Part 2 – Life after High School:
The transition from adolescence to adulthood is challenging for any youth and though many teenagers make the transition without a hitch, for young adults with disabilities, the challenges are even greater.
For those not familiar with the term “transition plan”, it is the process of planning and setting meaningful future goals while in high school. Transition is a period in which something undergoes a change and passes from one stage to another. For example, if the disabled student were working on job skills in high school then perhaps a normal transition would be for him/her to sharpen that skill through vocational training after graduation; and the students Individual Education Plan (IEP) should indicate that particular transition service.
Historically, disabled students were less likely to engage in vocational training, seek higher education or employment opportunities because the information and opportunities were not readily available; not to mention, many did not have a suitable transition plan in place or their IEP did not include a plan at all.
The Department of Education (DOE) has made great strides to improve this service, and recognized the significance of a well-designed transition plan. For this and other reasons, DOE in conjunction with President Obama has appropriated grants to help sustain programs for disabled students in the transition phase. The intent of these programs is to focus on academic and job skills in postsecondary schools programs for students with disabilities and provides the support they need to succeed.
So where do you begin? Begin, if at all possible, at least 2 years before graduation to ensure the plan makes sense and it is a natural positive progression of development for your transition age child. Look at Youthhood.org a free, interactive website that young adults and their teachers, parents and mentors can use to plan for life after high school their only requirement is that users register on their site http://www.youthhood.org/
You may also visit Disability.gov This site has invaluable resources for students with disabilities, parents, teachers, and anyone searching for information about life after high school. https://www.disability.gov/education/student_resources/preparing_for_college
Also, below I have compiled sub-sections of information and resources to help you in your search.
Preparing for higher education: Training for Future Success
College Guides – visit below sites for a comprehensive look at college options
Disability Friendly Colleges – this online college guide for students with physical disability contains interactive charts of the most disability friendly colleges and profiles of the colleges that provide services necessary for students with physical disabilities to live on campus
Preparing for a Vocational Training: Development & Leadership
If college is not an option, you may want to consider an internship or apprenticeship program. Below are sites to help you get started.
Volunteering: Finding your niche
In the event you are unable to find an educational and vocational opportunity that suits your young adult perhaps volunteering may help them find their niche.
National Youth Leadership Network – Promotes leadership development, education, employment, independent living, health, and wellness among young people with disabilities. http://www.nyln.org/
AmeriCorps - This program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service that allows people of all ages and background to obtain help paying for education in exchange for a year of service. http://www.americorps.gov/
National Service Resources – NSR methods for including people with disabilities in national service programs, including accessibility, assessments, mentoring, special education, students as camp counselors, and many other ideashttp://www.nationalserviceresources.org/practices/topic/152
United We Serve – Visit The United We Serve search engine to find hundreds of volunteer opportunities. Simply select a category from the drop down menu in the blue box in the upper right hand corner of the home page, enter your zip code or state and click the “Find Opportunities Now” button. http://www.serve.gov/
Remember, there is no time like the present. Start planning today!
 http://www.youthhood.org/ description as written on site
 http://www.disabilityfriendlycolleges.com/ description as written on site
 http://www.americorps.gov/ description as written on site
 http://www.nationalserviceresources.org/practices/topic/152 description as written on site
 http://www.serve.gov/ description as written on site