Transition can often be an overwhelming time for the family of a child or young adult. There are many ways parents can help their child with a disability make a smoother transition into adulthood. Having a plan and a few resources in place can help make this an easier time. It is really just building everyday living skills through a few extra activities.
Setting short-term, realistic goals is an important tactic. Remind yourself that this is a process. Make sure that the school is helping to meet these goals and your child is being taught as many daily living and work skills as their school provides. Whatever supports your child needs to aid in achieving their full potential must also be provided.
Remember, gaining total or even partial independence is a gradual process. Teaching independence, self-care activities, and simple decision-making skills as early as possible are important steps toward independence.
Providing real-life experience is especially valuable. These skills can be worked on at school and discussed in the child’s ARD meeting and written into the IEP.
Encourage money-managing opportunities. Shopping is a great way to learn skills in both of these areas. Start out with short trips to the store and take a list. As they succeed and learn, you can add to the list and lengthen the trips.
Social interactions are critical. Learning from peers that are modeling appropriate behaviors is a great way for your child to gain social skills, reduce isolation, and have fun all at the same time.
Transition is an on-going process that starts very early in a child’s life. Teaching these skills and providing the opportunities to foster these throughout childhood is important to building life-long self-esteem and confidence. As your child grows and develops, transition will become more of a natural part of life.
Visit the Transition section of this website to learn more.
Children grow up having dreams—dreams of being a princess or a football player or a doctor or a teacher. They have so many dreams. The world is their oyster. When your child has a disability, those dreams are different.
I got to sit on a panel discussion for disability-related issues. In addition to another parent, there were three adults with a variety of disabilities who shared their experience on everything from doctors to their time in college.