Metropolitan Center for Independent Living

Transition

Identity, Disability, and Sexuality: Reflections From a Son and His Father

by Nick and David Wilkie

We - Nick and David - are a colorful son and father duo who reside in the Twin Cities. We both work in the human services field. David (dad) works in health care and Nick works for the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living. For this article we were asked to reflect on the father and son conversations about sexuality we've had over the years. In order to write it we really needed to do some thinking about who we are, and the philosophical approach we have taken toward the topic and our lives. These are our reflections. We hope you enjoy them.

Nick's Perspective

I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a household where my differences and challenges were not the first thing everyone talked about. This was a key part of the philosophy that my dad took on in raising me. When my dad would introduce me to people he would say, "I would like you to meet my son Nick," and not, "I would like you to meet my son with a disability." This was crucial in my identity development. To have that separation between me and my disability made all the difference in the world. Carrying that separation throughout the rest of my family and friends was challenging at times, but overall it proved to be very successful. Once family and friends saw that my disability did not change the way my dad saw me, or the way that he treated me, they were able to see that my situation was not all that different from other young people.

My disability was not the only challenge I had growing up, however. When I was five my entire world was turned over - my mom died. My dad had always been a great constant in my world, but how was he supposed to deal with the loss of my mom and keep me grounded in life? To this day, this situation still shakes me. We pressed on though. The difficult circumstances gave us tools to use. I found independence in doing things on my own because my dad would not do everything for me. This 'tough love' was very hard on both of us at times, but I firmly believe that I would not be who I am without it.

My experiences in school and with peers also shaped my identity. I believe the first time I actually felt labeled different was when I was in about fourth grade. I remember leaving my elementary classroom (my school day was not all mainstream classes yet: in the afternoons I was attending some special ed classes) and one of my friends went up to the teacher and asked, "Why can't Nick stay in our class all day?" Now, I don't know if the teacher thought that I couldn't hear her, but I remember her saying, "Oh, don't worry about it, he's just different." Now I couldn't have been more than 10, but I knew what different meant. I remember going home and asking my dad if I was different. He simply said, "You are a lot different than she is."

Likewise, when I was in junior high I worked up the courage all year to ask a girl at my bus stop out for ice cream. When she agreed to meet with me and we found ourselves eating ice cream and not talking very much, she broke the silence by saying, "Nick, I don't think we can see each other again. Isn't there someone else like you that you would be interested in dating?" I don't think that it initially occurred to me that when she said like you she meant with a disability. Interestingly enough, the answer to her question was no. There weren't any other students with disabilities that I was interested in dating. The only other person who had a disability at my school was my good friend Josh; he and I had been great friends since preschool, but I knew I wasn't interested in dating him! As I dug a little bit further in talking with her I found out that she had numerous other concerns about my disability; most of all she was concerned that I would pass my disability on to children that we would have. Keep in mind that I'm still sitting there with my ice cream in hand. Until this experience I had never thought how my disability would affect others in my life.

In situations like these I was able to have real conversations about my life with my dad. It was through these conversations where I learned that it was my responsibility to be knowledgeable about myself and explain my situation to other people.

When it came to my identity, disability, and sexuality I found that I was the driving force behind a lot of conversations that we would have. My dad was always available to talk to, and there wasn't a conversation that was out of bounds. There were conversations that were challenging, and talking about sex was definitely one of those; but those challenges were not unlike any other father-son talk on the topic. It is hard for men in our society to talk about sex. It may be part of our culture. And male youth, myself included at the time, are often not mature enough to handle the topic and will convince themselves that they know about it already rather than have an honest conversation with an adult.

When the book Where Did I Come From? (a book about reproduction) appeared when I was 13 years old, there was no way that I was ready for the conversation my dad tried to start about it. I remember it being very difficult for me to take the book seriously because of the subject and the cartoon format. I was not mature enough to handle the topic. But, I did take a look at it when I was on my own; that allowed me to take in the information, and then I approached him with questions on my own terms. In my experience, I gathered a lot of information about sex from school, friends and the world around me and then I would bring up questions with my dad. I believe this helped break things down for me and I did not feel like I was having a big conversation. Instead, I asked questions here and there and pieced things together. This made the nature of the discussion less anxious and more spontaneous.

