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FOR STUDENTS AGES 14-21Transition Services

Preparing Students for Life After Graduation

One of the most critical turning points in the lives of young people is the transition from school to adult life. Developing self-sufficiency in daily living skills, exploring recreation and leisure interests, looking at options for post-secondary programming, and pursuing residential options are just some of the challenging topics our comprehensive Transition Services address.

For many parents and caregivers of individuals with special needs, thinking about life after graduation can be full of stress and questions. At The Children’s Institute, we’ve developed specialized programs for transition-age students to create a path towards their greatest possible level of independence early on, which enables students to learn and practice skills that will take them far beyond the classroom and into real-world experiences.

Transition Services (Ages 14-21)


Through comprehensive transition services starting at age 14, students build upon skills that will help them now and for a lifetime. Opportunities expand beyond the walls of our school and into the community – shining a spotlight on how much individuals with different abilities have to offer to the neighborhoods they call home. Transition services include:
  • Community-based instruction
  • Pre-vocational skills training
  • Community partnerships

Our Transition Programs

Community-based instruction is a vital part of our students’ education. It provides real-world learning experiences that help students meet their goals after graduation in the areas of employment, post-secondary education and training, and independent living.

While we provide many unique and engaging opportunities in the classroom and school setting – including a student-run store in our Approved Private School (The Day School) – we have created opportunities to extend learning and skill-building into community settings. From gardening opportunities with our friends at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, to sorting medical supplies at Global Links, to helping with the J Café at AgeWell at the JCC, and more, our students learn to build independence in workplace and volunteer settings.


More than 20 local business in the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas actively support our community-based instruction initiatives.

Are you a local business or organization that would like to get involved as a community partner?

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A program of our Licensed Private Academic School, JobSpan provides coordinated and comprehensive training and assessment opportunities for students typically within three years of graduation, between the ages of 18-21. Students most appropriate for this program include those with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and autism who demonstrate the following skills:
  • Motivation and ability to work/complete tasks over a sustained period (more than 30 minutes)
  • Basic skills such as following directions, making choices, participating in a group, and self-advocating/expressing wants and needs
  • Ability to walk or use manual/power wheelchair
  • Ability and desire to participate in the community
JobSpan objectives include:
  • Career development and workplace preparation
  • Targeted assessments and job/volunteer placements focusing on student preferences, strengths, and potential
  • Increased employment and/or volunteering exposure
  • Targeted skills tracking across in-school and outside-school job/volunteer sites
  • On-going dialogues and information sessions with actual and potential employers
  • Functional English/language arts and math skills related to identified job/volunteer opportunities
  • Recreation and leisure opportunities
  • Community participation and connections
  • Partnership with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
Our Work, Evaluation and Training Center (Work, ETC) is available to all transition-age students at our main campus. This unique instructional space is equipped with advanced technology utilized by our transition-age students. Work, ETC provides a comprehensive assessment that focuses on identifying and building upon student skills, strengths, and readiness to work and participate in meaningful activities in the community. We analyze students’ job readiness and tailor experiences based on their own interests and preferences. The tracking of student progress in a variety of job sample areas includes, but is not limited to:
  • Office and data management
  • Retail and materials management
  • Food service: serving, delivery, hosting
  • Custodial and janitorial
  • Auto detailing
  • Gardening and landscaping
We’re here to help. Our transition teachers also assist families and students with interagency connections, including interfacing with these and other similar groups for additional services:
  • Supports coordinators
  • Post-secondary programs
  • Residential programs
  • Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)

The Path to an Amazing Future

Want to learn more about our amazing transition services and what they can do for your 14-21 year old student? Contact us today. Our friendly team is happy to answer all your questions and get you connected to the right resources.

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Not sure what the next step is? You can always call our Information Center at 412.420.2400 to speak to a team member who can direct you to the support and answers you need.

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