Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Start Planning Ahead for Your Child’s Future

01/27/2016 | Published by: Michelle Hicks

When our children are young, it’s so easy to think the future is too far away to think about. But ask any parent whose child is grown how fast time does indeed go! Many people wait until high school to start planning what their child with a disability will do after graduation, and that can make the whole process so much harder.

Students who struggle in school, as many students with disabilities do, are more likely to drop out, and as a result, are more likely to find it difficult to secure a good job. Many students don’t know how to fill out a simple job application. According to employment rate data, young adults with disabilities typically are only employed at half of the rate of those who do not have a disability.

Transition planning can help your child avoid many of these problems. It can help make sure your child has a good life. There’s a lot to do, but your first step is to learn more about transition to adult life.  

There are many parts to transition so it is helpful to remember a few basics:

  • Texas state law requires a student’s Individual Education Plan must include transition services when they turn fourteen years of age.
  • IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) requires that transition planning for students be discussed in their annual ARD meeting, beginning no later than age fourteen.
  • Beginning at least by age sixteen, the discussion will focus upon planning for needed transition services for after high school. 

It is important to note that transition planning can, and often should, start before your child is fourteen!

Most states require that transition planning must:

  • be individualized,
  • be based on the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests, and
  • include opportunities to develop functional skills for work and community life. 

There are many helpful websites and people who can help you and your child with transition planning. Included below are a few excellent websites to begin researching and exploring transition options and resources. You can also find information on our Transition to Adulthood section of this website.

Transition in Texas is a website for students, parents, educators and agencies. Their mission is to provide information about the transition process to help students meet their goals for life after high school.The Texas Project First Transition page offers current and accurate information about the transition process as well as links to other transition resources. Texas Parent to Parent also has a good section on their website called Pathways to Adulthood. Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) also offer services to help with the transition process.  Take a look at the Transition Planning:  A Parent’s Guide brochure for more helpful information. You can also search for more transition services, groups and events on our Find Services, Groups and Events page.

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