School has begun, which can be an exciting time, but also a stressful one. As our children get older it’s natural to think about the next step. This can be especially daunting for our highschoolers that are about to enter adulthood. Transition planning may seem overwhelming, but here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan for the future.
Your overall plan can include goals for job placement or job skills training, independent living goals, financial goals, and/or social/romantic goals. Also keep in mind that family members or teachers can provide input related to goals and the overall plan for the future, but the individual should always be involved in all steps of the transition planning process.
Goals should be SMART. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
- Specific—concise, well defined, determines the who, what, when, where, and why
- Measurable—How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? Develop key indicators that tell you that you’re making progress
- Achievable—make sure that the goal selected is a “just right challenge.” They should push the individual to expand their skill set, but shouldn’t be overwhelming. Remember that you can always add more difficult goals after mastering smaller goals first!
- Relevant—Are these goals working toward a common purpose? Are they supporting the individual’s growth in the best way possible?
- Time-Based—what is a realistic timeframe in which this goal can be achieved? Remember that you can always adjust timelines at a later date too.
Collaboration with your child’s educators and health care providers can help promote a smoother transition. Your child’s IEP team should meet regularly to assess goals and facilitate the transition to higher education, job training, or participation in community programs. There may be other mental health, behavioral health, or medical professionals who are providing care to your child and it is important to work with them to develop a plan for care.
Here are some other resources to consider when looking for additional support when planning for transition:
- Community Mental Health: https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/keep-mi-healthy/mentalhealth/mentalhealth/cmhsp/local-mental-health-services
- Michigan Rehabilitative Services: https://www.michigan.gov/leo/bureaus-agencies/mrs
- The Arc of Michigan: https://arcmi.org/
- Michigan Alliance for Families: https://www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/
- MiABLE: https://www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid/saving-and-planning/miable
Our MiNavigator program assists families in finding resources to meet their individualized needs. Consider connecting with a navigator today: https://autismallianceofmichigan.org/contact-minavigator/