Transition Services Night offers new opportunities for struggling students


Logo courtesy of District 158’s website

By Natalie VonderHeide

The Division of Rehabilitation Services spoke at last night’s District 158 Transitional Service Night regarding their services to students who are looking at what they want to pursue after high school. 

DRS’s vocational rehabilitation program specializes in assisting people with disabilities to be employed or attend college, which helps them gain the degree required by jobs. Eligibility is based on disabilities that restrict impediments to employment or the student with a medically documented disability has established a realistic employment goal. 

Diagnostic services through DRS is provided at no cost to anyone who applies. Recipients who have an SSI/SSDI are exempted from financial analysis, while recipients under age 24 who are currently attending a university’s financial analysis will be based on family income. 

Closure of cases can only occur if a person did not become employed or the recipient is employed. Cases can be reopened for short term services, and services through DRS last for the recipient’s lifetime. 

DRS’s home services program focuses on helping a person with disabilities to remain in their home and maintain a healthy and safe living environment. A specialist will come out to visit recipients to test their eligibility of receiving Home Services and what kind of services the person will need. If the recipient passes and begins to start receiving services, a $25,000 income from DRS will be given to the recipient for any needed home transitional services every five years. 

Special services administrative staff member, Kevin Wolf, spoke about how he would like to better advocate DRS’s programs to students in the district who have IEP plans and why people should apply. 

“Understanding [that] the special education services deliver a number of supports for the children, with the key one being that we’re supporting kids with families to transition out of high school and being competitively employed, and knowing that there is a community agency there to support their children once they become young adults,” Wolf said. 

Wolf would like parents and students to take away from last night’s meeting that the district is here to help them, and if they need more information they can visit this link or call (800) 843-6154.