By Sheila Edwards, Parent Liaison
Helping a child transition into adulthood can be difficult for any family. But sometimes individuals with special needs require additional preparation and support to prepare them for that change from older child to young adult. In this blog we will explore a few steps families can take to help them on this journey.
During their teenage years, an individual’s family may want to consider applying for programs such as the Family Supports Waiver (FSW) and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services. The Waiver provides services and supports to assist people in their home and the community to develop relationships and become more independent. VR Services can help people with disabilities explore employment interests and skills, find their first job, and access assistive technology to support them in their work.
At home, parents may encourage their child to help with daily tasks in order to increase independent living skills, create a sense of responsibility, and boost confidence. Example tasks could include sorting laundry, carrying groceries, cooking, and doing dishes, as appropriate for their developmental level.
Some individuals with autism and other special needs are unable to manage their own care and safety without assistance, or to communicate their needs and wants. Their parents may want to meet with an expert to discuss whether guardianship, or alternatives to guardianship, might be appropriate for their child once they reach adulthood.
When a child turns 18 and becomes an adult, they can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). According to Family Voices Indiana, “SSI is a monthly amount of money paid to individuals who are disabled and have limited income and resources. For age 18 and older, only the income and resources of the person who is disabled is countable,” not the income of their parents.
There can be many other factors for families to consider as their child with special needs approaches the age of 18. Sometimes this process can feel overwhelming, and parents may not know where to start. Meeting with someone to decide on a list of tasks and to prioritize goals may be helpful. Families are encouraged to reach out to Cornerstone’s Parent Liaison for ideas and resources, as well as organizations like Family Voices and The Arc of Indiana.
June 26, 2020, Sheila Edwards