There have been and there will always be assumptions about my abilities, about the things that I can do. But the only ones that I have to believe are those that I tell myself in the mirror. Today, I have a girlfriend, Jackie, and we have been together for almost three years. She's wonderful. To my knowledge she doesn't have any diagnosed disabilities, and she does enjoy ice cream!

I owe a lot of thanks to my dad for helping me become that confident guy in the mirror. Not a week goes by that I don't talk to him about my life. We are very fortunate to have the relationship that we do; I love him for it. Talk soon, Dad!

David's Perspective

I do not remember talking specifically about sex with Nick! I'm old now, however. I do remember that if he asked a question I would answer the question, or if I didn't know the answer I promised to find the answer, and did. I believed answering his questions as they came up was easier for him to digest than to have some big discussion where only ten percent would sink in, kind of like taking too much vitamin C, your body can only handle so much and the rest goes off as waste.

I do remember believing strongly he wasn't any different than anyone else where sex was concerned, or in any other life experience for that matter. Sure, he may have to approach things a bit differently, but I/we focused on building self-confidence and concentrating on the things he could do really well, and less on things he had trouble with. I fully expected him to have girlfriends and date like most other adolescent males. It never occurred to me that he wouldn't.

It was obvious early on that he wasn't going to be a sports hero, so we did other things like camping and canoeing to give him different experiences he could enjoy, build confidence in, and become good at. He got really good at playing Nintendo, and was very confident he could hold his own with the neighborhood kids.

I also knew that the world wasn't going to change for Nick, so we needed to find ways for him to fit in and build confidence. In my professional life I had seen too many families giving their kids with disabilities what I considered to be too much support. I was worried if I did that with Nick it would hinder his ability to become independent. I was actually accused of being mean to him when he was young because in the eyes of some I didn't cater to him enough. Nick has a great personality and that is very attractive to everyone: girls, boys, men and women. So armed with a great personality, confidence in himself, and good looks, I believed he had the tools to eventually go on to have strong relationships with the opposite sex and others of all ages. And he has.


Nick Wilkie is the Systems Advocate at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living, St. Paul, Minnesota. He may be reached at 651/603-2018 (phone/fax) or nickw@mcil-mn.org. David Wilkie lives and works in St. Paul.

This article origianlly appeared in the Impact Newsletter Volume 23 • Number 2 • Spring/Summer 2010 Published by the Institute on Community Integration (UCEDD) and the Research and Training Center on Community Living, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota

Reposted with permission. 

Transition Resources

Jobs and Job Training

Department of Employee Relations (DOER)
State of Minnesota.

Department of Labor
The Department of Labor fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements.

Department of Labor-Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is an agency within the U. S. Department of Labor. ODEP provides national leadership to increase employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities while striving to eliminate barriers to employment.

Goodwill/Easter Seals
Goodwill/Easter Seals' mission is to provide services for people with barriers to employment in our community.

IdealList
In this site you will find job listings, volunteer opportunities, and internship opportunities from around the world.

ISEEK
ISEEK, the Internet System for Education and Employment Knowledge, is a Web-based gateway to Minnesota career, employment, education, and business development information and services.

Job Accommodation Network
The Job Accommodation Network is a service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the U.S. Department of Labor. JAN is one of several ODEP projects. JAN's mission is to facilitate the employment and retention of workers with disabilities by providing employers, employment providers, people with disabilities, their family members and other interested parties with information on job accommodations, self-employment and small business opportunities and related subjects. JAN's efforts are in support of the employment, including self-employment and small business ownership, of people with disabilities. JAN represents the most comprehensive resource for job accommodations available.

Minnesota Career Resource Network
The objective of the Minnesota Career Resource Network (MCRN) is to improve career and education decision-making by supporting cross-agency strategies.MCRN serves Minnesota's learners, career explorers, educators and employers. It is active in School-to-Work programs, career and education information dissemination and product development, career development training and occupational-oriented research.

Minnesota Careers.org
A site that focuses on career development issues related to high school students.

Minnesota School to Work
Minnesota's School-to-Work Initiative is to create a system that provides learners with options for receiving quality education and preparation for careers. This requires that varied and flexible school-based, work-based, and service learning opportunities be created that meet a broad range of learner interests, abilities, and needs.

