I was doing research for my schoolwork when I found the current e-mail address and LinkedIn contact information of an old associate. Now, she is in a position of influence in the State of Wisconsin. I sent her a message, reminding her how I knew her, updating her about my experiences since we last met, and asking for her assistance. I was somewhat surprised when she replied almost immediate. We quickly struck up a correspondence about what’s going on here.
She told me she couldn’t help directly, but said, “I would start by filling out a DVR application once he is 15 or 16, and work directly with them if your school district is giving you problems. Also, contact the Transition Improvement Grant (TIG) coordinators directly for support. They work on a DPI grant, but are there to help school district improve around transition services. Everyone knows sheltered workshops are an outdated, bad practice and that today’s youth who have been included in school both expect and deserve more.”
Now, I have a set of tasks which I will use to open some backdoors that will, in turn, redirect Alex’s transition planning into a more productive, integrated direction. Sometimes the key isn’t knowing what to do, but knowing who to ask to find out what to do. As difficult as networking is for some of us and as difficult as it can be for others to ask for help, sometimes networking will be the difference between success and failure. And, when you’re talking about your child’s future, that difference is really the only thing that matters.