ICCD is excited to announce the launch of a new service to assist families navigate what can be a long, confusing and often emotional process of transitioning a child from Special Education to Adult Services. While often characterized as “dropping off a cliff,” a successful transition can happen with advance knowledge and individualized planning. Liz Fahey joins ICCD as a Transition Coach, who will work with families at all points of the transition process. With a full team of clinicians and a long history of understanding developmental needs, we at ICCD are eager for our families to tap into her wealth of knowledge.For families preparing to enter Transition (age 12-14): Learn what Transition really means and what the beginning of the process should look like. Prepare for the realities when Special Education ends and about the difference between an Educational Entitlement and Adult Eligibility. Know the laws defining the Transition process under IDEA, what a Chapter 688 referral is, and when it should happen. Review what a good Transition Planning Form (TPF) looks like and know that it’s not a copy and paste from the IEP. Discover the types of assessments your child should have and ensure they are ongoing as they play a crucial role in advocating for appropriate services.
For those already in the Transition Process (age 14-18): Together we will break down what adult services really means. DDS, MRC, and DMH are some of the State agencies that provide services when school ends, and it is important to know what agency may make sense (or, that you can work with more than 1), as well as how the referral process works and what it really looks like after school ends. Learn about other resources and public benefits such as AFC, PCA, SSI, Guardianship, Food Assistance, and Housing programs, just to name a few, that are all available to help fund your child’s adult life once school ends (and many that can begin now). Take time to think forward — will your child work, attend a day program, live at home, or are there other options available. Determine what your child’s vision is and what strengths and challenges will allow your child to achieve their/your vision. Along with your child’s Team, host a Future’s Planning Party to gather and brainstorm on these short and long term goals. Examine if your child’s school placement is appropriate based on that vision. For all this and much more, we want to help prepare you for what lies ahead and be a trusted resource during the process.
For students in the final phase of Transition (age 18-22): We work quickly to ensure families are up to speed on the many topics mentioned above. We then coach parents and prioritize the process. Knowing time is ticking, having an idea (or at the very least, discussions) about what’s next, both short and long term, becomes imperative at this phase. It is then crucial to maximize the final years of your child’s education, teaching skills to align with their goals. Parents play a key role by working with the Team to ensure compliance with transition laws that aim to ensure students will live, work and attend post-secondary education as independently as possible when they leave school. During the final two years of special education the school system makes a Chapter 688 Referral. This process sets in motion the creation of an ITP (Individualized Transition Plan) and alerts the adult service agencies about your child’s needs once school services end. Although your child’s team may agree and make a 688 Referral to an agency, there is no guarantee that eligibility will be granted for adult services, or that funding and/or space will be available. While appeals are an option, preparing for uncertainty presents challenges we can guide you through. We work closely with families to explore traditional and non-traditional adult service options, included but not limited to: Community Based Day Programs, Employment Agencies, Group Homes, Social and Recreation Programs, and Transportation options.