MN Workforce Center
The website for the Department of Economic Security. The 53 Minnesota WorkForce Centers and numerous affiliate sites that make up the WorkForce Center System across Minnesota provide the tools, resources, and services you need for your employment, training, and related workforce development needs.

Minnesota Work Incentives Connection
This site was created as a tool for people with disabilities and those who work with them. Inside you will find information on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the various work incentives that apply to these programs.

Monster.com
Monster® is the leading global online careers website. Monster is a lifelong career network, providing continuous access to the most progressive companies, as well as interactive, personalized tools to make the process effective and convenient. Features include: My Monster, your personal career management office; resume management, with the ability to store up to five different resumes; a personal job search agent; a careers network; chats and message boards; privacy options; expert advice on job-seeking; and free career management newsletters.

National Business & Disability Council
The National Business & Disability Council is the leading resource for employers seeking to integrate people with disabilities into the workplace and companies seeking to reach them in the consumer marketplace.

Occupational Outlook Handbook
The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a nationally recognized source of career information, designed to provide valuable assistance to individuals making decisions about their future work lives.

Pioneer Press Career Builder
Pioneer Press’s job bank.

Star Tribune Work Avenue
Work Avenue is the leading employment Web site in the Twin Cities area, featuring employment news and information, thousands of job opportunities, e-mail links directly to employers, resume building software, and a custom employment matching program. Job seekers have all their employment tools at their fingertips, from the ability to research potential hiring companies to gaining workplace advice to applying for jobs online.

VolunteerMatch
VolunteerMatch is the nonprofit, online service that helps interested volunteers get involved with community service organizations throughout the United States.

Volunteer Resource Center-Twin Cities
The Volunteer Center of St. Paul and the United Way Volunteer Center of Minneapolis kicked off the 21st century by joining to form the Volunteer Resource Center of the Twin Cities. VRC provides the leadership, resources and networking to create stronger communities through volunteer action in the greater Twin Cities area.

Work Support.com
The purpose of this center is to identify factors that enhance or inhibit businesses from tapping into a pool of potential employees. Work Support.com is a gateway to information, resources, and services regarding the employment of people with disabilities. Developed at the Virginia Commonwealth University.

Post-Secondary Education and Training

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
TheMinnesota State Colleges and Universities system is made up of 27 two-year colleges (community and technical colleges) and seven state universities.

Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning
The Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning works to help communities to measurably improve the well-being of children through programs that focus on education, community services, prevention, and the preparation of young people for the world of work. All department efforts emphasize the achievement of positive results for children and their families.

Department of Education
Information on US Department of Education activities, initiatives, and resources.

Department of Education-Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE)
OVAE's activities fall into four areas: High Schools, Career and Technical Education, Community Colleges, and Adult Education and Literacy. Find information on these topics, plus related legislation, grants and other resources

Independent Living

Courage Center
The mission of Courage Center is to empower people with physical disabilities to reach for their full potential in every aspect of life. We are guided by the vision that one day, all people will live, work, learn and play in a community based on abilities not disabilities.

Minnesota Association of Independent Living Centers (MACIL)
Minnesota Association of Centers for Independent Living (MACIL) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to advocate for the independent living needs of persons with disabilities who are citizens of the State of Minnesota, and to develop new resources and identify and provide access to existing resources which provide the services needed by persons with disabilities so that they may live independently in the situation and community of their choice.MACIL’s web site is dedicated to providing information about independent living, services provided by Minnesota's eight Centers for Independent Living (CILs), and links to disability related information around the world.

Independent Living Research Utilization
The ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization) program is a national center for information, training, research, and technical assistance in independent living. Its goal is to expand the body of knowledge in independent living and to improve utilization of results of research programs and demonstration projects in this field.

Independent Living USA
Website focusing on IL.

Research and Training Center on IL
Our strategic mission is to enhance Independent Living (IL) for all. We make IL better by working with consumers, providing quality research, and widely disseminating effective and relevant products.

Community Involvement

City of Minneapolis

Hennepin County

City of St. Paul

Ramsey County

Metropolitan Council
The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning agency serving the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area and providing essential services to the region.

Metro Transit
Information on Twin Cities metro bus services.

