Transition to Employment for Young Adults with Disabilities: What We (as Parents and Community Suppo

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What can we do? As parents, we’ve learned there are no guarantees and no magic solutions that work for everyone. However, we’ve also learned that certain factors in the process, like becoming well educated in IEPs, advocacy and connecting with the right parents, administrators and teachers, finding the right insurances, doctors, medications, therapists, social experiences and summer camps, make our children’s odds better. As our children head into the next phase of their lives, young adulthood, many of us are asking how can we best help them to beat the odds? Also, what can we do to ensure success in employment to help them experience the joy and empowerment of independence?

Letting Go. One of the great challenges of our lives is the transition years from ages 14 through 25. Where services are available, teachers tell me that young adults are not getting out into the community and are not accessing employment and community transportation supports because their parents’ fear is holding them back. Getting to ‘letting go’ is not always easy (it may take supports and services), but like any teenager, they will learn by doing. They will make mistakes. They may get hurt or not always handle situations in the best way possible. However, in order to effectively begin the transition process, parents and families need to start at home and at school by supporting independent activities and stepping back as much as possible. As a parent, I like to look to adults with disabilities as role models, namely those who have a similar disability to my son, and learn how that person achieved success.

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