Shannon Bettencourt is the Caregiver Homes Care Manager for the Attleboro Branch in Mass.
Many parents caring for a child with a disability ask us, “What happens when my child turns 22?” The President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education reported: “Students with disabilities are significantly unemployed and underemployed upon leaving school compared to their peers who do not have disabilities. Too many students with disabilities leave school without successfully earning any type of diploma, and they attend post-secondary programs at rates lower than their nondisabled peers. Adults with disabilities are much less likely to be employed than adults without disabilities. Unemployment rates for working-age adults with disabilities have hovered at the 70 percent level for at least the past 12 years, which the Commission finds to be wholly unacceptable.”
What can the caregiver do?
Work with your child’s school system to start transition planning as early as age 14. Transition planning should take place as part of your child’s IEP (Individual Education Plan). Transition planning includes a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability.
- Being present and participating in community life.
- Gaining and maintaining satisfying relationships.
- Expressing preferences and making choices in everyday life.
- Having opportunities to fulfill respected roles and to live with dignity.
- Continuing to develop personal competencies.
What can the Caregiver Homes team do to help?
- Help facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, and independent living.
- Coordinate with the school system and adult services.
- Provide on-going support, monthly education, and resources.
Here are some great videos/resources to get you started!