Metro Commuter Services
Metro Commuter Services has been promoting alternative transportation to commuters who live or work in the Twin Cities metro area since 1977. We are a one-stop resource for commuter transportation information. Whether you telecommute, walk, bike, bus, or car or vanpool to work or school, we offer a free service of information and ride matching for all commuters.

Metro Mobility
Metro Mobility is the door-through-door public transportation system for people with disabilities in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and many adjoining suburbs. Door-through-door service means that drivers will help riders through the first set of doors at both their pick-up points and their destinations.

North Star
For individuals to participate fully in a democratic system of government, they must have the greatest possible access to government information and data. This site has links to all state, county, and city resources.

Minnesota Department of Human Services
The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides health care, economic assistance and other services for people who do not have the resources to meet their basic needs.

Minnesota Department of Health
The mission of the Minnesota Department of Health is to protect, maintain and improve the health of all Minnesotans.

Rec/Leisure

Regional Park Systems
The regional parks system includes 43 parks and park reserves, 18 trails and four special recreation areas.

City Pages
The On-line News, Arts, and Entertainment Weekly of the Twin Cities.

City Search-Twin Cities
Citysearch is a leading local network enabling people to get the most out of their city. Providing online city guides for more than 100 cities worldwide, citysearch.com helps people find and plan what they want to do and then lets them take action, offering local transactions such as buying event tickets and making hotel and restaurant reservations online.

Wilderness Inquiry
Wilderness Inquiry (WI) provides outdoor adventure for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. WI travels to over 35 destinations by canoe, sea kayak, dog sled, horse pack, and backpack. Join the community of Wilderness Inquirers. All you need is a sense of adventure.

Universal Access Guide to MN's Recreation Areas
A guide to help individuals with disabilities utilize the recreational areas in the state of Minnesota.

Assistive/Adaptive Technology

Alliance for Technology Access
The Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) is a network of community-based Resource Centers, Developers and Vendors, Affiliates, and Associates dedicated to providing information and support services to children and adults with disabilities, and increasing their use of standard, assistive, and information technologies.

Assistive Technology Industry Association
The mission of the ATIA is to serve as the collective voice of the Assistive Technology industry so that the best products and services are delivered to people with disabilities. The ATIA represents the interests of its members to business, government, education, and the many agencies that serve people with disabilities.

AT Network
California's AT Network is dedicated to expanding the accessibility of tools, resources and technology that will help increase independence, improve personal productivity and enhance the quality of life for all Californians

Consortium for Assistive Technology Outcomes Research (CATOR)
CATOR’s overall mission is to conduct multiple research projects on AT outcomes and impacts to determine the effectiveness and usefulness of AT and the implications for use/discontinuance of AT devices.

Closing the Gap
Through our newspaper, annual conference, and Web site, Closing The Gap provides practical up-to-date information on assistive technology products, procedures, and best practices.

DISABILITY Resources on the Internet
These pages were created and are maintained solely by Jim Lubin, who is a C2 quadriplegic, completely paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator to breathe, using an keyboard/mouse emulator with a sip and puff switch to type morse codes. Information will be updated when I have time.

Equal Access to Software and Information
EASI's mission is to serve as a resource by providing information and guidance in the area of access-to-information technologies by individuals with disabilities. We stay informed about developments and advancements within the adaptive computer technology field and spread that information to colleges, universities, K-12 schools, libraries and into the workplace.

National Rehabilitation Association
Not long after Congress passed the National Rehabilitation Act of 1920, the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA) began its commitment to persons with disabilities. As the oldest and strongest advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities, our mission is to provide advocacy, awareness and career advancement for professionals in the fields of rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation Engineering And Assistive Technology Society Of North America (RESNA)
is an interdisciplinary association of people with a common interest in technology and disability. Our purpose is to improve the potential of people with disabilities to achieve their goals through the use of technology. We serve that purpose by promoting research, development, education, advocacy, and the provision of technology and by supporting the people engaged in these activities. RESNA was founded in 1979 as a not-for-profit professional organization. There are currently over 1600 individual and 150 organizational members.<

Tech Connections
Your one-stop resource for information on Assistive Technology (AT) designed to accommodate people with disabilities in the workplace and in everyday life activities.

