Guide

10 transition planning tips for parents of young adults who are blind

Working together, parents, young adults and professionals can build a transition planning roadmap to a happier, fulfilling adult life.

Teaching children to perform small chores like unloading the dishwasher builds confidence while helping them develop independent living skills. Photo Credit: Brian Smith.

Transition planning for your student’s next step is never easy, especially if your young adult is blind or has a visual impairment. At a Perkins School for the Blind workshop for parents, Transition Coordinator Denise Fitzgerald shared advice on how to help your student gain the skills and confidence they need to successfully transition from school to adult life. Here are 10 of her tips:

  1. Think into the future. Parents should start by envisioning a challenging, fulfilling life for their student. Does it consist of college? A job? A home of their own? Transition is the beginning, not the end.
  2. Start young. Encourage your young adult to contribute around the house, no matter how young they are. Whether it’s unloading the dishwasher or hanging up a coat, teaching children to perform small chores builds confidence and helps them develop independent living skills.
  3. Pursue work opportunities. Help your adult child experience as many jobs as possible through work placements or internships. At Perkins, students are exposed to a wide array of vocations from a young age. As a result, they are better prepared to identify career goals as young adults.
  4. Have a back-up plan. Transition planning can be an uncertain time for students and their families – it’s best to be prepared and flexible. Having a Plan A, B and C allows options and possibilities.
  5. Include your young adult. Encourage your student to attend transition planning meetings and include them in the conversation, even if they can’t actively contribute. Pre paving their attendance includes reviewing the agenda, who will be at the meeting and what their role may be. Even a short introduction is a positive starting point for student involvement.
  6. Take a holistic approach. Many parents focus their transition planning around college or careers, but it’s also about building a happy life. Consider their social, wellness, vocational and emotional areas.
  7. Put activities in context. Whenever possible, have your adult child participate in practical, real-life activities. For example, have them purchase ingredients for their lunch, and then prepare it independently.
  8. Follow a timeline. Each state has various requirements that families will need to meet in order to qualify for services and support. A checklist detailing what tasks need to be performed at what age can help families stay on track.
  9. Learn the system. When students who are blind in Massachusetts turn 22, most will qualify for some type of state service. Explore your options and the application requirements well in advance of that day.
  10. Don’t ignore assessments. Assessments provide valuable information about your young adult that state agencies use to determine eligibility for services. Be prepared to have updated neuro psychological evaluations that are not more than three years old when your adult child approaches the age of 21 or 22. State agencies use the data for eligibility, in part.

Perkins Pre-Employment Program

Our Transition Center programs prepare students for life after high school. Check out our offerings to see what is right for you.

Through our Outreach Program, Perkins School for the Blind also offers immersive courses for students and young adults ages 14 to 22, as well as transition ‘short course’ programs for high school students during summer and winter breaks. Take a look to see what’s coming up! 

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