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Monday, January 13, 2014

At NESCA: Individualized Community-Based Transition Assessment (ICBTA)


By Kelley Challen, Ed.M, CAS
NESCA Director of Transition Services

January 11, 2014

What is it, and why?

The ICBTA is a person-centered and highly individualized community based assessment developed to address questions regarding transition readiness. In response to the student's articulated vision, this assessment includes observation in the environment(s) in which they anticipate pursuing their post-secondary goals.

There are many reasons to utilize the ICBTA including:
  • Transition planning requires consideration of a student's ability to access their community and pursue vocational/educational opportunities outside of their family home and their school.
  • Results of the ICBTA help to set goals, identify services needed, determine course of study, determine community-based, extra-curricular and summer activities, establish baseline performance, and refine a personal vision.
  • It can be conducted as a stand-alone assessment or as part of a comprehensive assessment (transition or neuropsychological).
  • The ICBTA assesses abilities such as social communication, navigation, executive functioning, self-advocacy, self-determination, problem solving, stamina, and use of technology in real-world environments.
  • Assessments can be located in a wide range of settings; each one is unique to the student being assessed. Typical locations would include town centers, college campuses, retail settings, recreational facilities, vocational settings. A minimum of two observations are conducted: one in a familiar setting and one in a novel situation corresponding with the student's current vision statement.
  • A detailed write-up of the community-based experiences is provided along with recommendations for planning, goals, and activities in and out of school.
The flat rate fee for the ICBTA includes document review, intake, 2 hours observation, and written report with recommendations. Feedback sessions, additional observation hours, travel in excess of 2 hours, and participation in team meetings is available and can be billed separately.

  • Assessment at NESCA provides objectivity (through novelty) that familiar professionals and family can't provide.
  • NESCA clinicians provide flexible and creative scheduling often difficult for school-based personnel to staff.
  • NESCA utilizes a team approach, working with the school and the family to identify and create the desired assessment opportunity.
  • Assessment is provided by seasoned transition specialists who bring decades of experience working with and assessing students in a multitude of school and community settings and who understand the complex challenges faced in the transition to postsecondary life.
  • NESCA utilizes a collaborative approach during and after assessment: working with students, their families, the school and other team members toward the shared goal of helping the student achieve his/her vision and as such identifies roles for all team members within the recommendations. 
Sample Referral Questions Addressed in the ICBTA:
  • How does the student self-advocate in novel situations?
  • How does the student receive and respond to directions/instructions in novel situations?
  • To what extent does the student demonstrate expected and necessary navigation skills in their anticipated postsecondary environment?
  • How does the student respond when confronted with a challenge outside of their familiar environment? Is their response adaptive?
  • How does the student demonstrate organizational skills in a novel setting? Do they demonstrate the ability to manage their personal belongings?
  • Does the student appear to be at risk in any way during the observations?
  • Does the student demonstrate awareness of existing resources in the setting? Given specific tasks, can the student access those existing resources independently?

NESCA's model for ICBTA was developed in collaboration with Sandy Storer, Kelley Challen's predecessor as Director of Transition Services. Storer now consults to NESCA part-time and participates in some community-based assessments.

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