Planning for where the individual will live after leaving school is an essential part of the transition process. There is a range of housing options available, and it is important to begin early to determine eligibility, secure funding, identify the preferred model, and to be sure that service providers are in place to facilitate the transition.
Eligibility is based on a whole range of skills and abilities. Typically the Supports Intensity Scale is an assessment tool used to determine eligibility for different services.
State agencies also help to determine eligibility, although the criteria varies somewhat from state to state. Examples include:
The team must begin the process of determining eligibility as early as possible. See the Transition Timeline for details.
Funding depends on the individual state and it is essential to work closely with your adult services agency. As mentioned above, this process should begin early. In addition to funding that may be available through adult services agencies in the state, other sources include:
Factors in choosing a model:
One key to the selection of housing is the recognition that it must meet the needs of the individual at that time in their life. This means that this may change across the lifespan, so that, for example, the place they live when they graduate from high school won’t necessarily be their final housing arrangement for the rest of their life.
Some teams choose to work with an independent broker to try to identify the most appropriate option. This is particularly helpful if there is no one on the staff who specializes in this area. In addition an independent broker is an objective agent, without a particular opinion about what placement will be best. For more information see: www.supportbrokers.org
Models of housing options include:
When planning for the living situation for an individual, it is very important to look at what staff are present and what their training needs might be. Adult services for the blind and school staff can work together to provide the initial training and support to facilitate a smooth transition.
By Charlotte Cushman