When your child becomes a teenager, you'll need to start planning for his or her future after high school. Where will your child live as an adult? Is college or vocational school an option? What about employment?
It's a lot to consider, but transition planning can help. With some careful thought and help from your child's school, doctors, and your state's government agencies, you can make the move to adulthood as smooth as possible for you and your child.
Here are 6 steps to consider.
Step 1: Start the Transition Plan
Some schools start planning for a teen's future at age 13 or 14; by federal law, a transition individualized education program (IEP) must be started by age 16. The transition IEP addresses whether a teen is able to:
- remain in high school until the end of the year that he or she turns 21. This extra time can allow your child to complete graduation requirements, or attend vocational rehabilitation to learn job skills and try jobs of interest. Students also may focus on developing independent living skills, including how to get around on public transportation and handle money.
- complete the requirements for a high school diploma. If your teen is not on the diploma track, what will it take for him or her to earn a certificate of completion or attendance?
- go to college or trade school, and if so, how to get there.
If higher education is not a good fit, maybe:
- employment with or without support from a job coach; or
- a day program, in which your teen engages in the arts and other activities.
The IEP team will talk with you and your teen about goals for the future.