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Sen. Julia Kirt will lead an interim study to examine the resources needed for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities transitioning from public schools to further education, employment and independent living.
The Oklahoma City Democrat said the study will analyze the benefits and potential drawbacks of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities staying in school longer as well as the pros and cons of utilizing federal funds available for disabled students.
“Children with these types of disabilities are eligible for federal funds from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) until they are 21 years old,” Kirt said. “I want to know how these extended services can impact the individuals they serve, their families and future independence.”
The goal of the study is to identify gaps and potential improvements in the system; identify any areas of success and positive outcomes for those served; and analyze the authority, policy and funding considerations for transition services.
“An educated and well-supported workforce is a successful workforce, and we want to ensure that we aren’t leaving anyone behind – regardless if they have intellectual or developmental disabilities,” Kirt said. “The federal dollars can help us ensure our families have access to high-quality information and support to empower students in their future lives.”
Speakers will include Renee Sansom Briscoe, M.S., Department of Rehabilitation Services transition coordinator; Todd Loftin, State Department of Education (SDE) deputy superintendent of special education; Lori Chestnut, SDE secondary transition specialist; Kendra Williams-Diehm, Oklahoma Transition Council director; Christy Newendorp, Jenks Public Schools parent; and Tomas Davis, Noble High School graduate.
The study will be held in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 9 a.m. in room 535 at the state Capitol.