It feels like yesterday you first laid eyes on your precious one. I know. The days were long, but the years flew. Now it’s high school. High school! That means your child’s adulthood is rapidly approaching, and it’s time to prepare him or her for a satisfying life as a grown-up.
If a “satisfying life as a grownup” truly is the goal, the important questions to ask your son and yourself in your quest to support him are:
- What leisure activities would my child enjoy as an adult?
- How can my child be active in his community?
- Where would my child want to live?
- What job would be a good fit for my child?
- Who can be in my child’s circle of support in his adulthood? (This includes family, friends, and any support needed to attain a job or independent living.)
Your child may have specific desires and realistic dreams for himself, making his transition from high school to adult life relatively straightforward. In this case, you, your child, and his educational team will meet to establish long-term goals and short-term objectives to prepare your child for his ambitions. For example, transition goals and objectives for the next several years may include:
- necessary skills for independent life as a person who is blind or visually impaired (such as advanced orientation and mobility and money management),
- improved social skills,
- exploring adaptive techniques for recreational activities,
- assistive technology skills,
- preparing for college with a visual impairment,
- conducting a successful job search,
- succeeding at work with a visual impairment,
- locating blindness-specific services for adults who are blind.
If your child has additional disabilities that make his desires and dreams unclear and complicated, the transition team should begin by discovering the possibilities for your child. Ideally, a voluntary series of personal futures planning meetings would take place with your son and all who support him now, and those who will continue to support him throughout his adult life. The group of family members, educators, and community supports would aim to understand your child’s goals for a satisfying adult life (such as fulfilling employment, a gratifying living situation, leisure pursuits, and a plan for future finances); identify barriers to reaching the goals; and establish a plan to overcome the obstacles. The meetings can continue throughout your child’s lifetime.
As you look to the upcoming school year and seek to support your child’s shift to adult life, remember to prioritize identifying his goals and desires when creating transition and employment goals. Thereafter, utilize FamilyConnect’s “Teenagers’ Transition to Independence” section and the tools and resources within APH CareerConnect to prepare your child for “a satisfying adult life.”
Teachers of transition-age students who are blind or visually impaired, please utilize APH CareerConnect’s Lesson Plan Section to teach many transition-related concepts and skills.