The Transition to Adulthood
Who is responsible, and when?
Individual Transition Plan (ITP)
Applying for public benefits, or transitioning to adulthood with public benefits
Post-secondary college for young adults with disabilities
Work training programs for adults
Many Regional Centers offer resource fairs and/or career fairs in the spring. These fairs can be very useful to families when their child is in their early-to-mid high school years, as they showcase many of the resources, programs, and services that are available. Exploring the options early will allow your child to visit the programs they are interested in with plenty of time to prepare and make decisions.
Work training programs run the gamut from trade-specific training to targeted skills such as resume building and computer skills. Many vendors offer Supported Employment services that provide ongoing coaching to support permanent, paid positions. Specific trades can be explored in areas like culinary arts or retail; other companies cater to budding artists by marketing, selling, and commissioning artwork. Many job training programs in packaging and manufacturing can lead to employment at the same site. These are often through a formal apprenticeship program, a PIP (Paid Internship Program), a college setting, and/or a worksource center like America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC).
Depending on a program’s criteria, families may be able to submit an application before a student completes high school. Agencies vendored with one Regional Center may be easily vendored with another, so keep that in mind if an agency of interest is not with your assigned Regional Center. The biggest caveat to Regional Center–supported programs is the wait list. While some programs have immediate availability, others can be a one- to three-year wait.
In this clip, special education advocate (and owner of KnowIEPs) Dr. Sarah Pelangka, BCBA-D, highlights the importance of making sure that the program your student is interested in is the right fit for them:
Adult day or community-based programs
Person-Centered Planning (PCP)
To make a person-centered plan means to focus on the whole person and their desires, interests, preferences, and dreams. It means to begin with the individual’s vision of themselves in the future, bringing together the various people and organizations involved in their life, and working together to help bring that vision to reality.
_ Our children with ASD are now thirty-one and twenty-six, but when they were first diagnosed, they were referred to as “consumers" by the Regional Center. The "consumer" was not a part of the planning process; rather, parents and professionals made decisions on their behalf. As our society has progressed, so has the way we deliver services.
Our son, Danny, receives a service called Supported Living Services (SLS) and is delivered by a vendor of the Regional Center. The SLS provider utilizes a PCP approach, and it has been invaluable for us. Danny moved out of our home seven years ago; the PCP includes having a monthly "circle meeting." Every month, Danny's circle of support meets and discusses relevant issues. I attend as many of these as I can, but the circle can include his job coach, his therapist, his Regional Center coordinator, and his caregivers with whom he lives.
I have learned so much through this process, and so much of it has been about "letting go" for me. I'm sure that many parents raising children with disabilities can relate. We’ve had to be in charge of so many things in order to provide the very best care for our children. These days, Danny doesn't want me to be in charge of his life. And it has been a process for me to learn to let go and allow him the dignity of making as many decisions about his life as he possibly can. This also means giving him the dignity to make his own mistakes—and to learn from them—just like we did (and still do).
Having a "circle" around Danny has enabled me to be Danny's mom. I'm not his therapist, I'm not the one helping him with his daily household chores. I'm not the one checking on him at work. I'm not the one making sure he gets where he needs to be. I get to be his mom, and that's the role I am privileged to call my favorite. _