It wasn’t that long ago that high school graduation meant the end of many opportunities for students with disabilities, but that’s changing.
Families here in the Tri-Cities got the chance to connect and find out what else is possible.
For Aaron Hiscutt, graduating high school represents a major life event. But for him and others with disabilities, the challenge then becomes what’s next.
Hiscutt is non verbal and was diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome. He is looking for his next big step.
“I’d like him to have some employment that has purpose,” said Susan Hiscutt, Aaron’s mother. “Every parent is concerned about their kid, regardless of what challenges they do or dont have. But, he’s growing up and we have to let him go. “
The Hiscutt’s and others enrolled in a day-long Special Education Transition Academy called “Planning Life After High School“.The Special Education Transition Academy is a two part event. The first part focused on teaching students about budgeting, goal setting and life skills. The second part focused on introducing parents and the students on what options are available. For example, enrolling in TCAT, enrolling in a college or university with disbilities services, or finding employment.
The event was open to families, caregivers, students and young adults with disabilities, and educators from Kingsport City and Sullivan County Schools.
“I really want to get a driver’s license sometime this summer,” said Benjamin Kodi Black. “That’s what I might do and I want to keep working at Food City.”
Benjamin current has a part-time job. But, says the transition academy has taught him to set goals like getting a driver’s license, something his parents like many others worry about.
“We encourage them that they can do it,” said Jaime Mccrary with Austin Peay University. “They can do anything they want to. Don’t let their disability impact their lives. Thats a piece of who they are but it does not define who they are.”