Many parents feel overwhelmed by the tasks facing them during the period of their child’s life when they become an adult. It’s daunting to think of a time when public school is no longer an option. It is a reality that is best faced by being prepared and starting early.
Parents should begin the transition process, ideally at the age of 14 or 15. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act, it should begin no later than the age of 16 for a student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
A critical step in the transition process is to make sure the child is on the Texas Medicaid waiver interest lists. A child can be eligible for attendant care, therapies and other services through a Medicaid waiver. To receive these services, the income of the parents is not considered – only the income or savings of the child.
Parents can visit the Navigate Life Texas Medicaid Waivers programs page to learn more about these services. This will help them know which waiver best fits their child’s needs. Another critical piece of information is for parents to call the Medicaid waiver program if there are any changes to their contact information or address. This ensures their child stays on the interest list.
Guardianship is another part of the transition process to consider. Guardianship gives parents the legal right to make decisions for their adult child. Not all parents will need to seek full guardianship. There are other alternatives, such as Supported Decision Making.
It is important parents know the advised timeline to start the guardianship process. Some things need to be in place at age 18, while others can wait until 21. More information on options regarding guardianship can be found at The Arc of Texas or on the Navigate Life Texas resource page for Legal Options for 18 and Beyond.
Post-secondary education and supported employment should also be discussed when planning to transition into adulthood. There are programs available to support youth if they choose to enroll in a post-secondary program or join the workforce.
Every youth has the right to transition services that are:
The transition into adulthood can be stressful and for some parents or caregivers it is helpful to join a support group, such as a Transition Action Group (TAG) (Texas Parent to Parent). Educational resources can also help prepare for the changes. Another resource to consider is Partners Resource Network (1-800-866-4726). Area representatives can provide information and guidance for a youth’s specific transition needs.
Most important is for parents to start a conversation with their child. Consider including relatives, friends, school staff and others involved in the youth’s life. The ultimate goal is to help young adults with disabilities develop self-determination skills and do our best to help them achieve their independent living goals.
Access more information about transitioning to adulthood.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills go beyond academics. Everyday life provides opportunities to apply these skills. During my son’s educational career, a lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills was often noted in his Individualized Education Plan paperwork. While he may struggle with these skills academically, he solves problems all the time in his daily life.