What Do I Do with My Child Once They Graduate High School?
Question: I am often asked by my couples: “What do I do with my child once they graduate High School? Why does their IEP have them graduating with the rest of their class? Are there any options for them attending college?”
Advice: As a parent of 2 special needs children, I can identify with this conundrum and all the complications which surround it. The first point that I would like to address is the issue surrounding High School. Technically, the school isn’t really going to have them “graduate” with the rest of their class. In all likelihood, they will “age out” of High School by age 21. It’s at that point that a plan has to be addressed in order to continue keeping their lives productive.
So, what can a parent do while their child is in High School? They can research programs that deal with young adults who are aging out. In New York, we have programs such as; YAI, AHRC, The Clubhouse and FEGS to name a just a few. They have terrific resources which are available and are very cooperative with assisting in making decisions.
In all likelihood, they will “age out” of High School by age 21
There are college programs that incorporate the special needs population, including a component of education that can prepare the young adult for an occupation that they can manage. These also need to be researched. There are 2 programs in the Connecticut area that have actually specialized in not only the education but also the placement afterwards in housing and job searching in the Connecticut area.
You need to research in your area, and be willing to go out of area, in order to find what is best for your child. As parents of special needs children, it is our job to persevere and research in order to better assist our children. What better role models can we be if not to just show our children to never give up?
- Where to Go if Your Child Needs a Job or Help with Post High School Education
- Educational Options After High School for Students with Special Needs
- What to Do After High School?
- Preparing for the First Apartment: Beyond Home Furnishings and Domestic Supplies
- Did You Know About the Independent Living Center?
- When Is the Right Time to Transition from Your Home to a Group Home?
- “Person-Ventured” Entrepreneurship Series
Have a happy back to school!
Robin Newman, LCSW
This post originally appeared on our September/October 2010 Magazine