Special Needs Transition Timeline Series (14-Year-Old)
The transition from special needs student to functioning adults begins with indicating goals and challenges within the already existing student’s respective IEP (Individualized Education Program), begins at the age of 14.
As required by a state’s specific special education rules and regulations, the IEP is usually reviewed on a yearly basis allowing the transition plan to be adjusted and evaluated accordingly. We begin teaching and helping the student based upon their respective disabilities to acquire and build upon appropriate behaviors for the work environment.
Family Planning for Starters
While the IEP will focus on specific school programs supporting them learning the beginnings of life skills and soft skills necessary for the transition to be successful, parents can to the best of their abilities begin to support some simple skills sets of responsibilities at home ranging from chores to personal grooming. But be aware that the school is not responsible for monitoring “at-home” goals.
Emergency preparedness is an important topic as students enter society. Developing a family plan is a good idea. As for the future, setting up a Special Needs Trust can be addressed, if applicable. Even end-of-life plans may be brought up. It is never too early.
The School’s Role during this age bracket
As mentioned earlier, the IEP is evaluated yearly and any concerns or questions pertaining to the specifics of transition should be in writing. Any need for assistive technology (AT) devices, behavioral support should be written into the IEP. Students are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities, school activities, create partnerships and build relationships to the best of their abilities. It helps to think of the IEP as a “whole unit” of goals from year-to-year to better serve the individual students’ goals from 14-21.
Healthcare Planning (First Steps)
While our goal will always be to afford our students all the opportunities that students without disabilities receive, we must remain ever-vigilant when it comes to their disabilities. It is a matter of health and health coverage. Ask questions at doctor appointments. If you are on Medicaid, be sure to obtain EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment) services, which is their child health component.
Create a list of contacts for doctors, therapists, equipment vendors, etc., in case of emergency. Seek out care management through your insurance company to help with services and needs. Develop the following: a portable medical summary that includes medications and a family medical history.
These will be concurrent throughout a child’s transition to adulthood. At this age, we teach them how to order meals at food establishments and pay for items at the store on their own (such as during a school field trip). When applicable, we will support them to be able to learn how to use a mobile phone, if applicable. Most importantly, we continue to increase the independence of activities of daily living, such as dressing, feeding, grooming, and functional life skills such in both math and reading.
“While the transition articles series strives to cover a range of important milestone markers that parents need to be concerned with as their child progresses through the various age groups, their own individual challenges may dictate what are the best options and resources that have proven best over time. Please be sure to fully discuss “all” of the recommendations outlined here with your support team”.
Alpha School an private special education school in New Jersey
Our Mission at The Alpha School is to help all of our special needs students with the learning, social, language, and behavioral support they deserve. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student to becoming the best they can while providing a safe and nurturing educational environment.
We would be more than happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.370.1150, or request a tour of Alpha School of Jackson, NJ located just minutes off of Route 9 and Route 195 in Ocean County.
— John Gonzalez, Principal-Alpha School, Jackson, NJ