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Chance to Practice Online Job Applications!

Today’s employers are incorporating a new twist in the world of job applications:  Employment Kiosks.

More and moreRiley Guide companies are using self-service kiosks, where prospective applicants fill out the initial job application online.  This is an advantage for the employer because they can sort and screen large numbers of applicants.  This can be a disadvantage for some students who need additional time to read and adjust to touch-screen  technology.

The Riley Guide offers some great tips to share with your students to help them be better prepared for this new  application technique:

  • Allow enough time (20-30 minutes) for this process.  Some employment kiosks will time out if the application is not completed within a specific time frame
  • Bring a copy of their resume along – including the names of  references and addresses – for easy reference

The Riley Guide has developed an on-line job application that your students can use for practice before attempting to complete the real thing.  Go to RILEY GUIDE – JOB SEARCH  and follow these steps:

  • Scroll down to “Sample and Practice Job Applications
  • Click the second bullet:  Online Job Application Form (no data will be saved)

This website is excellent to help prepare students for the new era of electronic  job applications using kiosks.  They are becoming more and more commonplace.  (Check out your Walmart next time you are there!)


Excitement Builds!

The Transition Department at Prairie Lakes AEA is excited for our upcoming Transition Workshop tomorrow!  We have had wonderful response from special education middle school and high school teachers across AEA 8 and we are looking forward to seeing all of you that have registered for this day!


Outstanding Family Conference Opportunity – Saturday, May 4th

The ASK Resource Center is hosting a FREE statewide Family Conference  on Saturday, May 4th in West Des Moines.  We know the end of the school year is packed with lots to do, but this is truly a golden opportunity if you can attend.

Family Conference Banner


  • 8:45 a.m.—9:20 a.m. (Check in & childcare drop off)
  • 9:30 a.m. —4:30 p.m. (Conference)
  • Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel
  • 1800 50th Street
  • West Des Moines, IA 50266

Family Conference Flyer with registration links
FREE Childcare is available on-site at the conference. You must register for childcare by Friday, April 26th.
Parent Stipends, Mileage Stipends, & Hotel Stipends for Iowa Families are available.

  • Box lunch will be provided!
  • Earn a chance to be in a drawing for an IPAD!

Regardless of the age of your child, you will find helpful breakout sessions loaded with relevant national and state-wide disability information on health, education, advocacy, & self determination!

The Conference will feature two keynote speakers:

David Wetherow

David Wetherow is an internationally recognized leader in community living & self-directed supports. David shares his “Star Raft” tools, an inno-vative model of step by step actions and resources to support your family and child in the community.

LeDerick Horne is a poet, disability advocate and entrepreneur who uses his gift for spoken word poetry as a teaching tool. LeDerick has been recognized across the country as a motivational speaker and disability advocate. He currently chairs Project Eye to Eye, a national nonprofit that provides mentoring programs for students with LD/ADHD.

For Questions or registration information, please contact Paula Connolly at 1-800-450-8667 or


Thanks Sean & Karen, and Landmark College!

We have a wonderful training last Wednesday, April 10th, in spite of the winter weather up north!  Sean Roy, from the PACER Center, and Karen Thompson, from the ASK Resource Center offered a wealth of information to help us think outside the box when it comes to work opportunities for our students.  It was great to work in groups and to have time to brainstorm.

Sean shared an excellent resource from Landmark College for parents and students, that has a simple checklist to see if students are prepared for the challenges of college level work.  The guide is called “Guide to Assessing College Readiness:  for Parents of College-Bound Children with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD.”  It breaks the questions down into five categories with five questions each:  Academic Skills, Self-Understanding, Self-Advocacy, Executive Function, and Motivation and Confidence.

To give you a taste, the five questions in the Academic Skills category are:

1. Can you read up to 200 pages in a week?
2. Do you have a system for taking notes?
3. Can you write a paper of 10 or more organized pages that refers to two or more sources?
4. Do you have a system for preparing for tests and exams?
5. Can you clearly summarize a college-level reading assignment?

This resource is a great way to open up a conversation with your child/student.  Check it out, and use it whenever you need it.  And thanks to Landmark College for developing such a great tool!


Salute to American Farmers….tying it to transition!

Tonight during the country music awards one of the commercials that was aired was a salute to American Farmers with Paul Harvey’s voice delivering the message.  It was a powerful commercial….as the granddaughter, daughter, and sister, and wife of a farmer I was very pleased to see the salute….it’s much deserved!  It also made me immediately think about the connection between  farming and transition.  Now the fact that I was sitting with my computer doing work related things while watching the commercial may have helped me make the connection to transition planning but I did!  So here’s the connections I would like to share with you!

Successful farming begins with hard work….so does good transition planning, farming is a step by step process… is transition planning, farming is a gamble…….so is transition planning  (we so often have to step outside our comfort zones and be creative-we don’t always know what will work and when, but we keep trying-we gamble!),  farming is bigger than one person….so is transition planning-it takes a whole team.   Farming is built on trust, trust it will rain, that the sun will shine, that a harvest can be brought in, that produce can be sold for a fair market price, that the whole cycle will repeat itself…. good transition planning is also based on trust.  Students trust us to help open the doors to the future, to help them expand their horizons, to help them look at the future and their living, learning, and working goals.  Are you starting to see the same connections I did?  Here’s a couple more…..farming is not a whimsical, let’s try it for  a day occupation….it’s a way of life.  Good transition planning is also not a one time, let’s talk about it at the IEP meeting and that’s enough planning thing!  One of the old sayings that is tied to farming is that “you harvest what is sown” meaning that unless you start with a good base-the seeds, the hard work, the right growing environment, you won’t get a good harvest….farmers work hard to make sure that the seeds that they plant produce well.  We in education can do nothing less….and the transition planning we do deserves no less effort then farmers give to their crops…..and actually much more….because our work is creating successful adults……is there a greater harvest?


Printing our resources – – let the learning continue! :-)

Whoever said, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” certainly is wrong, and my experience with our new blog is constant proof of this!

My new learning for this week was when an AEA co-worker said that she could not print any of the resources we had told her were on our great new sight.   Being the visual learner that I am, I had her show me the steps she was taking…. which then made me wonder if anyone else out there has also had this problem?  So here goes with the explanation!

When you go to the tabs (Teacher, Student, Parent, Resources, etc) and choose a link to open, there will be a short description/explanation of the resource that is waiting for you up “in the cloud!”  (Still can’t wrap my head around that nebulous concept!!)

If you want to see the attachment that is described, you need to CLICK on the  title/wording that is in bold blue letters, and the document will then open, and you can print it if you would like.

My AEA co-worker was going to the BOTTOM of the post, where there are options to link/share the post on either Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, or Print.   She was trying the print the document from there (which could seem logical) but was only getting the blog page to print, since that is the function of this print button.

So, please know the resources really are there and waiting for you to view &/or print, but you must CLICK on the bold, blue letters to open it first.  Happy clicking!!