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Teen Blog

News from IMAGE Teen and Young Adult Programs

Highlights

A Month of Appreciation

Life in a pandemic has not been easy for anyone, but the month of May is giving us many opportunities to reach deep and find the appreciation and the thanks that keeps us moving forward in a positive direction. This month has reminded us to celebrate the many people who aide us, who help us grow and encourage our personal development. Throughout this month we have celebrated weeks dedicated to the celebration of our nurses and our teachers. Most recently we took the day to celebrate our mothers and the women in our lives who inspire us and encourage our development on the most personal of levels. At IMAGE we welcome the opportunity to show our appreciation to the mothers, the professionals, the amazing people who provide support in our day to day lives. We hope that you will take some time this month to show your appreciation to those who have dedicated their lives to service if you have not yet already. From all of us at The IMAGE Center, from our students and staff, we say THANK YOU!

"thank you" with circle shapes

Peer Mentor Spotlight

Accepting Applications for Summer Peer Mentors!

  • Do you like helping others?
  • Do you like being creative?
  • Does leading group activities sound fun to you?
  • Have you attended at least one IMAGE Connect program for teens and young adults with successful participation?
  • Are you ready to step into a leadership role?

If you answered yes to all of these questions you may be ready to apply to become a Peer Mentor!

We are presently accepting applications for summer peer mentors for our twice monthly in-person Connect Program summer session on Tuesday evenings! More details to come.

If you would like to be considered for a role in peer mentorship this summer click here to apply.

Upcoming Events

The Connect Program
Remaining Spring Sessions (Virtual) June 1st & 15th

The Connect Program is a program that empowers teens and young adults with disabilities to step outside of their comfort zone, make connections with their community, build social experiences and recognize and achieve skills needed for increased independence in adulthood.

These skills include money management, time management, social and communication skills, personal hygiene, meal planning and decision making skills just to name a few.


Coming soon: in-person summer session! Spaces will be limited!

Contact jleone@imagemd.org learn more. Register here

PreETS Self Awareness and Self Advocacy Training Program

Monday and Wednesday sessions available. Email jleone@imagemd.org for additional registration information.

The Self Awareness & Self Advocacy Training program through DORS is a five week program utilizing curriculum designed to empower teens with disabilities to explore areas of self awareness and promote the importance of self advocacy to enhance the overall independence and vocational opportunity of each student. During this program students will work with professional staff from The IMAGE Center to begin to engage in curriculum addressing Self Awareness & Advocacy, Disclosing Disability, Rights, Future Outlook, Transition Outlook and Utilizing Resources.

Contact jleone@imagemd.org learn more.

Support Youth Programs at The IMAGE Center

We need your support! IMAGE Connect is a program that empowers teens and young adults with disabilities to step outside of their comfort zone, make connections with their community, build social experiences and recognize and achieve skills needed for increased independence in adulthood.

Now more than ever, your support can make a difference!

DONATE NOW

The IMAGE Center is a 501 (c)(3) organization – donations to which are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. A copy of our current financial statement is available upon request by calling our office at 410-982-6311.

Connect with The IMAGE Center

Call 410-982-6311

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Teen Blog

May: Student of the Month Clark Bayer

PreETS Self Awareness and Self Advocacy Training with The IMAGE Center

Clark Bayer was one of our first students to take on our PreETS training program at IMAGE when the program went virtual due to COVID.

Clark is a highly intelligent young man and was always a joy to have in class. It is unique and uplifting to work with a student as motivated and as passionate as he is.

Clark has clear goals for himself and a plan as to how he will achieve those goals. Clark has an interest in engineering projects, which became a great way to showcase his strengths throughout his PreETS training sessions.

Clark also has quite a bit of volunteer and on the job experience, which helped make the PreETS training sessions relatable and realistic for him.

When asked what he learned during the training, Clark stated, “I’ve learned about the laws. I thought the laws were interesting, and how recent they are. It makes you think about history. People with disabilities can live the same as anyone else. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely better than it used to be.”

We hope to see Clark in the future participating in other programs at IMAGE where he can volunteer and share his skills in a mentorship role. 

Program Support Specialist Amanda Taylor said “It was wonderful to get to know him as an individual and recognize his potential, which is abundant! We look forward to seeing the wonderful things he will accomplish in his life”! 

Learning about how to speak up for yourself and the laws behind disability services is very useful and rather interesting. Often we interact with these services without learning specifically what laws back them, so to learn about the laws in specific shows which ones you can use to help you.

~Clark Bayer, PreETS Student
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Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Series: Life After IEPs series, May 2021

Changes in Rights to Accommodations and Modifications

The fourth in a four-part series: Life After IEPs Series.

Once high school ends, so do IEPs, this month, the Free Bridges Helpdesk Transition Tip Tuesdays explores post-secondary, IEP-free life. Topics discussed include:

Part 1: When Do Things Change, and Why?

Part 2: Changes in Rights to Instructional Services

Part 3: Changes in Rights to Accessible Equipment

Part 4: Changes in Rights to Accommodations and Modifications

In this fourth installment of the series, we delve into how students’ rights to accessible equipment change when they are no longer eligible for IEPs.

