Family Voices Indiana is a family-led organization that provides information, education, training, outreach, and peer support to families of children and youth with special health care needs and the professionals who serve them.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
When we talk about the transition from childhood to adulthood, the word “plan” comes up a lot. There’s an education plan, a medical plan, planning your child’s income and signing up for services, planning for housing, planning to make sure your child is legally protected, planning for a career, planning a social life, and more.
It’s a lot to wrap our arms (and heads) around! Especially when we have our own emotions, dreams, and ideas about our children growing up. But making sure that we have certain i’s dotted and t’s crossed helps to ease the stress of transition, helps our children handle the responsibility of adulthood, and helps them get set up in a safe place.
And that’s why working with your child to create a good plan can be a real relief.
What Goes Into Transition Planning?
A transition plan isn’t a single plan. It’s a set of plans that cover all the areas of transition we’ve listed above. To help you and your child keep track of each area, Texas Parent to Parent has this transition inventory. This inventory gives a lot of suggestions – things you and your child can work together to set up.
Before jumping into making detailed plans about transitioning out of school, transitioning doctors, applying for services, or looking toward a career, it helps if you and your child have a clear vision of what your child wants for their future.
When creating that vision, here are some basic things to think about:
How would your child explain their dreams and hopes for the future?
What is your child good at? Talents? Strengths?
How do all these fit together into plans for their adult life?
What supports will your child need to achieve their dreams and hopes?
Finding the answers to these questions, and then putting some goals for each answer, helps your child make a plan that really fits. And that’s a great starting point for you and your child to make other important decisions about careers, living arrangements, health care, and even legal supports.
A transition plan isn’t a single plan. It’s a set of plans that covers:
Your family doesn’t have to come up with all the right questions and put together the goals all alone. There are a number of planning tools and approaches that you can use:
Person-centered planning (PCP) is a common approach to transition planning. It helps your child work with a group of people who care about them to decide on goals for the future and plans for carrying out those goals. The Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) has this set of PCP guidelines. You can also find PCP tools by Look Back, Plan Forward and the Pacer Center. You might also be able to get help with PCP from your school or local education service center.
Encourage your child to participate in all planning meetings, so that they can speak up about interests and goals. If your child is non-verbal, encourage planning participants to voice what they believe your child would say based on their knowledge of your child.
One of the biggest questions for most of us is: “Where do I start?”
Hopefully, by setting goals in your early planning process, you and your child know what is most important to work on first. But there is a general timeline for working on certain parts of transition. Below are some recommendations from Texas Parent to Parent.