By the time your child reaches the age of 14 years, it’s a good idea to begin thinking about planning for adulthood. While this may seem early, there are many things that need to be decided, discussed and initiated before your child turns 18. Transition goals should be included in the IEP. Planning for adulthood is not a linear process and can be quite complex.
There are many questions that need to be addressed as you proceed through the transition process:
- Will your child work and live independently or will she/he need support?
- Will you need to apply for guardianship?
- Who will provide medical care?
- Will your child go to college, attend a vocational program or need a day program?
These are just a few of the questions that arise as your child heads into adulthood. We suggest that you read, dream and ask questions of the people who best know your child, including teachers, professionals, friends, and other parents who have been through the transition with their child.
There are many excellent resources available to help guide you through the transition process:
- The University of Washington Adolescent Health Transition Project has a timeline to help you create a personalized roadmap for your teen’s transition to adulthood.
- The OAR Transition Guideline provides information specific to transition and autism.
- The ARC Are You Ready? provides information about local and state transition resources.
Transitioning to adulthood can be a difficult time for some families, as the public schools are no longer part of the team after age 18-21, and as relationships between you and your “adult child” change. Starting the transition process early gives your child the best chance of reaching his/her potential as they enter adulthood.
Seattle Children’s Autism Center is committed to supporting individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders through the exciting, yet challenging time of transition to adulthood. Stay tuned for more articles on transition to adulthood including guardianship, SSI, DDD, educational, vocational, day programs, housing, transportation and more…