It is never too early to start planning for the transition from childhood to adulthood, both from the students and the parents perspective. Below are some tips about what schools should be doing, and what families and children can do to help develop skills for adult success even before students reach high school.
To Prepare For Middle School
- Help your child develop self-help skills, such as cooking, cleaning, self-care, and basic money management.
- Help your child explore potential career interests.
- Encourage your child to participate in community activities.
- Begin to plan for both you and your child’s financial future
To Prepare For High School
- Between age 12 and 14, your child should receive a Level I Vocational Assessment from their school.
- Help your child develop an awareness of their disability and how it affects his or her learning and daily living.
- Help your child develop self-advocacy skills.
- Familiarize yourself with the high school application process:
√ Explore each high school’s admissions requirements
√ Determine the different benefits each school may provide your child
√ Research the different types of diplomas or certifications they offer
- Continue to explore your child’s career and vocational interests and options.
- Encourage your child to participate in volunteer and summer work opportunities.
To Prepare For Life Beyond High School
- At age 15, include your child in their Individualized Educational Program (IEP) meetings.
- Request a Level II Vocational Assessment from your child’s high school.
- Select your child’s appropriate diploma option, and make sure the curriculum will allow them to reach the selected diploma goal.
- Make sure your child receives their Student Exit Summary the year he or she graduates.
- Encourage your child to volunteer or to obtain a part-time, paid, or summer job.
- Explore your child’s post-secondary educational options such as college, vocational school, job training, or adult day programs.
If your child is applying to college/vocational school:
- Familiarize yourself with each college’s SAT and admissions requirements.
- Make sure you have all necessary documentation to obtain the
accommodations your child needs.
- Talk with each college’s disabilities office to determine what additional
support is available for you child.
- Understand your child’s rights as outlined in Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Familiarize yourself with your rights as parents to your child’s educational records, as outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
If your child is applying for adult services:
- Understand your child’s eligibility requirements and application procedures.
- Make sure all of your child’s evaluations and records are up to date, and
obtain required services evaluations to ensure a seamless transition.
- Explore your child’s living options after graduation: Will they live at home, at school, in a supported living facility, or independently?
- Explore your child’s adult health care, personal assistant, and guardianship options.
- Apply for adult government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Food Stamps (SNAP), and Medicaid.
- Ensure that all future planning documents (wills, trusts, etc.) are up to date.
- Be sure your child has access to the assistive technology they need.
- Explore adult recreational activities available to your child after graduation in order to promote independence and inclusion.
- Familiarize yourself with agencies that work with adults with disabilities such as ACCES-VR and OPWDD
Parent Network of WNY
1021 Broadway Street
Buffalo, NY 14212
Family Support Lines:
English – 716-332-4170
Espanol – 716-449-6394