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Discover Fauquier March 2019
14
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On March 21, the Department of
Special Education and the Parent
Resource Center (PRC) will host the
fifth annual Transition and Disability Fair
at Fauquier High School for families
of children with disabilities. Fauquier
County Public Schools (FCPS)
transition specialist, former special
education teacher Janelle Sutliff, is
excited to connect local families with
resources and services that support
the transition from the school setting
to the outside community.
"I provide transition services to students
accessing special education services
aged 14 to 22," Janelle says. "Part of it
is about developing goals for when they
exit the school system. This could mean
accessing classes at the community
college, living independently, or
securing employment. This fair will
give parents access to organizations
and agencies that help with all of these
things and more."
The fair is open to families of students
from pre-K to high school. So far, 17
local and statewide organizations
will attend the fair, and Janelle
hopes to add even more vendors.
The list of confirmed organizations
includes DARS, an agency whose
division for individuals with disabilities
supports efforts to secure inclusion,
independence, and integration by
improving employment and overall
quality of life. In addition, the Culpeper-
based nonprofit RRCS will be at the fair
to share information on Bridges, a day-
support and pre-vocational services
program for adults with intellectual and
developmental disabilities.
Other attending vendors provide
meaningful job training and support,
access to competitive employment
opportunities, inclusive community
activities, self-advocacy promotion,
and the advancement of civil rights for
individuals with disabilities. Some, like
RRCS, help families navigate obstacles
that can stand in the way of securing
insurance, disability services, waivers,
and personal care attendance. Many
are advocacy groups that can make
excellent networking resources for
parents and students. By the end of
the evening, Janelle says families will
leave with a list of helpful contacts, and
hopefully, a strong sense of support.
FCPS supports students' education
by creating individualized education
plans, or IEPs, for children who have
been identified as having a disability.
Depending on their needs, students also
actively practice the skills required for
life after school, such as living on their
own, work training and employment,
self-advocacy, and more.
"There are 14 recognized disabilities
that require different levels of support,"
says Janelle. "In the school setting, we
create the least restrictive environment
possible to allow students to access
the curriculum. In an adult setting, we
want students to be able to access
their happily-ever-after."
This is Janelle's first year serving as
the FCPS transition specialist, and
she has fully embraced her new role
working in the same field from a
different perspective. With a strong
background in special education,
including a master's from George
Mason University and eight years in
the classroom, she relishes working
with students and their IEP teams to
further hone this program. "We're here
to empower, advise, and provide, so
families have the resources they need
to make the transition out of the school
system a successful one," she says.
The Transition and Disability Fair will be
held from 4:00­6:00 p.m. in the atrium
at Fauquier High School. Families
will be given a resource guide with
the complete list of vendors as well
as other valuable resources. The fair
is made possible by a grant from the
Virginia Department of Education, which
also provides door prizes for the first
50 attendees. To learn more about
the resources our community offers
students with disabilities, RSVP by
visiting http://openingdoors.rsvpify.
com or call (540) 422-7154 x1046.
THE TRANSITION AND
DISABILITY FAIR:
HERE TO "EMPOWER,
ADVISE, AND PROVIDE"