The Arc’s Independent Living Skills for Students with Disabilities Legislation ran into some opposition in the Illinois House of Representatives. The opposition claims that this bill is an unfunded mandate above IDEA, it takes away the authority of the IEP team and other objections!By the way, Rep Ron Sandack is our lead sponsor for SB 1550. He recognizes the importance of this bill and is doing a great job for us!
We need your help with your House members. Please connect with them and ask them to support Senate Bill 1550 when it comes up for a vote in the House of Representatives next week.
Independent Living Skills for Students with Disabilities
Senate Bill 1550 amends the Children with Disabilities Article of the School Code by changing a section concerning IEP transition plans and services developed for students with disabilities starting when they reach age 14 ½.
Currently, school districts’ IEP teams are required to develop IEP transition plans with measurable individualized post-secondary goals related to training, education and employment, but are only required to include independent living skills goals “where appropriate”.
SB 1550 would remove the words “where appropriate” so that independent living skills goals would be a required component of every IEP transition plan.
Why is this change critically important for students with disabilities?
· All students with disabilities need to develop independent living skills regardless of the nature or severity of their disabilities.
· Independent living goals are at least as important as education, training and employment goals, which are mandated by law.
· Students, parents, communities and the State all benefit when a student is better prepared to live as independently as possible because after high school the student’s need to rely on support from family, community and the State, while perhaps not totally eliminated, is likely to be reduced.
· The State of Illinois, with a current PUNS waiting list of over 20,000 individuals and no long or short term plan to eliminate that waiting list, needs to rely more on the educational system to assist students with independent living skills development before they exit high school.
· Independent Living Skills goals can include feeding, toileting, homemaking skills, personal financial skills, community living, leisure skills, social emotional learning and other areas of need.
Independent Living Skills as part of Transition Plans for Students with Disabilities Should NOT be left to the discretion of the IEP team. They should be required for all students.
Please support SB 1550.
For further information, please contact Tony Paulauski at 815-464-1832, Phil Milsk at 217-899-1566 or Susy Woods at 217-638-8411.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423