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.
Some parents hold their children back from independence and freedom, feeling that they are protecting them. The truth is that their children cannot grow if they are stuck in their parents’ comfort zones.
Jennifer Allen has created a program to help make driving safer for drivers who have problems with communication.