Tapping Into DMH Resources

The May 19th 6 p.m. session featured Angela Gomez of KC Regional Office who explained how the Department of Mental Health’s eligibility and intake process works. Here are key takeaways on how to tap into Missouri Department of Mental Health for resources:

4:12        KC Regional Office Staff returns calls on intake line 816.889.3452 within 24 hours               

5:40        How eligibility is determined

6:10        Why diagnosis alone doesn’t mean eligibility

9:10        Statewide information coordination system for those who don’t have Medicaid and aren’t active

on a waitlist or receiving autism services.

19:59     Benefits planning helps individuals to land job and earn income without losing Medicaid and

other benefits

22:23     Advice to individuals and families experiencing anxiety thinking about career planning after

pandemic ends.

29:12     Mom asks about cuts to SSI, Medicaid and other benefits for her two adult children with autism.

35:45     UMKC Propel asks for advice for ways families to get classroom assistance for students.

39:18     Importance of sharing goals and challenges with KCRO Support Coordination Team so they can

open doors of opportunities.

This week’s resource list includes:

  • Benefits 101 and more info from the Missouri Division of Developmental Disabilities

  • Co-Vid Speak - Video conference app for persons who can’t speak

  • Show Me KC School’s “Exploring School Choice Options” workshop on May 20th

School Children

KCPS Pilot Puts Inclusion In Action

The May 19th “Tuesday Talks” landed on the last day of school for KCPS and showcased the district’s innovative K-2 Inclusion Pilot during the morning session. Feel free to scroll and enjoy some of the highlights from the 10 a.m. session with Dr. JaKyta Lawrie and teachers from James, King and Melcher elementary schools:

6:10        Special education students learn in the classroom alongside their general education peers instead of being pulled out.

9:38        Data shows growth for both special education and general education students.

11:43     Why COVID-19 didn’t disrupt learning for students in the program.

13:12     Teachers share experiences of being co-teaching pairs.

21:52     Video features dad explaining impact on his son with autism.

27:02     Pilot was developed by KCPS and based on evidence-based practices.

28:40     Ratio of general education/special education students participating in the pilot program.

30:23     How students can enroll in the program.

32:43     Four types of co-teaching models used  

Here's this week's resource list which includes info on: Department of Mental Health's benefits info, videoconference app for people who can't speak, Show Me KC Schools school choice workshop,


Tuesday Talks - May 19, 2020

Tune into the May 19th “Tuesday Talks” where we wrap up the school year by learning about an innovative K-2 inclusive program and how to sign up for benefits after completing high school.

Children coloring

At the 10 a.m. session, we’ll meet program coordinators and teachers who will share the impact of the Kansas City Public Schools K-2 Inclusion Pilot that was implemented this school year at three hub schools - James Elementary, Melcher Elementary and King Elementary. The pilot is designed to close the learning gaps between students receiving special education services and students not receiving special education services. The specialized instruction is being provided through the service delivery model of Co-Teaching.

Throughout the different pilot grade levels, students receive their core content instruction by a certified general education teacher and special education teacher. Specialized instruction is delivered through the four highly effective co-teaching models; Parallel Teaching, Station Teaching, Alternative Teaching and Team Teaching. Students receiving special education services, are able to receive their instructional services as well as related services, inside the general education classroom and not pulled from the general education curriculum during the day.

Register here.

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Department of Mental Health explains intake/eligibility process

Then we’ll have valuable information at the 6 p.m. session to help high school students prepare for life after graduation. Angela Gomez with Kansas City Regional Office will share with us about the intake/eligibility process for Department of Mental Health-Developmental Disabilities and what happens after eligibility.


Former KCPS Student Johnny Gordon who successfully managed Asperger’s Syndrome and earned his Bachelor’s degree in studio art from Old Dominion University.

Feel free to scroll and enjoy some of the highlights from the 

6 p.m. session with his dad Rick:

12:22     Johnny shares how his African-Centered education at KCPS impacted him.

14:35     Johnny recalls his struggle to adjust to college.

18:47     Johnny shares how he advocates for himself with an invisible disability

23:15     Rick shares his first instinct was to protect Johnny from society’s judgment when he was first diagnosed.

24:59     Dad shares what it was like to parent his son during his college years.

30:12     Johnny showcases his art work

37:15     UMKC Propel student asks Johnny about persons who impacted him the most.

41:46     KCPS Superintendent Mark Bedell offered to help Johnny land post-secondary opportunities.

43:41     Johnny offers words of encouragement to other students with disabilities.

Here's this week's resource list.


