The term “transition” can refer to all times of a child’s transition––from preschool to kindergarten, elementary to junior high, from one grade to another. But mostly, transition refers to the process of moving from the school setting to adult life in the community.
IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), the federal special education law, states that school districts must provide transition services beginning at age 14. The truth is that transition needs to start the day your child receives a diagnosis.
Parents of children with disabilities need to put more effort into planning for the future than parents of children without disabilities––and they need to start early.
Perhaps the most important thing a parent can do for their child’s future is to write a vision statement. A vision statement puts into words what your vision, goals, and dreams are for your child. As your child gets older, he/she can help in the writing of the vision statement. But when your child is young, it is vital for you to write the vision.
The vision statement can include future employment ideas based on your child’s interests and skills, housing ideas that you think your child will enjoy and thrive in, and any other ways you want your child to be a part of the community. Once your child has a life vision, every decision you make for your child can be based on whether it supports the vision statement or not.
Parents also need to put their child’s name on all of the Medicaid Waiver interest lists as soon as possible. Medicaid Waivers provide Medicaid and other services based upon your child’s income, not the family’s income. Waiver services may include attendant care, respite services, employment support, medical expenses, equipment, home and car modifications, and community living supports.
Make it a priority to put your child on each of the lists. Wait times can be 12-14 years. Learn more about Medicaid Waiver Services on this website.
Stay tuned for Part 2 soon. In the meantime, you can read and view videos about transition on our Transition to Adulthood page.
Just when I thought maybe the “autism thing” was calming down. And that maybe I had a few months to catch my breath before researching everything I needed to know about guardianship before my son turns 18. Wham–another big change brought us back to reality.
Support is out there for families of individuals with disabilities–you just have to ask! Take advantage of the community of others who are going through the same things as your family.