WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – The transition from high school to beyond can be challenging for any student. For students with disabilities, which can include dyslexia to language processing disorders, to dysgraphia, this step can feel overwhelming without the proper support and resources. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, around 33 percent of all students identify as having a disability that adversely affects their performance in the classroom, and constitutes more than seven million students. Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12 and partners will host a Transition Fair for students (8th through 12th grades) with disabilities from 6 to 8 p.m, Sept 20.

Without support, access to resources and guidance on advocating for oneself, it can be challenging to navigate a world that may feel inaccessible for students with a disability, be it a physical, intellectual or learning disability. The Transition Fair’s theme is “Let your Light Shine” as it aims to bridge the gap between high school and life after school for students of all abilities to ease the apprehension of students and their families.

Participants will learn about community resources to support their transition, career and college opportunities, training opportunities, options for independent living, guardianship and alternatives, and how to apply for certain benefits.

“We’re looking at trying to elevate their experiences for education, training, employment and independent living skills. And so this could be the difference between major gaps like employment. It could also be the difference in just the quality of their employment and the quality of their life,” says Monica Johnson, education specialist for ESC Region 12.

The free event will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 20 at 2101 W Loop 340 in Waco. Participants are encouraged to pre-register at bit.ly/TransitionFair2022.

Any student is welcome, whether they attend public, private, or homeschooled.

The event will include several partners, including Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network, which provides accessible, caring and responsive support services to individuals and families coping with mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities, developmental delays, and emotional conflict. Additional partners include Texas Parent to Parent, Texas Workforce Commission, Communities in Schools, Heart of Central Texas Independent Living Center (HOCTIL), and Texas Able, all dedicated to the prosperity of Texas students with disabilities and their families.

Agencies on-site during the event are as follows:

  • ARC of McLennan County
  • Baylor Accommodations
  • BCBSTX, STAR Kids
  • Burgett Law Firm, PLLC Estate Planning Law Firm
  • Communities In Schools
  • Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas – Workforce Program
  • Focus Behavioral Associates
  • Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network
  • HOCTIL
  • Oceans Behavioral Hospital
  • Sandy Hardy-Smith, Imagine Enterprises
  • Superior Health Plan
  • Texas Able
  • Texas Parent to Parent
  • Texas STAR Plus
  • Texas Workforce Solutions
  • Texas Workforce Solutions – Vocation Rehabilitation Services
  • United Health Care Dental Services
  • Waco Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities