As the parent of 3 teen/ tween age boys, early June is always a time of transitions in our house. Right now we are transitioning to a new schedule no longer dictated by a school routine. We are trying to figure out how to negotiate new activity schedules, getting along with siblings with whom we are spending significantly more time and managing a first experience with an online class. All of these experiences have not been a piece of cake in the last several days, but I know that we will get everything figured out.
At The Arc of Indiana, we are wrapping up the second year of the current k grant project for The Arc Network and developing plans for the future. Additionally, we are saying goodbye to one of our Family Advocates, Jennifer Akers, and wishing her well as she begins her journey with a new project with Family Voices. To be honest, all of these transitions have me feeling a bit overwhelmed this afternoon. Often too much change feels unsettling to all of us.
I often hear from families that transitions are the most difficult time for them. Later this summer, Indiana will have a statewide transition forum on August 3 & 4, 2011 at the Sheraton Hotel and Suites in Indianapolis. According to the organizers of the event, IIDC’s Center on Community and Careers, “The forum will be a combination of a conference, in which the latest information and practices will be shared, and a forum, giving special education administrators, teachers and other educational professionals time to network, identify needs, share ideas, problem-solve and promote successful transition solutions and opportunities. “ I know that as a parent, attending a transition event like this was the first time I really begin to see a vision for my son beyond his school years and special education. I hope that if you have school age children you will consider attending this event to learn more about what options exist after high school. Another great opportunity to learn and share this summer is the Autism NOW Midwest Regional Summit taking place in Indianapolis June 24-25.
Knowledge and information is a powerful tool to fight those unsettled feelings that accompany change. In times of transitions, whether it is a transition from school to summer or from school to adult services, please remember that there are people and organizations that can help. Local support groups and family to family organizations like The Arc of Indiana, local Arc chapters, local support groups, Family Voices and ASK are only a few options. If you need help connecting with a local or statewide organization, contact The Arc of Indiana at 317-977-2375 or via email us. We’ll be happy to talk with you and hopefully share some information to get you headed in the right direction.
In the meantime, I’m off to put on my “Mom” hat and negotiate X-box turns, activities schedules and carpooling.
Jill Ginn is Manager of The Arc Network for The Arc of Indiana