OUR PURPOSE, APPROACH and PHILOSOPHY
The purpose of transition assessment - or the process of assessing a student's aptitudes and present levels of performance through a variety of formal and informal measures - is to obtain information across multiple domains about a student’s ability to engage fully and find success in their lives after high school. A carefully curated assessment battery helps to uncover information about the student’s interests, preferences, values, strengths and needs. Transition evaluations - or the written summary of findings and recommendations - cover areas that are not commonly explored in an in-depth manner through academic or cognitive testing. Transition evaluations are helpful tools for parents, students, school teams and transition programs as they inform curriculum decisions and IEP goals and objectives related to the student’s post-secondary goals. Additionally, they can help to make decisions about high school course selection, as well as in assisting families in identifying the need for post-graduation resources and ongoing support. They are an invaluable resource to educational consultants and school counselors in guiding families through the process of identifying and selecting appropriate post-secondary settings.
Our approach to transition assessment is through a collaborative process that is informed by the unique combination of our collective expertise. Amanda brings an occupational therapist’s perspective in examining students’ current and projected occupational needs within their present and anticipated contexts and environment. She is skilled at assessing each student’s ability to participate in activities of daily living while recognizing environmental conditions and demands; and she is knowledgeable about environmental adaptations that can provide opportunities to participate in meaningful post-secondary activities in their home, school, work and community. Stephanie lends her extensive experience with guiding and supporting students and their families through the post-secondary transition process. She is knowledgeable about the challenges and barriers to successful transition in a variety of post-secondary settings, and is intimately familiar with numerous and varied schools and programs that can support students with a variety of needs. Together, they have a keen awareness of the skills students need to develop in order to become active, successful and engaged members of their living, working and educational communities.
We evaluate each student’s strengths, preferences and interests while identifying areas of need in a variety of domains including vocational/occupational interests and aptitudes, social skills, post-secondary education, financial, self-determination, community participation, learning style, life skills and independent living and adaptive behavior. We start the process by performing a full document review and interviewing the parents and the student. Through this process, an individualized battery of assessments will be selected based on what we learn about the student and the information we wish to glean about them. We then summarize our findings in a transition evaluation that discusses the pertinent history of the student, a summary of the interviews, a description of performance and findings of each assessment, and recommendations for identifying and implementing transition related goals and additional services. Finally, we will collaborate with schools and other practitioners with whom the student works to ensure that the student’s needs are met across disciplines.
Our mission is to assess each student’s present levels of performance across a variety of domains in order to provide meaningful information to assist in post-secondary planning. We foster positive outcomes by developing an in-depth understanding of our student’s learning, social and occupational profiles, and helping students identify their strengths, preferences, interests and needs in order to set goals that will help them reach their full potential.
Stephanie Mitchell is an Independent Educational Consultant and owner of Grapevine Educational Consulting. Her specialty lies in aiding students with learning differences in finding appropriate post-secondary options through a comprehensive and individualized process. Her focus is to identify and address each student’s individual strengths, needs and preferences while supporting families in selecting appropriate post-secondary academic settings. Through aligning strengths, interests and needs with environment, building awareness, and formulating an in-depth understanding of their learning profile, she aids students in finding continued success after high school in a setting that fits their needs.
Stephanie holds a Bachelor’s in Art History from St. Olaf College and a Master’s in Italian Renaissance Art History from Syracuse University. After early experiences in general education, and working in other industries, she decided to return to her calling in education. She worked for 15 years as a decoding and 1-1 remediation teacher at Winston Preparatory School in New York and Connecticut. Notably, she was a proud member of the Leadership Team that started Winston’s Connecticut campus. In addition to teaching, she served as the Director of College Placement and Transition Planning at Winston for over 10 years. During her tenure, she successfully placed students in colleges, as well as comprehensive support, transition, and gap year programs. Equally important to her professional experience, Stephanie is the proud mother of two boys who have learning, hearing and attention deficits. She is passionate about applying her knowledge and personal experience to help parents and students who are embarking on their journey through the post-secondary transition process.
Amanda Zecchin, M.S.,OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist and owner of A to Z Occupational Therapy. She has twenty years of experience supporting people with various disabilities in reaching their own goals and maximizing their potential. She began her career in a Vocational Rehabilitation setting, supporting young adults in their transition from supportive school environments to independent gainful employment. After witnessing the profound impact of skills mastery and community participation in the lives of the individuals, she sought and obtained a degree in Occupational Therapy.
Occupational therapy (OT) is a client-centered service that improves performance in functional activities and social participation through the use of occupation based activities. Engaging in an “occupation” is the process of doing something purposeful and meaningful in one’s everyday life. A child’s primary occupations include playing, learning at home and in school, and gaining independent self-help skills. An adult’s primary occupations vary, but typically include socializing, participating in some form of work or valued hobby, self care or basic activities of daily living (ADLs), and instrumental acts of daily living (IADLs) which include working shopping, navigating community transportation and home management. As people transition through various phases of life, new skills are required, old roles may change, and a decline in function may result.
In 2016, after her own child’s diagnosis, she founded A to Z Occupational Therapy. Her holistic, family centered focus helps her clients generalize new skills while enhancing their participation and quality of life within their natural environment. Her background and experience working with children, young adults, and disabled and aging adults gives her a unique perspective on how best to support successful transitions. Follow this LINK to visit Amanda's website.