Transitioning: A Summary
Thursday, January 31, 2013
As parents, we all must face the fact that one day soon, often much sooner than we would like, our children will be adults. For persons with special needs, this progression from childhood into the adult world can be complicated. Issues such as future living arrangements, meaningful long term employment, involvement in social and community events, as well as other financial considerations need to be examined. These are often very complex issues, which can require extensive planning. In the special needs community, the process of planning for the future of the special needs child is referred to as transitioning.
There are a number of different steps involved in the transitioning process. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), school districts are required to provide transition plans which incorporate both education opportunities and successful post-school employment for youth with disabilities by age 16. This process can take place at as early as age 14. The transition plan is then incorporated into an Individualized Education Plan, or, IEP. The IEP, which has been created by a team which includes the parents, the child with special needs and the staff at the school which the child attends, outlines the educational services your child will receive. It also provides a frame work for the broader, long-term educational and post school goals for your child.
As the age of graduation draws closer, students with special needs begin to direct their focus away from activities in the school, and begin to participate in real-world, off-site work activities. Questions such as, “does my child show an aptitude for a particular job?” “where will my child live?”, or “is there a post-secondary program that will help my child integrate into the working world?” will be examined. An Individualized Plan for Employment, or, IPE, must be developed. The IPE is a written plan outlining an individual’s vocational goal, and the services to be provided to reach that goal. Other employment options, such as Supported Employment, Vocational Rehabilitation, and an employment consultant/job coach will be explored (Supported Employment will be discussed in greater detail in next week’s blog). Other considerations, such as the financial resources that may be available to your children during the different stages of the transition process also need to be examined.
I hope this brief summary of the transition process helped to clarify some of the questions you may have surrounding transitioning. Remember: the primary goal of transitioning is to lay the ground work that will help to ensure a happy, successful and productive future for persons with special needs. Creating a plan will help to alleviate some of the anxiety associated with this stage of your child’s life, and will help you and your family effectively deal with a period of change and uncertainty.
If this topic is still a source of stress for you, or if you still have many questions, don’t worry – we can help! On February 5, we are hosting a workshop titled A Roadmap for Transitioning Planning & a Discussion of Post-Secondary Options at the TLC – Treatment Learning Center in Rockville, MD. During this workshop, we provide a more comprehensive outline of what “transitioning” really is. We also explain the various terms that arise during the transitioning process, and offer a discussion of the different post-secondary options available for persons with special needs in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, as well as the options available in other states. All of our workshops offer a wealth of information, but due to the nature of transitioning, this workshop is particularly detailed. To register for this free workshop, click here. If you would like for us to present this workshop at your venue, please contact us. We are always looking for new venues, and are willing to travel.
If you have more questions about transitioning, please do not hesitate to give us a call, and stay tuned to our blog! We will discuss more transitioning issues over the coming weeks and months, including a more detailed discussion of Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment, which I will focus on next week.
Thanks for stopping by, and have a fantastic day!
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