After high school youth, regardless of if they have a disability are looking forward to finally “getting out of the house”. As a parent, you likely want your child to be as independent as possible as they move into adulthood. A successful transition to living independently in the community will vary based on each child’s readiness to deal with the life change, and will vary based on each child and family’s cultural expectations.
The community though is bigger than just living independently. It’s important for your child to know how to join social clubs, rec centers, and make friends.
What’s My Role?
- Supporting your child in discovering their interests. Many times, clubs and sports that a student enjoys in high school can become a social activity to make friends as an adult.
- Develop your child’s competency in: (a) managing finances, (b) selecting, managing and maintaining a home; (c) caring for personal needs; (d) raising children and living as a family; (e) buying and preparing food; (f) buying and caring for clothes; (g) engaging in civic activities; (h) using recreation and leisure; and (i) getting around the community.
- Encourage your child to take on responsibility for self-care (taking medication, preparing their lunch, waking up on time). High school is a great time to be the training wheels on their “life bike” to help them continue to move forward.
- Be aware of adult service systems/agencies and the population they serve. Examples will include: DDA, Centers for Independent Living, Medicaid,
- Engage in financial planning especially for students who have a low-incidence (not common) disability. Know about estate planning, guardianship, and trusts.
- Support the development of a personal network to access during an emergency.
- Make sure you child has an adult they trust and can talk to about “the hard stuff”. This can include sexuality, drugs and other difficulties of adolescence.
- Help them learn about their “Must Have” papers.
Want to Learn More?
- DC CIL assists DC Residents with significant disabilities to live independently in their homes or communities.
- This manual is to help people with disabilities increase community membership
- I Can Do It! A great away to introduce to youth skills they will need to live on their own.
- Where will our children live when they grow up?
- PACER Center has this great 10 tools to help your child navigate safely puberty and adolescence