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.
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.