Parents can ensure that their special education son/daughter’s transition to adult life is as smooth as possible by taking the following steps prior to graduation.

Parental Rights: All parental rights will transition to the student when he or she reaches age 18. Students must notify the school district in writing that their parents, guardian, or surrogate parent shall continue to have the right to make educational decisions when he/she turns 18.

Apply for Guardianship: Parents of students with disabilities need to consider guardianship, since children become adults at age 18 (see above), and they attain all the legal rights and responsibilities of any adult. Full or partial guardianship, the legal power to care for another person and manage his/her affairs, is available through the local probate court. Guardianship can be applied for six months prior to your child turning age 18; only the courts can appoint a guardian.

Apply for Financial Assistance: Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Medicaid /Title 19 for medical insurance. If appropriate, meet with a Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Benefits Counselor to understand how job wages will impact Social Security benefits and can be managed.

Students 18 years of age and older when at home: Parents should set realistic goals, encourage greater independence, build self-esteem, encourage social integration, provide real life experiences, encourage good grooming habits, and provide opportunities to manage money. Parents should refer to the state’s Building A Bridge: A Transition Manual for Students for additional information.

Students 18 years of age or older when at school: Parents also need to work closely with the school to monitor and assist the young adult in achieving individualized transition goals and objectives, as outlined in the Student Success Plan (career, academic, social/emotional and behavioral skills), and as specified on the IEP. Post-school outcomes, post-secondary training, and independent living skills should be reviewed and modified annually.

Ask for consideration by the school district for your son/daughter to receive transition-only services between the ages of 18 and 21 if all academic requirements for graduation have been met, but the student still needs to meet vocational and independent living goals and objectives for transition.

Identify an Appropriate Outside Adult Services Agency: A year before exiting school or graduation, parents should identify and apply to one of the appropriate outside state agencies to explore post-graduation services which are available to the young adult.

  1. The Department of Developmental Services (DDS). Call the regional Helpline. If your intellectually or multiply-disabled child is eligible for services, and you have been assigned a DDS caseworker, participate in a Level of Need interview (LON) to determine what level of supports and funding should be provided to support your child. With the DDS worker, identify the employment goal and the supports that will best meet your son/daughter’s needs, through the Individual Plan (IP) which you will mutually develop.
  2. The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), if appropriate, based on the student’s disability.
  3. The Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), which includes the Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB) and the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), which provides employment services, based on post-secondary employment goals, for eligible students.

Use the Summary of Performance that you completed with your school team to help adult providers and support people get to know your son/daughter and what type of supports are needed.

Obtain a State of CT ID Card: If the young adult does not have a CT Driver’s License, the state ID card, which is obtained at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), is essential for legally providing personal information.

Obtain a Public Transportation Reduced Fare Card and /or Para Transit Services that may be needed to get your son/daughter to a job or an adult services agency.

Assist your son/daughter in obtaining a part-time paying job, prior to graduation, which matches the student’s career preferences and strengths

Employment Searches: Share your son/daughter’s Career Portfolio, with updated work experiences, volunteering and jobs through school, as well as a current resume. One to one assistance in completing cover letters, resumes, job applications, job searching, and practice interviews is available and may be appropriate through CT’s One Stop Career Center (CTWORKS).