Practical Perspective: Pre-Employment Transition Services, Self-Advocacy


In each of this year’s Attainment blogs, I have been talking about the implementation of the WIOA Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS). The five required activities are listed in our first blog.  For additional information about WIOA or Pre-ETS, visit the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center website:


The fifth Pre-ETS focuses on self-advocacy and peer mentoring.  This emphasis is on the person’s ability to assert his or her own interests, needs, and wishes, and the ability to communicate them to others. Self-determination involves the freedom to plan their own lives, experience life in their communities, and live a life with people, activities, and dreams that are  important to them. It also involves taking responsibility to talk to others about what they want and advocate for themselves.

Self-Advocacy Skills Include:

    • Self-Awareness
    • Assertiveness
    • The Ability to Set Goals
    • Monitoring Own Progress
    • Making Decisions
    • Leadership Skills
    • Positive Self-Talk
    • Understanding Their Disability
    • Learning How to Disclose Their Disability
    • Asking for Needed Accommodations


    For those who can help support self-determination, we must hold the belief that all individuals with disabilities have a voice, no matter their disability, and have the right to direct their own lives. An important part of this fifth Pre-ETS is for students to learn how to direct their individualized education program (IEP) meetings, and as adults, are able to express their desires in the person-centered planning process.

    Learning about job accommodations can provide the employer with needed information for the person to do their job as effectively and efficiently as possible.  A helpful resource is the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) found on .

    Another aspect of the fifth Pre-ETS is mentorship, which can be of different designs. Peer mentoring is an excellent way to gain support from other students who have similar interests and experiences. Peer mentors can be a valuable way to connect past alumni from the class with your current students receiving Pre-ETS training.  Group mentoring is another way to train students to be mentors, especially for students in the earlier grades.  E-mentoring can be a convenient way to integrate community members into the student's education: Project SEARCH provides business e-mentors for every student.  This provides a rich experience for both the student and the business community member, as they talk about the student’s field of interest and life skills in general.

    Attainment Company has developed a curriculum that covers all the skills above as part of  our Pre-Employment Transition Solution. Detailed lesson plans, PowerPoints, vocabulary, leveled activities, access to 13 additional Attainment Company products to support each lesson, and collaborative and professional development resources are incorporated into the curriculum.


    Example Lesson Plan:

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Students will learn the steps to take a leadership role in their IEP.
    2. Student will learn to recognize their accommodation needs.
    3. Students will be able to summarize their goals resulting from a student-led IEP meeting.


  • Instructor Reminders:
    • Review the previous lesson on the components of an IEP.
    • Students will have discussed transition and educational goals with the teacher and family members prior to the IEP meeting.
    • The next step is to create a plan to lead their own IEP meeting.
    • Research has clearly shown that students who participate in a leadership role in their IEP meetings are more invested and committed to established goals.


    Instructor Script: Each of you has already attended or will be attending your IEP meeting; where everyone at the meeting talks about your educational and transition goals. We spent time in our earlier lessons on what is included in an IEP and what help you need to be successful in school.  We spent time talking about the importance of understanding your disability and how to write goals for both school and work. Now we will be talking about taking responsibility to lead your IEP meeting.

    1. Project the PowerPoint, “Leading your IEP,” included within the Pre-Employment Transition Solution. Another resource can be found on this website to develop a sample plan:
    2. Explain the role of each person attending the IEP, including the student’s role.
    3. Review the following vocabulary:
      1. Self-determination, self-advocacy, disability, strengths, challenges, accommodations, goals, leadership, peer mentoring, progress, disability disclosure, problem solving, and e-mentoring
    4. Have students review YouTube videos on student-directed IEPs. These videos provide a learning format for students to hear from other students as they self-direct their IEPs.
    5. Share the importance of discussing transition goals in the IEP for living and working in their communities.
    6. Support each student to create a plan for their IEP meeting. Use this website to help create their IEP planning meeting:
    7. Use role playing to help the student feel more comfortable leading a meeting with adults from school and home.
    8. After the IEP meeting, ask the student to summarize their IEP goals from notes they or someone at the meeting took to help bring it to life.


    Supplemental Activity Ideas:

    • Prior to the IEP meeting, ask students to talk to their family members about attending their IEP meeting and what they would like to share at the meeting.
    • After the IEP meeting, send a list of questions home with the student so that they may ask the family member who attended the meeting to determine what they heard and what the student heard to match up the established goals.


    Attainment Products Referenced in This Lesson:


For more information on our Pre-Employment Transition Solution, visit our website at  

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