New York Transition Planning
Times have changed. In decades past, children with special needs were expected to either remain at home under the care of family members, or to live in institutions that minimized their interaction with society.
In our lifetime, thanks to a long-fought battle that continues to this day, it has become possible for many individuals with special needs to become independent adults, participating in community life according to their personal preferences. But not without proper planning.
Transition planning for a child with special needs should begin by her mid-teens, with the goal of achieving as fulfilling and self-directed a life as possible. The individual with disabilities should, ideally, participate in the planning process, expressing her aspirations for the future. A job? Living in a group residence? What sort of social life?
Transition planning should be central to the high school experience, ensuring the development of the skills that will point your child toward chosen goals. Toward that end, it’s essential to work closely with the student’s guidance counselor and IEP (Individualized Education Plan) team.
The issue of guardianship should be part of the transition plan if your child will not be able to make medical, financial, and legal decisions independently at the age of 18. An individual is considered a legal adult at that age, regardless of the severity of disabilities, and parents should initiate the guardianship application process a year or more in advance if that step will be necessary.
If your child dreams of a career, it’s important to identify where she is most likely to find success. Have your child tested to assess proficiencies and interests; any qualified high school guidance counselor has access to a wealth of personality tests and skill inventories. There are also many social service organizations and government agencies that specialize in helping individuals with disabilities train for the workforce and find jobs. (Click here for a partial list). It’s also important, at this point, to consider if supported employment will be required or if your child is capable of working independently.
Many organizations are equipped to assist families as they prepare their children with special needs for life outside the parents’ home. Housing information, voter education, travel assistance, and social programs are available to guide you and your loved one.The special needs planning and special education advocacy attorneys at Littman Krooks are well versed in the community resources available to you and can suggest options.
It’s important to remember that a transition plan is just one part of preparing your child with special needs to live a rewarding life. Our New York special needs planning and special education advocacy attorneys have the experience to help your loved one plan for adulthood. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss how we can help you and your child build a foundation for the future.