Rights to accommodations and modifications under IEPs

As an initial matter, it’s helpful to distinguish between accommodations and modifications:

  • Accommodations = providing access to the program/curriculum
  • Modifications = change in the program/curriculum itself

Schools must provide any necessary accommodations AND modifications for disabled students to receive FAPE (free appropriate public education). This means that the school must modify the curriculum or other aspects of their program, even if that modification fundamentally changes the nature of the program. Additionally, this means that the cost of a needed accommodation or a modification does not matter; if the accommodation or modification is needed for the student to receive FAPE, the school is legally required to provide it.

Rights to accommodations and modifications under Section 504 and the ADA

As noted in earlier posts, the protections of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) required the individual with a disability to provide proof of the disability and to affirmatively request disability-related accommodations.

Notably, while Section 504 and the ADA permit reasonable accommodations, both laws require that the accommodation does not constitute a “fundamental alteration” of the program or service. In other words, reasonable accommodations are required; modifications are not.

Moreover, accommodations under Section 504 and the ADA must be “reasonable.” Reasonableness depends on several factors, and cost is one of these factors. Another factor is whether the reasonable accommodation will be an “undue hardship” to the entity to which the request is made (this typically refers to cost and difficulty in light of the resources of the entity). Thus, a requested accommodation might be reasonable for a successful chain of restaurants but might be unreasonable for a small, local restaurant (though a different, lower cost accommodation might be reasonable for that local restaurant). 

What does this mean?

Individuals with disabilities are not entitled to modifications after they leave high school. Additionally, while reasonable accommodations are required, under Section 504 and the ADA, the school, employer, business, governmental agency, etc. does not have to provide the reasonable accommodation you request if doing so would cause an undue hardship.

**Please note that other laws, including Section 508, state laws, and local ordinances may provide additional rights that may not be available under Section 504 and the ADA. This Transition Tip does not address those other avenues of protection.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Series: Life After IEPs series, May 2021

Changes in Rights to Accessible Equipment

The third in a four-part series: Life After IEPs Series.

Once high school ends, so do IEPs, this month, the Free Bridges Helpdesk Transition Tip Tuesdays explores post-secondary, IEP-free life. Topics discussed include:

Part 1: When Do Things Change, and Why?

Part 2: Changes in Rights to Instructional Services

Part 3: Changes in Rights to Accessible Equipment

Part 4: Changes in Rights to Accommodations and Modifications

In this third installment of the series, we delve into how students’ rights to accessible equipment change when they are no longer eligible for IEPs.

Rights to accessible equipment under IEPs

Under federal law, schools are required to provide students with IEPs accessible assistive technology (AT) when those tools are needed for the student to receive FAPE (free appropriate public education). Additionally, the law requires that student be allowed to use these tools at home, in the community, and over school breaks—again, if needed for the student to receive FAPE. It’s important to note that the school must provide the accessible AT to the student even of other students aren’t provided similar devices. For example, the school must typically provide a manual braille writer if a blind/low vision student needs it to do school work even though the school does not provide paper and pencils for nondisabled students to do the same schoolwork.

Rights to accessible equipment under Section 504 and the ADA

As discussed before, individuals with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While there are some other laws (like building codes and state or local statutes) that require reasonable accommodations without a request for them, individuals with disabilities should be prepared to make requests for reasonable accommodations and to provide proof of their disability/disabilities.

In post-secondary life (at a school, in a job, and in the community), individuals with disabilities have the right to accessibility, but they do not necessarily have the right to accessible assistive technology tools. For example, most buildings are required to have ramps for wheelchair users, but they are not required to provide the wheelchair.

However, to the extent that the school employer, or community agency provides tools to nondisabled users, they may be required to provide accessible assistive technology to allow individuals with disabilities the opportunity to access whatever services nondisabled people access through technology. For example, a college might use inaccessible beakers and scales and thermometers in a science lab, so that college would need to provide a blind/low vision student similar access to experiments in the science lab through the use of accessible scientific equipment.

What does this mean?

After you leave, your high school has the right to request that you return any accessible AT paid for by the school—and they almost always make this request. In general, disabled individuals are not entitled to demand accessible AT devices (such as laptops and refreshable braille displays) under Section 504 or the ADA (exceptions noted above). There are alternative resources for accessible assistive technology, so please reach out to the Free Bridges Helpdesk for help or more information.

Next week, we’ll explore how rights to accommodations and modifications change under Section 504 and the ADA.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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Blog Live Chat

I AM: May 10

Maryland Apprenticeship Programs: Earn while you learn!

Jane Sinclair, Apprenticeship Navigator for the Maryland Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship and Training Program will give a presentation about Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in the State of Maryland.

The presentation will provide a brief background about how registered apprenticeships work and why Earn while you Learn opportunities through apprenticeship are a great way to start a career. We will also briefly discuss how to research apprenticeship opportunities and how to apply for positions, followed with time for questions.

Registered Apprenticeship in Maryland PDF

Check out the recent article in Forbes by Dr. Judy Stone on this issue!

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