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Diverse Thinking Different Learning

Mar 21, 2023

What is a transition assessment, and how do you know if your child needs one? If they do, when do they need it and what does it look like? There are a lot of questions about transition assessments and today we have the perfect guest to answer them all.

Today, we welcome back Dr. Gwennyth Palafox (Dr. Gwen) to the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast. Dr. Gwen is a clinical psychologist and a fierce ally of neurodiverse and disabled individuals and has supported their wonderful families and support systems for over 25 years. She’s laser-focused (and borderline obsessed) about empowering through reliable knowledge, creativity, and skill-building. She loves curating and collecting tools, sharing mindsets, and promoting habits to help the neurodiverse community thrive and find joy and meaning in their lives.

Listen on to learn about what transition assessments entail, why they are important, and why you want to start transition planning early on.


Show Notes:

[3:01] - The idea of transition is change. Change is not something that is abrupt, especially when it comes to development.

[4:04] - Ideally, transition planning should happen when high school begins.

[6:10] - “What does it take to live as an autonomous, fully independent adult?”

[7:29] - For students with an IEP, they need an ITP. Dr. Gwen explains what that is and how many students don’t know about it.

[9:07] - This assessment must include more than where your child is academically.

[10:03] - Dr. Gwen shares the most important skills for transition.

[12:52] - When these skills are solid or at least emergent and we are focusing on the process of living in this world as an adult, we get postsecondary results.

[14:58] - Skills are only built by experience.

[17:31] - High school should be preparing students for adult life.

[19:28] - Transition assessments and psycho-educational diagnostics are very different.

[21:01] - Learning, living, and working are the three components of a transition assessment.

[24:03] - Where we lose sight of the data is when we don’t paint a qualitative picture of where the person is today.

[27:17] - Good transition assessments connect to activities and community resources with the goal in mind of what comes next after high school.

[28:49] - The student needs to be involved in this process.

[31:01] - We need to presume competence when communicating to the student.

[33:01] - Dr. Gwen always includes something in the transition assessment recommendations that parents and teachers can begin doing immediately.

[35:22] - Assessment results can be overwhelming to families and having a transition plan early ensures that there’s enough time for support.


About Our Guest:

Dr. Gwen is a licensed psychologist who has been actively changing the lives of individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities for over two decades. She is laser-focused on promoting the happiness and wellbeing of disabled teens and adults and is a fierce ally of disabled individuals and their families. Dr. Gwen has shared her expertise in local and global workshops, at a TEDx event, as an expert witness, and in collaboration with other engaged and radically awesome professionals. Her clients are wonderfully complex, unique, and awesome. She says that out-of-the-box thinking, creativity, grit, and compassion are some of the best tools that she has.


Connect with Dr. Gwen:


Links and Related Resources:

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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.