In 2019, Texas Parent to Parent was awarded a grant from The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities to fund the Parent to Parent Transition Center of Central Texas. The project started by serving 18 counties in Central Texas and has now expanded to serving all of Texas and all disabilities. The program can accommodate families that speak English or Spanish.
This is great news. Family members know that transitioning to adulthood can be difficult. It may be scary and feel lonely at times. We know, and studies have shown, that isolation in people with disabilities can lead to a shorter life span. When school is no longer a service, many children become isolated. The goal is to help families plan and offer hope, ideas and tools for a meaningful life.
The project's main goal is to support families around transition and help create quality lives for the family's youth after high school. The program starts with a one-to-two-hour consultation with a transition mentor. This session can be held in person or remotely through video meetings.
At the first meeting, the transition mentor will go through a detailed transition list with the family. Like each meeting, the transition list is individualized. At the end of the session, the mentor will help the family to set up next steps and goals. The mentor will offer ongoing support and additional meetings as needed.
Families may be referred to a resource bank depending on the area where they live. The resource bank is another part of the Parent to Parent Transition Center. It provides families with information and links to the community.
The family can also choose to join a Transition Action Group (TAG). This is a group of parents working on transition goals together. The groups have a facilitator and move through goals for their child.
The second goal is to introduce them to the Personal Network model to help with ongoing family and individual support. The goal of a Personal Network is to create a supportive community for a person with a disability who is at risk of isolation. It forms a circle of friends, families and even professionals around that person.
A Personal Network helps the family to start letting go, to learn to trust others, and to trust that others have the focus person's best interests at heart. It also adds to the person's life at the center through relationships and experiences that they may not otherwise have. Through learning to trust other people, we, as parents, also learn that we are not alone.
This link to the Parent to Parent Transition Center provides more project details and information on how to schedule an appointment.