Intellectual Disability

Case study

When Lucy was 4 years old, she had a meningitis incident that resulted in a mild intellectual disability. Now, Lucy is an 18-year-old student at Central Valley High School. School has never been easy for Lucy, but high school has been particularly hard. For the last three years, she bounced between her dad’s home on a rancheria 60 miles away and her mom’s apartment. She attended different schools depending on which parent she was living with.

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Earlier this year, following her mother’s death, Lucy told the school psychologist that she didn’t feel safe living with her father. She announced that she would be living with friends as she finishes high school at CVHS. Lucy’s schedule includes remedial math and English classes, culinary class, jewelry making, theater, and a career development course. She has ex-pressed an interest in working with animals and is currently exploring jobs as a veterinarian assistant.

Ms. Alvarez, the special education teacher at CVHS who manages Lucy’s progress, is concerned about several things. Following a discussion with the school social worker, Ms. Alvarez asked Lucy about her living arrangements. Lucy shared that she is living in a homeless shelter for a short time, while she figures out what to do next. Lucy told Ms. Alvarez that she was considering dropping out of school because it is too hard to get to school. She has attempted to pass the high school exit exam twice, failing the math section both times by a very narrow margin.

She is also concerned that she does not have a parent or advocate to attend her upcoming transition IEP meeting. Ms. Alvarez is committed to helping Lucy find sustainable living arrangements, pass the exit exam, and complete high school with a diploma. She assures Lucy that as an 18-year-old, she can attend and sign off on her own IEP.

Next, she gathers together the transition IEP team, including Lucy, her theater teacher, the assistant principal, the school social worker, and a local representative for the homeless youth project. Together, they develop a plan including a coordinated set of activities and support services that will lead Lucy to achieving the post-school goals she envisioned for herself!

Application Questions

Why is Lucy able to represent herself at her transition IEP meeting?

Why is it so important to include a broad range of people (teachers, administrators, social works, community advocates) on Lucy’s transition planning meeting?

What are some coordinated activities that would support Lucy in moving toward her adult goals?

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