Transition Planning 

While some might define independent living simply as "living by one's self," it means a great deal more to people with disabilities. Independent living is a philosophy and a social movement that grew out of the period in our history when people with disabilities moved back into their home communities after years of dependence and isolation in large institutions. In this sense, independent living means the opportunity to exercise choice, to be treated as an adult, and to realize one's dreams. 

Just like any young person, meaningful self-direction takes many years of planning and practice. This may involve taking risks and trying things that do not work out the way one hoped.  For parents, it can be tempting to "protect" our son or daughter from such mishaps, especially if he or she has a disability. Giving our child with ASD the opportunity to make his or her own mistakes involves both a careful assessment of risk and tremendous courage. Once again, parents often find themselves in a place with no easy answers.



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By comparison, the "nuts and bolts" of independent living are refreshingly practical. Once again, however, the information you need -- about transportation, housing, self-advocacy, daily living skills -- may be difficult to find and even harder to organize in a way that speaks to your own particular situation. Whether the young person that you support does, in fact become self-supporting and independent of family, or whether he or she continues to live at home with government-funded supports, it can be empowering to explore all of these aspects of typical adult life, along with employment and educational opportunities.  Person-centered planning is a process that structures this conversation and looks at who in an individual's life might be available to help turn a desired goal into a reality. Transition planning in the individualized education plan (IEP) can also be used as early as age 14 to lay the groundwork for greater independence, to access resources, and to help a student develop a sense of personal autonomy.  Coaching is an emerging best practice that provides adults at any age with a opportunity to chart a clear path toward a desired outcome.  Living life on one's own terms is the prize, the vision that parents have for any son or daughter.  As anxious, prolonged, or challenging as this transition period may be, it's a journey well worth taking.


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Transition Planning
Contact

The NH Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders
21 S. Fruit Street
Concord, NH  03301
info@nhcouncilonasd.org

Council HOMECouncil BROCHURENH Virtual Resource CtrCALENDAR of EventsASD in the News

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