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760 Red Oak Lane
Highland Park, Illinois 60035-3899
Call Us: 1.847.831.5100 | Fax Us: 1.847.868.9580
Email Us: info@nssed.org

FAQs about the Division of Rehabilitation Services

Who is an appropriate referral for STEP Services?

Students appropriate for STEP Services should be receiving special education services and demonstrate challenges that significantly impact their ability to obtain and maintain employment. They require assistance transitioning to employment or additional skill development to succeed in the work force. These students have, but are not limited to, any of the following diagnosis:

    • Learning, Intellectual, Emotional, Behavioral or Physical Disability
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • ADHD
    • Vision Impaired, Hearing Impaired
    • Brain Injury
    • Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Muscular Dystrophy

All students must have a valid Social Security Number.

When should a student be referred for STEP Services?

Typically, a referral is made during a student's junior year in high school.

What is involved in the referral process?

    • The student/parent sign a DRS Consent for Services and Release of Information.
    • The case manager or transition specialist gathers required documents (current IEP, psychological evaluation, social history), completes a Functional Limitation checklist and DRS Referral form in order to open a case for the student.
    • An intake meeting is scheduled with the DRS Transition Specialist and student to discuss vocational interests and goals, current and previous job training or work experience and strengths/challenges.
    • After a student is determined eligible for services, an assessment is completed and an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed.
    • DRS Transition Specialist meets with student on a quarterly basis and may participate in IEP and/or transition planning meetings throughout the year.

When do STEP Services begin?

STEP services, supported and managed through the DRS grant, are provided when the student is in high school or receiving district-sponsored transition services. Typically, the initial referral for STEP services is made during the student’s junior year in high school.

During the last six months of high school or transition, the NSSED/DRS Transition Specialist works with the student, family and school team to refine the vocational goals in the post-secondary plan and identify appropriate services and supports that may be provided by DRS. Following graduation, the NSSED/DRS Transition Specialist works with the student and family to determine if and when it is appropriate to refer the student for DRS adult services.

What STEP Services are available?

The STEP program can provide opportunities for career exploration, guidance and career counseling, and coordination of post-secondary education and training. Examples of STEP Services include:

    • Job and career counseling
    • Job shadow experiences
    • Job-seeking skill development (practice interview skills, resumé development)
    • School and community-based job training opportunities
    • Job coaching
    • Guidance and support in obtaining and maintaining competitive employment

Examples of DRS Adult Services include:

    • Continuation of the STEP Services listed above
    • Tools and equipment/assistive technology
    • Financial assistance for community college, 4-year college/university, training/technical programs

How is the referral made?

Contact your child's High School or Transition Program Case Manager or Transition Coordinator.


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