Special needs fair is next Saturday

SUWANEE -- The transition from K-12 to adulthood is a very critical time for young people.

That's why leaders, teachers and advocates from Gwinnett County Public Schools have invited the public to attend a March 17 event aimed at helping special needs students on their way out of high school and into the real world.

The GCPS Transition Fair, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 17 at Peachtree Ridge High School, is designed for families and community members seeking information to prepare students with special needs for post-school activities and employment.

Tamra King, a special education coach, said it's "vital that students and parents know what the next steps are."

Educators like King participate in the event along with representatives from professional agencies and higher education organizations.

King said some of the agencies and organizations will often work with special needs students "from the time they are 20 until the time they are 60 or 70 years old."

For special needs teachers, King said, the event is equally important. "Our teachers must know what's available at the post-secondary schools and other organizations so they can make sure they are teaching all of the skills up to that point...it helps to make the transition a seamless one."

Special Education Coordinator Keysha Robinson said the annual Transition Fair has grown a lot since it started six years ago. "Last year, we had nearly 500 participants," Robinson said. "We think it's very beneficial for students with disabilities and parents to come and hear what's available."

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., participants will have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with representatives from various agencies and organizations.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the school district has organized several breakout sessions where participants can learn more about topics like Medicaid waivers, social security benefits, estate planning and guardianship, department of labor vocational rehabilitation services, assistive technology and vocational and community programs after high school.

More than 50 agencies will be at the fair.

Peachtree Ridge is located at 1555 Old Peachtree Road NW, Suwanee.

For more information, visit www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us.