Transition into Adulthood

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Growing up is never easy for any child, but for children with Cerebral Palsy, there are some factors that are in play that other children aren’t affected by.

The goal of transitioning to adulthood is one that involves making sure young people with Cerebral Palsy have access to job training, secondary educations and independent living. But there’s also an added dimension that can affect how children with Cerebral Palsy mature: Do they have enough confidence to interact with others? Do they have social skills that will allow them to take advantage of personal and professional opportunities?

Transitioning is a matter of securing the right services at the right time for each child. Because every child’s condition is unique, services may be intensive or minimal. Either way, they should be designed to help children enter the workforce, live independently and gain some control over their future lives.

For children with Cerebral Palsy, transitioning into adulthood starts earlier than children without disabilities. Around the age of 16, special education programs work within a transition plan to evaluate and train a young adult for adulthood. It behooves a teen to take advantage of this opportunity for their future happiness and success. And, it requires the child to take the reins while the parents gain the confidence to let go.

About this stage of the journey

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TRANSITION

Like all young people, children with cerebral palsy face many transitions. But, how these stages of growth and development take place can involve developing confidence and helping them cope, to preparing them for independent living and instilling life skills. Help your child prepare for adulthood.

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Helpful suggestions:

  • Begin life lessons as early as the toddler stage.
  • Find ways to accommodate, adapt or modify to participate, include and accomplish.
  • Socialize early, and develop healthy relationships. Refer to Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development for a guide.
  • Optimize ability to be mobile.
  • Optimize ability to communicate.
  • Take advantage of the special education opportunities to the fullest extent; in adulthood these opportunities reportedly aren’t as readily available.
  • Transition from Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, to Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI.
  • Work with the school system to transition child appropriately through all stages of the education process, including the transition into adulthood phase that generally starts at the age of 16.
  • Prepare for independence and self-sufficiency to the greatest extent possible.
  • Develop life and coping skills.
  • Consider occupational therapy to develop strategies to accomplish feats that seem challenging or for tasks that allow the young adult to participate in areas of interest or employ.
  • Participate in workforce development programs to assess abilities, career plan, skill train, and job hunt.
  • Learn trade skills.
  • Consider college.
  • Obtain adapted driver’s license, or learn to navigate the transportation system.
  • Consider personal care assistance, home health care support or service animals.
  • Plan for housing or rental needs.
  • Master money management, bill payment, banking and budgeting.