This week’s “Tuesday Talks” featured Former KCPS Student Johnny Gordon who successfully managed Asperger’s Syndrome and earned his Bachelor’s degree in studio art from Old Dominion University. Here's this week's resource list.

Feel free to scroll and enjoy some of the highlights from the 10 a.m. session with his mom Jennifer:

16:24     Johnny’s reaction to being diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 18 during his senior year of high


27:27     Jennifer shares factors they had to consider for his college search.

31:54     Johnny admits to being hesitant to reaching out to on-campus supports and accommodations.

35:56     Johnny shares how he navigated his social life and romance during college.

44:57     Participant asks if being diagnosed earlier would have made a difference.

53:40     Johnny gives advice to aspiring college students with disabilities.


Saluting Johnny!

Join us Tuesday, May 12th as we celebrate former KCPS student Johnny Gordon who recently earned his bachelor's degree from Old Dominion University. He and his mom share how he managed Asperger's and lived out his college dreams! Register for the 10 a.m. and/or 6 p.m. session.


UMKC Propel shares lessons learned

Students, parents and staff of UMKC's Propel program joined us to share the difference this college experience is making in the lives of these diverse learners. Click here for the 10 a.m. session and here for the 6 p.m. session. Also, check out this week's resource list.


Enjoying the college experience

The May 5th "Tuesday Talks" session spotlights UMKC's Propel Program allows students with disabilities to continue their education and experience campus life. Meet students, families and staff of this nationally recognized program. Register for the 10 a.m. session and/or the 6 p.m. session.

Smiling Teenage Boy

Sexuality and Youth With Disabilities    Part 2

Parents asked Disability Sexpert Dr. Darrel Lang a wide range of questions about talking to their children about sex including: masturbation, safety and how to tell someone you like them. Here's the 10 a.m. session and 6 p.m. session. Also check out this week's resource list.


Sexuality and People With Disabilities Part 1

Dr. Darrel Lang led families on a lively discussion on April 21st about the importance of communicating with children with disabilities about sex. Here's a recap of the 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. sessions. Check out this week's resource list.


Let's talk about sex

Dr. Darrel Lang will lead this discussion and provide one-on-one coaching sessions with families on how to have “the talk” with their children. Also, he’ll provide participants with a sample script to help guide them as they have “the talk.”

Register here for the April 21st 10 a.m. session and here for the           6 p.m. session.

Click here to register for the April 28th 10 a.m. session and here for the 6 p.m. session.

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Final session

Register here for the 10 a.m. presentation.

Click here to register for the 6 p.m. session.


Five strategies that work

Click here to learn how to manage behaviors and reduce stress during COVID-19.


Managing Challenging Behaviors At Home During COVID-19

Five Strategies for Families With Disabilities

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Family Time

Andi Bonge, Occupational Therapist

Andi has been an OT for more than 20 years including working with students ranging from early childhood to high school age. 
She earned a master's degree in OT from Rockhurst University and a bachelor of science from University of Nebraska-Kearney.

This is a 2-part series.

April 7th 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

1. Learn strategies for creating a calmer home life during COVID-19. 

2. Sign up for FREE personal coaching to develop a behavior plan custom-made for your family. 

  • Register here for the 10 a.m. session.

  • Click here for the 6 p.m. session.

Father and Son Baking

April 14th 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Join Andi and families as they share how home life has been during #stayathome since using the new behavior plans.

Register here for the 10 a.m. session.

Click here to register for the 7 p.m. session.

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Tips for teaching with grace

Learn tips from a 30+ year special ed teacher on remote learning during quarantine.

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Parenting tips

A mom shares how she juggles working from home, teaching her child with autism and managing her household during quarantine.

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Join this discussion with families, schools and other disability partners to discuss the "new normal."


COVID-19 Response

Uniting and supporting families

The Transition Academy is committed to supporting families during the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond! The KC Special Education Family Check-In was our first virtual event designed to bring together families, teachers, school professionals, social services, medical professionals and all who support families with disabilities. Let's lean on and learn from one another so we can be stronger and united in the future. Click here for a recap of this session.


Meet our founder



The Transition Academy is your source for special needs college and career planning. Students, families and teachers now have a navigation tool to explore options after high school!


What We Do

Making A Difference

The Transition Academy offers college and career opportunities including:

  • College tours

  • Job training program tours

  • Life skills/Independent Living program tours

  • SPED teacher professional development

  • Parent advocacy training

  • Life after high school planning


The Transition Academy was founded by Kim Riley, a parent determined to make sure students with disabilities get to explore college and career options after high school. And if the option doesn't exist, let's create it together.

Contact The Transition Academy


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