PLANNING FOR ADULTHOOD
Strategies and Things to Consider
TRANSFER OF RIGHTS
When a student turns 18, they legally become their own decision maker. The rights you have a parent, become the rights of the student, unless you get legal guardianship of the student. (In order to gain guardianship, it is a legal process through the courts. Learn more here.) . Students will have to give consent to invite parents to meetings. When changes are made to the IEP, the school will have to get the permission of the student rather than the parent. This also applies outside of school including in the medical setting, so it is important that you work with your child on advocating for their needs and knowing their personal information and health history. For more information on what happens when your child turns 18, check out this resource
ENTITLEMENT VS ELIGIBILITY
Students are entitled for special education services from age 3 to 21 (or upon high school graduation) based on IDEA. After graduation or 21, in order to receive services a student must meet eligibility criteria. Every agency has different requirements for eligibility that may be different than the amount of supports provided in high school through the IEP. It is important to start talking to service agencies sooner rather than later so that services are available when you need it. Unfortunately, many agencies have significant waiting times, so it really is important to start conversations with different service representatives before your child has even entered high school in most cases.
Families who do not speak English, should plan on having an interpreter to accompany them to meet with service agencies. Most agencies have documents available in different languages, so it is important to ask if there is a copy available.
For students who are DACA it is important for families to know whether their child is eligible to work or if they can be admitted to post-secondary education programs and be eligible for financial aid.
STRATEGIES FOR PARENTS
Encourage your child from an early age to communicate their needs, preferences, and interests. Advocating and communication are essential skills that adults need to live independently.
Give your child responsibilities at home including household chores so they can practice daily living skills.
Try to be positive about your child's future and talk with them about your goals for their future. Listen to their goals and support them as well.
Encourage your child to make their own decisions and accept consequences for these decisions.
Explore options for life after school so your child can find the right fit.
Make sure your child knows their personal information, including their health history.
Lean on your natural support network and don't be afraid to ask for help.
Learn with your child about what opportunities are available in your community.
Encourage your child to maintain friendships and talk with them about healthy relationships.
Figure out what training/education path is best for your child based on their goals for employment. If you are not familiar with vocational schools or college application process, learn with your child about them to better support them.
STRATEGIES FOR STUDENTS
Know and be able to talk about your strengths!
Explore early on what types of careers you might be interested in. If possible ask your school or someone in your community if you can shadow them or interview them about what their work day is like.
Don't be afraid to change your mind. It's normal to switch career paths based on experiences. Be open to careers you thought you would never want to do.
Practice speaking up for yourself and telling people your needs. Figure out what you need to be successful and don't be afraid to ask for help.
Know your personal information and health history. Obtain a photo ID and make sure to bring it with you.
Set your own goals, decide on what steps you need to take to reach that goal, and reflect on whether that goal is met or if you need to change their plan.
Commit to healthy relationships and friendships. Know who you can count on!
Find ways to express your feelings and strategies to help calm you when you are mad or stressed.
Be open to receiving feedback and learn from your mistakes.
Devote yourself to your school work and create good working habits.
Participate in community service opportunities
Learn how to prioritize tasks and practice time management strategies.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
What type of job would I like to have in 10 years?
What education or training do I need to reach my dream job?
What skills do I need to work on to be successful?
What are my major concerns/fears about life after school?
Where will I live after I graduate?
How will I get around the community?
How will I manage my money and expenses?
Who do I go to after high school when I need help?