Transition fair scheduled to help disabled students, families

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Coalition Action Network has partnered with the Charleston County School District and three other school districts to put on the third annual Transition Fair for special needs students and their families on Saturday.

The fair connects parents and students with resources they need to help transition children with disabilities out of high school.

Chip Miller, a senior at Bishop England High School, is one of the students the fair has helped in the past.

Right now, just like any other high school senior, he's trying to figure out his next step.

"I kind of want to study either theater or criminal justice," Chip said.

Regardless of which path he decides to take, Chip's dad, David, couldn't be a prouder father especially because of how much Chip has overcome.

"About eight years ago, Chip was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and it really hit home for me," David said.

David is a partner at the Kickin' Chicken restaurant group.

He says the restaurant tries to hire people with disabilities when they can.

That's in part thanks to his son Chip.

"We try to employ where we can and make them a part of our family, most importantly to make them feel welcomed," David said.

That kind of opportunity is exactly what the Charleston County School District, three other school districts and Charleston CAN are trying to offer to families of disabled kids.

They're doing that with the third annual Transition Fair.

"It's an opportunity for these families to come and get answers to questions they have about what happens to their child after they graduate from high school," Transition Fair organizer Nick Gavalas said.

The fair brings in companies that look to hire people with disabilities.

It also gives parents resources about higher education and independent living.

"This is really an opportunity for our families to partner up and communicate and collaborate with those post-secondary community agencies," CCSD Department of Exceptional Children representative Madeline Jacobs said.

For families like the Millers that effort means the world.

"It's really a sign of hope and a dream come true for this community," David said. "It's what we need."

It's also what kids like Chip can use to help them not only transition, but live a successful life long after graduation.

The fair will be held at Trident Technical College.

It starts at 8:30 a.m. and it will go until just after noon.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.