by Susan Mackey and Rose Ann Schwartz

100 Activities for Transition, by Molly Lyle, 2000, Columbia, MO: Hawthorne Educational Services, Inc.

The progression from childhood to adulthood is often a challenge.   The learning of independent behaviors and self sufficiency can take much time and a strong dedication to the improvement of oneself. For individuals with learning differences, becoming an adult may take longer than usual because of their stronger dependence on other people and resources for assistance. In 100 Activities for Transition, Molly Lyle provides a set of useful guidelines by which individuals with learning differences can gain insight and experience into the most beneficial ways to manage an adult life.

Lyle outlines five major goals that individuals must reach in order to achieve a successful transition. These include communication and problem solving, daily living skills, securing and keeping a job, career awareness, and self-determination. In addition, Lyle provides a list of 13 Necessary Skills for All Learners, presenting clearly the objectives of the activities.    Some of these necessary skills include:   communicating and understanding ideas or information; identifying and solving problems; and interacting with others and participating in teamwork, for which the author provides many helpful suggestions, such as being tactful.   The Problem Solving portion contains multiple questions and hypothetical situations designed to encourage quick and thoughtful reactions to problems and ways to resolve them successfully, for instance, resolving differences in lifestyles. The Daily Living section considers basic living needs, including household chores, money management, and addressing conflicts with roommates.

The final three sections provide the most essential tools that a disabled person needs in order to make the final transition to independent adulthood. Students learn how to search, apply for, and acquire employment, and, just as important, how to maintain it.   Activities include resume writing, mock interviews, and professional behaviors for optimum performance in the workplace.   Included in this section are activities that address 20 different objectives such as developing independent work habits, how to locate job advertisements and determine the skills necessary for particular jobs, how to take messages, and practice in taking verbal directions.   Students will appreciate the importance of timeliness, accuracy, commitment, and a professional demeanor in order to inspire confidence and the most favorable impression in their respective employers.  

The lessons on Career Awareness help students to recognize both their strong and weak points, and ways to use these to their advantage in finding employment.   They will explore various post-secondary endeavors in education and the workforce, and determine their ultimate goals.   They will then devise a plan of action for achieving their goals, including the educational and career development needed, incorporating such necessities as creating business cards, networking and similar activities.

Finally, the Self-Determination section encourages students to become proactive in managing their learning differences by securing appropriate support until they can take control of their needs unassisted. Among other things, students will become organized, learn their rights as a disabled person, be in contact with their school's disability support staff,   effectively communicate their needs, and put all the previously learned lessons into effect for success beyond the high school level.

The book concludes with a Job-Shadowing Unit, which inspires students to explore certain professions and see for themselves what people in these positions are expected to do.   This section includes activities to do before job-shadowing such as learning work-related safety signs, practicing telephone and interviewing skills, and touring facilities that are like the ones students might job-shadow.   This section also provides a list of activities to do between job-shadowing experiences such as comparing other jobs within a field and listing particular training requirements, equipment, clothing or tools they may need for that job.   Such an experience can prove invaluable to any student, as he/she can gain hands-on experience in several different fields and determine his/her interests in terms of a career, as well as receiving expert advice from current employees. Activities include applying for a job-shadowing opportunity and interviewing employers for more information concerning potential career paths.

Overall, students will learn the keys to success and can master them in spite of their learning differences to become effective and productive members of society.   100 Activities for Transition teaches the responsibility and inspires the confidence that such students require to succeed independently as adults.