Let’s Talk About Transition Planning For Children With Disabilities
When you are in the throes of special education, IEPs, 504s and endless meetings, it’s hard to think about planning for the future when you are still trying to plan for the here and now. There is so much that goes into managing the life of a child with a significant disability, be it physical or otherwise, that just trying to keep up feels like enough for one lifetime. The delicate topic that is hard to think about is transition planning for children with disabilities.
For many parents in this situation, the idea of their child living apart from them is not even an option. Still, there will come a time when you and/or your co-parent will no longer be able to care for your child. When that happens, decisions will need to be made. Thinking about a future that includes what will happen when your child needs to be cared for by someone else, will need to go along with your retirement planning.
Things To Think About In Transition Planning For Children With Disabilities
If you have gone through will planning, you have likely assigned a caretaker for your child should you and your co-parent pass away. It is reasonable to consider whether or not that assigned person or persons would be able to fill that role if this scenario should play out decades from now. If your currently assigned caretakers are your parents, consider that an elderly couple may not be the ideal caretakers for an adult with a significant disability.
It is wise to think about who in your family orfor circle of close friends would be a good fit for this role and talk to them about the possibilities for when this situation will arise. It is not an “if” as to no longer being able to care for your child but “when.” Come up with a few possibilities and have a discussion with them about why you need to think about transition planning for children with disabilities and the responsibility their commitment to you and your future adult with a disability means for them.
Oftentimes, the person who fills the role of in-home care provider for their family member is the sibling of the child you are planning the transition for. Keep that in mind. This conversation with them may need to happen in the future.
Financial Planning For Transition Planning For Children With Disabilities
Next, you will need to think about your child’s financial future. Most adults with permanent disabilities will qualify for social security as a means of financial income and also insurance benefits. Maybe your child already has disability benefits. If not, do some research on what someone with their disability qualifies for and figure out if that will be enough to cover their expenses in the event you are no longer able to provide for them. Part of your retirement planning may need to include financial provision for your child in the future.
What kinds of work would they be capable of doing when they finish school? If your child is able to successfully become employed, you can factor how that would impact their future and plan for that as a contribution to their own living expenses as well. Take some time to figure out what your expenses are for the care of your child now as a means of understanding exactly what is needed in the future. Consider medical supplies and insurance copayments for supplies and services as well.
Sometimes Transition Planning Also Includes Care Services
Depending on what your child’s disability is, there may also need to be consideration for what kinds of care services your child should have when you are not able to care for them. Will they need to go to a day program that specializes in their disability once they finish their education? Will your child need a personal care attendant? How about special transportation? Many adults with disabilities have services that help them in their daily life and ease the burden of family members caring for them.
It’s a good idea to think about what kinds of services your child will need as an adult and factor those into your plans. Now that you have covered some major bases with transition planning, it’s time to write it all out and make it known to your family members and those who are involved in the care of your child in the future.
Communicating About Transition Planning For Children With Disabilities
Once you have crafted your transition plan, you need to share it with all of those involved. Not only will the person(s) who agreed to fill your role as family caregiver need to know what is in your transition plan but they will need to know what important medical and financial information they will need to care for your child going forward. This will include names and contact information for doctors, specialists, medication lists, who will be in charge of your child’s finances and how to contact them, what services need to be arranged and what will be provided. How will you get all that information in the hands of the correct people?
eCare Vault is a cloud-based, secure platform that enables parents to successfully manage transition planning for children with disabilities and coordinate those plans in real time with the parties involved in the care and planning. Not only can you upload documents, your child’s transition care team are able to read, comment and communicate with other members of the care team seamlessly. It really is planning for the future with technology that will be able to sustain all the document management and communication for your child’s successful adult life. If you are a parent faced with transition planning for children with disabilities, get your login today, take a deep breath, and start your child’s future off on the right foot with eCare Vault.