ABLEDATA
The ABLEDATA database contains information on more than 29,000 assistive technology products (over 19,000 of which are currently available), from white canes to voice output programs.  The database contains detailed descriptions of each product including price and company information.  The database also contains information on non-commercial prototypes, customized and one-of-a-kind products, and do-it-yourself designs.  To select devices most appropriate to your needs, we suggest combining ABLEDATA information with professional advice, product evaluations, and hands-on product trials.

Adaptive Device Locator System
The Adaptive Device Locator System, abbreviated ADLS, is a set of databases that help users obtain information about specialized equipment and devices that can compensate for barriers imposed by limited physical capabilities. Elderly persons, people with disabilities, educators, and helping professionals can use the Locator to identify assistive and adaptive devices that can increase independence, facilitate education, and improve quality of life.

Assistive Technology in Special Education
Assistive Technology Outcomes - MeasureTools
Assistive Technology Training and Information Center
AT Network Assistive Technology
Center for Accessible Technology
Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) home page
Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access
Center for Enabling Tech
CITA Homepage
Closing the Gap - Computer Technology in Special Education and Rehabilitation
Federal IT Accessibility Initiative
IBM Accessibility Center
Knowbility, Inc.
Learning Independence Through Computers
Microsoft Accessibility HOME
STAR Program
The Center for Research in Educational and Adaptive Technology-assisted Environments
The World Wide Web Consortium
Trace Research and Development Center
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Home Page
WGBH-Media Access

Research/Policy/General News and Information

Association of University Centers on Disabilities
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (formerly the American Association of University Affiliated Programs for Persons with Developmental Disabilities) is a 501(c) non-profit organization that promotes and supports the national network of university centers on disabilities, which includes University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD), Leadership Education in Neuro-developmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Programs and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (DDRC).

Institute on Community Integration (ICI)
The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition seeks to increase the capacity of national, state and local agencies and organizations to improve secondary education and transition results for youth with disabilities and their families. The Center is headquartered at the University of Minnesota.

The Institute for Community Inclusion
The Institute for Community Inclusion supports the rights of children and adults with disabilities to participate in all aspects of the community. As practitioners, researchers, and teachers, we form partnerships with individuals, families, and communities. Together we advocate for personal choice, self-determination, and social and economic justice.

TransCen Inc.
TransCen, a name adopted to illustrate its role as a "transition center," is known nationally for its expertise in training and technical assistance, as well as advocacy efforts to improve educational and employment outcomes for all individuals.

Transition Research Institute (TRI)
The Transition Research Institute at the University of Illinois, established in 1985, identifies effective practices, conducts intervention and evaluation research, and provides technical assistance activities that promote the successful transition of youth with disabilities from school to adult life. TRI also serves as an information resource for teachers, service providers and researchers statewide, nationally and internationally.

All Means All School-to-Work
The purpose of this project is to recognize and celebrate the efforts of local school-to-work partners across the country who are committed to doing "whatever it takes" to ensure access to and choice by all learners within their local school-to-work system.

Education Minnesota
10.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black">Education Minnesota was formed to provide a united voice for public education, leadership in education innovation, dedication to Minnesota students and families, and an unwavering commitment to the welfare of its members. Its members guide Minnesota students from their preschool years through their K-12 education, and on through Minnesota's community and technical colleges, and the University of Minnesota at Duluth.

Education Planet
7.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"">Education Planet's experienced educators, programmers and business professionals are committed to delivering powerful, easy to use web-based applications to K-12 teachers. Education Planet also provides teachers, students and parents with convenient access to quality, teacher approved educational resources.

DirectAbility
DirectAbility is the definitive source of information for the disability community in Minnesota. The businesses and organizations listed provide disability-related products, services, resources and information designed with people with disabilities in mind.

WeMedia
NARIC
National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)
Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC)
The Institute on Community Integration (ICI)
Mouth Magazine
Education Development Center, Inc.
Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI)
Disability Resources Monthly (DRM)
VA

Transition Services

The MCIL Transition Services Program assists students with disabilities beginning in high school and continuing until their 22nd birthday. These services are free.
Current services include:

CLASSES TO BUILD SKILLS FOR INDEPENDENCE
Classes at MCIL, with hand-out materials and refreshments, create a transitional link between school experience and community participation. Cooking/Nutrition classes are taught in MCIL's accessible kitchen. Other current class offerings include Employment Preparation, Studying for the MN Driver’s Permit Test, Finding and Keeping a Roommate, Affordable Housing Options, and fun outings designed to build social skills, form friendships and peer support, and explore our community.

