When I worked as a school counselor for students with disabilities, it was heartbreaking to hear high school kids getting ready to “graduate’ with no transition plan. Classes were exceeding capacity with students of various physical and ESPECIALLY cognitive levels, all on “special diplomas”, which are basically Certificates of Attendance. Neither the students nor their parents knew they would not be earning a High School diploma.
The county received additional funding per student with disabilities. If a child has a visible disability, no testing was performed. They were thrown in the portable behind the main campus, away from the general population.
On top of missing out on age appropriate peer interactions, the students were playing checkers and coloring all day. There was no academia from the beginning. Here they were, High School Seniors, who were unable to read, write, or do basic math. The situation was a complete travesty.
Of course, the students had no idea what would happen after getting out of high school. I went back to square one, and developed a tool to help students plan for a future based on their interests. Even defining their interests was a great challenge since, as the teacher informed me, students were not even given the option of vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
My Dream Portfolio has since been successful with court-ordered adolescents, couples in premarital counseling, professionals desiring a career change, and every other population I have treated.
Every person deserves to turn their passions and dreams into reality. Amazingly, this is not common knowledge. Dream about YOUR ideal life with NO limitations. Brainstorm, and write down your interests, then short term and long term goals to make your dream life reality.
Resolve not to settle anymore. This is purposeful living. In a future post, I will show you how to use planners (an obsession of mine), to develop a map to your dream life. After all, staying on the right path with a clear destination in view is being effectively productive.