In addition to the Transitions Fair and Alumni Panel, which have been offered in years past, this year Stanbridge hosted a Professional Panel, an alumni speaker, and more.
Professional Panel—November 9th, 2016
“Designed for parents, professionals, and other adults, the November 9th panel focused on key logistical and practical considerations essential for every student’s future; considerations that are critical for each young adult regardless of what specific postsecondary path he or she may take,” said Director of Transition Mary Hurlbut.
The panel consisted of four experts including a lawyer, financial advisor, advocate/public benefits consultant, and psychologist. In 20 minute presentations, each speaker shared information about topics to consider in designing a secure and sustainable adulthood for individuals with autism or other special needs. Topics included conservatorship and financial planning, assessment for and accommodations in the workplace, engaging adult support services, and adult residential options.
“It was apparent that a lot of parents were seeking guidance on these topics,” said Mary. “By engaging experts, the parents received very pointed and specific information. Parents now have contacts whom they can seek to engage for further support as necessary.”
While each topic was carefully considered, information about how to engage public services and benefits for adults with disabilities was of particular interest. Accordingly, by parent request and popular demand, panelist and public benefits consultant Jim Huyck will return in March 2017—date TBD.
Informed by extensive knowledge and experience (which includes serving as a former regional center director for the Department of Rehabilitation), Jim will speak to parents and other adults in further detail about services available and how to engage supports. The Transitions Program at Stanbridge Academy website will be updated with date and time information when it becomes available.
A LiveStream was available for those who couldn’t attend the panel in person; a recording can be found here. Copies of the presenters’ PowerPoint presentations are available here.
Transitions Fair—October 20, 2016
The Transitions Fair took place in October and was attended by 16 different postsecondary programs, more than any other year previous.
“The Transitions Fair gives students, parents, and members of the broader community the opportunity to learn about postsecondary programs related to education, work, residential, and employment opportunities,” said Mary.
Program representatives answered student and parent questions at booths before presenting to the entire audience about the specific services and supports provided by their specific postsecondary programs.
“The fair was extremely informative and provided easy access to speak with the individual schools and programs to ask personalized questions,” said Stanbridge Parent Gaby Rojas. “It covered all the areas that I wanted to see and gave me a platform to think and plan for my son’s future.”
Information about the postsecondary programs that presented at the October 2016 Transitions Fair are also available online.
“I thought the fair was great! It really helped me think about my future,” said one sophomore student. “I’m still pretty young so I haven’t decided yet, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what options are out there.”
Alumni Speaker Jonathan Murphy—December 2, 2016
Alumni Speaker Jonathan Murphy also helped students think about their futures.
Jonathan, who is a successful voice actor and content creator, visited on December 2nd to share his story with current high school students.
“Stanbridge helped crack the shell that I had built up around [myself],” said Jonathan as he explained his transformation from shy middle schooler to outgoing high school senior.
Inspiring the audience with clever and comical voice impersonations, Jonathan encouraged the students to “engage [their] support networks” and to “just keep going, even if you don’t know where you are going.”
Jonathan will return to Stanbridge in January as part of the next event in the Transition Event Series lineup: the Alumni Panel.
Alumni Panel—January 12, 2017
The Stanbridge Academy 2017 Alumni Panel will take place Thursday, January 12th from 1-3pm in Hayden Hall.
“The stories that alumni share during the alumni panel help current students imagine broader possibilities that fit their own unique and evolving personal interests and inclinations,” said Mary.
All Stanbridge High School students will be in attendance. Parents, alumni families, and other community members are also welcome to attend the Alumni Panel in order to learn more about how Stanbridge supports students in seeking personally fulfilling paths.
“Alumni advice and testimonies support our students in recognizing that there are as many unique paths as people; alumni stories help to illustrate that every path has bumps in the road,” said Mary. “Mistakes or unexpected outcomes are a normal part of the path toward becoming (and being) an adult.”
If you are interested in attending or presenting at the Alumni Panel, contact Mary. Participating alumni are invited to a special alumni lunch immediately prior to the panel, from 12-1pm. Join us to connect with fellow alumni and reconnect with old friends!