MCIL workshops are free of charge.

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN (IEP) ASSISTANCE
MCIL Transition Services assist students and families with the development of Individual Education Plans, understanding the IEP process and integrating independent living skills and personal development into the IEP.

INDIVIDUALIZED INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES
Students benefit from one-on-one skills development. This highly individualized service addresses areas specifically identified by the student and their family, teachers and other support team members.

BUILD YOUR LIFE, MAKE A PLAN!

For more information, please contact:
Erin
651.603.2037
erinh@mcil-mn.org

Transition

The MCIL Transition Services Program assists students with disabilities beginning in high school and continuing until their 22nd birthday. These services are free.

Current services include:

CLASSES TO BUILD SKILLS FOR INDEPENDENCE

Classes at MCIL, with hand-out materials and refreshments, create a transitional link between school experience and community participation. Cooking/Nutrition classes are taught in MCIL's accessible kitchen. Other current class offerings include Employment Preparation, Studying for the MN Driver’s Permit Test, Finding and Keeping a Roommate, Affordable Housing Options, and fun outings designed to build social skills, form friendships and peer support, and explore our community.

MCIL workshops are free of charge.

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN (IEP) ASSISTANCE

MCIL Transition Services assist students and families with the development of Individual Education Plans, understanding the IEP process and integrating independent living skills and personal development into the IEP. 

INDIVIDUALIZED INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES

Students benefit from one-on-one skills development. This highly individualized service addresses areas specifically identified by the student and their family, teachers and other support team members.

BUILD YOUR LIFE, MAKE A PLAN! 

For more information, please contact:

Erin
651.603.2037
erinh@mcil-mn.org

What is Transition

Think about how you want your life to look in a year, or in five years, or in ten years. What kind of picture do you see? What kind of home do you live in? What kind of job or school do you go to? What do you do for fun? Are there friends and family in the picture?

Planning your life is like painting a picture. First you imagine what you want it to look like, and then you start creating it. The first step in creating your future is to make some plans and choices now.

MAKING A PLAN
You should start planning for your life after high school by the time you reach 9th grade or age 14. You will do this by working with adults to include plans for your future in your Individual Education Plan (IEP). The adults who will help you do this are teachers, school counselors, your family, social workers, counselors from the Division of Rehabilitation Services, and other professionals. These people will help you get the right classes and services to meet your needs and goals.

Your teachers will tell you when your planning meetings will happen. Remember, the Individual Education Plan is your plan for your life. So, go to the meetings and tell your planning team what you want and need. Tell them how you want your life to look.

KEEPING A PERSONAL FILE
When you plan your future, it is important to keep written information about your skills, your interests, your needs and anything else that tells about who you are. MCIL can help you make a file of your personal information. This will include copies of your Individual Education Plan, any tests you took to find out what your interests and abilities are, your medical records, letters of recommendation and your resume. This information will then be ready to share with people who can help you get the job, education, housing and other things you want and need.

MAKING CHOICES
Part of creating the life you want is learning to make choices that help you get what you want and need. One choice you will have to make many times is the choice to stand up for yourself and ask for what you need. This is called being assertive. Being assertive means that you tell people what you are thinking and feeling and what you would like to do. You can practice doing this now in school at your planning meetings and with your family. Being assertive does not mean that you always get your own way. It does mean that you speak up for yourself instead of being silent. MCIL can provide you with leadership, self-advocacy and assertiveness training.

MCIL Transition
The MCIL Transition Program assists students and young adults with disabilities, ages 14 through 24, to make a successful transition from high school to post-secondary education, employment and independent community living.

Services include:

  • Information and referral services
  • Guidance and advocacy in developing Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
  • Personal organization skills training
  • Leadership, self-advocacy and assertiveness training

Career planning and employment guidance including training in:

  • resume writing
  • job applications
  • interviewing skills

For additional information, please contact: Taylor: nickw@mcil-mn.org (651) 603-2018 (voice) or (651) 603-2001 (TTY)

530 Robert Street North
St Paul, MN 55101  
Voice: 651-646-8342
Fax: 651-603-2006
Directions 

The Mission of the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living is to assist people with disabilities to fulfill their desire to lead productive self-determined lives.