employer. Support will take the form of observations, skill development, and monthly meetings with the Transition Teacher to discuss the student’s strengths and needs as identified by their employer. Students are eligible to receive school credit at their district’s discretion based on their hours worked.
CAP Program (Full Day)
This program is tailored to each student’s unique ability level. It is a combination of work opportunities, independent living, and problem-solving skills. Students intern at MCIU or a community site and rotate through departments with or without the support of a job coach. Students start the day with a morning meeting and venture to morning work jobs. Students dine in the lunchroom with co-workers and meet with a transition teacher for job development time. Currently, students create career portfolios, job search, complete employment applications (online), and follow up with businesses. Vocational assessments, travel training, Osha certification and community-based instruction at local businesses are also included within the full day program. MCIU assumes the IEP responsibilities. Related services available as fee for service option.
Extended School Year
Extended School Year is designed to maintain and strengthen transition skills over the summer break. Placements within MCIU and the community provides students with meaningful opportunities which are designed to maintain and increase personal and social independence at work, home, and in the community.
Covid Compensatory Services
School Districts must send specific IEP goals, data sheets and baseline data for each student. Students will receive direct instruction on their transition/vocational or independent living goals. Districts must communicate the number of hours needed. Related services can also be provided for an additional fee.
Choice of Programs
The Smart Living program located at the MCIU building in Norristown provides students the opportunity to develop independent living skills. Students utilize the latest technology (ex. Alexa, Echo and Pea Pod) to learn skills such as cooking, housekeeping, personal care, banking, budgeting, and public safety skills. Students are encouraged to become active members of their community through current events, community-based instruction, and volunteer opportunities. Students will walk to local eateries, transportation center and courthouse with parent permission to practice skills in the community.
This experience provides students the opportunity to develop workplace appropriate social skills, career acquisition skills, and career retention skills by participating in a variety of occupational-type activities in community-based placements. These experiences are designed to provide students with hands on occupational-type tasks in a business setting. Students receive periodic support from a Transition Teacher in addition to daily job coach support. The ESY Employability program is designed to maintain students’ skills over the summer break. Team building, conflict resolution, completing tasks using checklists and/or task analysis, working under the direction of a manager, problem solving and social skills in the workplace are examples of activities students will participate in over the summer break.
Aviator Vocational Assessment
The Aviator is a research based vocational assessment that:
- Measures General Educational Development (GED) level of Reasoning, Math and Language as defined by the Department of Labor (DOL).
- Tests 7 aptitude factors: General Learning Ability, Verbal, Numerical, Spatial Perception, Form Perception, Clerical Perception and Color Discrimination.
- Provides information and job descriptions for approximately 1,000 current occupations as defined by the DOL.
- Evaluator reviews assessment with IEP team and parents.
Overseen by a Vocational Assessment Coordinator, the Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES) is a comprehensive curriculum that operates in a simulated work environment. This program is designed to provide students with hands on experiences in five career areas – Business/Marketing, Consumer Service, Construction/Industrial, Process/Production and Computer/Technology. This program helps students to match their aptitudes with their areas of interest and includes a Work Behavior Inventory. Students who complete all the tasks involved in the PAES Lab will receive a summary report.
Mobile PAES Lab
A mobile version of the PAES Lab described above. A Vocational Assessment Coordinator will bring various, portable activities and tools from the PAES Lab to the students’ home district. There is a 4-student minimum for the Mobile PAES LAB.
Information & resources
Parents & Guardians
Effective transition planning is a team effort. Your child as he or she is today and imagining what services and supports will be needed to achieve his or her dreams tomorrow. Transition planning is required for all students with disabilities, at the time the student turns 14 (or sooner if appropriate), who qualify for special education services.
Are you a business interested in partnering with our transition program?
Brittney Gambone joined the MCIU as a Program Administrator in June of 2018. She attended Arcadia University and received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2002. She participated in an accelerated program to complete her Master’s degree in Special Education in 2003. She began her teaching career at Wissahickon High School where she taught Learning Support and Emotional Support for 6 years. She then served as Transition Coordinator for the Wissahickon School District and Department Chair of the Special Education Department for many years. Ms. Gambone earned her Supervisor of Special Education Certification from Pennsylvania State University in 2013.
Upon arrival at the MCIU, Ms. Gambone supervised the Autistic Support program K-12 and the Transition Department in the Office of Student Services for 2 years. Beginning the 2020 school year, Ms. Gambone began supervising the transition department exclusively. Many new programs and opportunities are on the horizon, such as Barista Buddies, which is a coffee shop ran by students in the MCIU transition program.
Ms. Gambone is passionate about transitioning students successfully into the community and uses a person-centered approach to help students find their passions and strengths as they approach post-secondary life.