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Transitioning to Semi-Independent Adulthood

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My daughter with mild intellectual disability, hearing loss, adhd, etc. is 17 now and I am officially freaking out about transitioning her to adulthood. Right now she's in 10th grade (she was held back in 1st grade when she lived with her birth family before any diagnoses).

Currently she is enrolled in Seton Home Study and on track to get some sort of Vocational or Standard diploma there. She's doing 5th grade Science and Religion, Pacemaker's Pre-Algebra (very remedial - she was doing Math U See successfully but started capping out in Zeta so we switched gears), Writing Skills 1 (by Diana Hanbury King), and reading middle school level books and writing adapted book reports or doing multiple choice tests on them (Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, Misty of Chincoteague, etc.) Some literary concepts definitely go over her head, but she's comprehending them reasonably well and enjoys reading them. She should graduate at 19.5 years old right now. She tried twice to get a Learner's Permit and failed the test both times so we're putting that on hold and maybe have her try again in a few years but we're assuming now that she won't be able to drive.

So! What is the next step? Our relationship is strained lately because she feels like we expect too much from her and she acts like it's a personal affront any time we mention her getting a job someday or anything. She wants her own apartment after high school and is adamant about that but has no desire/plan to work really so, um, short of us winning the lottery that's not happening, lol!

We're looking to buy a house with a basement apartment with a separate entrance.

If we are able to find one, when would be a good age/stage to transition her to living semi-independently in an attached apartment vs a bedroom in the main family home?

Also, we started the process for SSI and that has been SLOW. We have tried to start the process for the Medicaid ID Waiver and they haven't called us back...it's been like 2 months of us calling regularly trying to catch someone. Even if she does get SSI it looks like it's a tiny amount, like $500/month, so definitely not enough for her to rent an apartment ever.

She wants to be a baker. I think maybe that'd be possible, maybe not. I'd like for her to try at least and our small town community might support her in a home-based endeavor where she baked cakes for people's celebrations, extra treats, etc. I'd have to do all the business end but she could do the cooking just fine. I've also thought she might enjoy working at Subway (cooking...but not totally, lol!) or a pizza restaurant (again, sort of cooking but with a set recipe/repetition), or a coffee shop/bakery but don't know how to get her there.

Anyway, what would you prioritize at each age? Where is the magical checklist of things to teach/do/prepare at each age for a teen with intellectual disability? 😛

For example, this year at 17 I should focus on ............

Next year at 18 I should focus on............

After graduation I should focus on............

Also, anyone have great blogs, books, articles, anything that can help me envision what life might look like for her as a young adult with mild ID? I need encouragement and inspiration for sure!

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I was in your shoes when my son was 17.  

Is she working with a therapist?  Does he/she have insight?  

Each child is so different, it is hard to put perimeters on exact milestones that should be accomplished.

One thing my son's therapist told us was that he was 3-4 years behind socially and emotionally, and in some cognitive ways.  That helped ME to slow down......when he was 17, I expected him to achieve what a neuro-typical child would achieve at 13-14.  He is now 21 and we are seeing more of what a 17-18 year old would be like.  That is now in MY head, completely acceptable and reasonable, given his limitations.

I don't know any resources for you as my child has Autism, so my resources are about Autism.

Does she qualify for Job Corps type program?  My friend's son did, he has Down's.  They put him up in a shared apartment and helped him work 20 hours per week.  They also taught him life skills.

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What state are you in?  I happen to be in New York, and here for the Medicaid waiver, you don’t go through the Medicaid office at first, you go through an agency — there are different agencies (like — there are 2 I could pick from) and you start with them and they help you do a packet and then they are the ones to send the packet to Medicaid, then we wait for a letter from Medicaid.  

But basicall I cannot call the Medicaid office, the person from the agency can call the Medicaid office.  

So if you happen to be in New York, the process is like this.

Is there an ARC near you?  Just if there is, they are a place to try to call, to ask if there is a weird process where you are.  

Where I live, there is a woman who covers a region of the state and part of her job is giving information sessions about how you enroll for benefits.  And then after that to do self-determination (here there are basically two choices, one is enrolling in a day program, and one is self-determination).... you have to attend a 1-hour information meeting, I think they were scheduled about once a month for a reasonable drive for me.  

But this all depends by state.

Is there any way you could be working with your school district because they are supposed to provide transition services (transition-to-adulthood) and I know where we used to live, they would help with filling out paperwork for state programs.  

Just to explain a little more, it has been like this in both states I have lived in..... to some extent, if you are applying for a “waiver” (like an ID waiver), then you are applying for a “waiver program.”  So you apply first to the “waiver program.”  

So you don’t apply to Medicaid for the Medicaid funded waiver program.  As much as this would make sense lolololol.  You apply to the program administering the waiver.  Which could have a different name.  It could be a state agency or it could be a private agency that administers a program.

Be aware in some states they do not fully fund their waiver programs and you go on a long waiting list.  In other states they have great funding.  

Good luck.  My top advice is to call ARC, any organization about a disability, or try the school district, and get help figuring out how this paperwork works.  

Just for example — my son has autism but I went to an information session held at a place that had Cerebal Palsy in the name, because it works that way here.  In the neighboring county I would have gone to an ARC.  Now his agency (which most with autism pick) is called Disabled Persons Action Organization.  

So I would actually start by filling out intake paperwork with them to apply for the Medicaid waiver.  

Good luck!!!!!!!  It is so hard to figure this stuff out!  

For us too, in the counties in this part of the state, there will be one city per county that has these kinds of offices, and so you may not live that close.  But a lot can be done by phone and for my son right now they will come to us.  They have to see him in person once every 3 months or something, but right now they go to his school and see him there.  But over the summer they do have to see him by making arrangements with me, but they can come here, I don’t have to drive him.  

But anyway — it may depend on just where you live.  I hear about county disability boards on here, but I have not lived a place that had them.  It will just depend.  

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What to focus on is holistic and one area is independent living skills.

If you google independent living skills or functional living skills you can see things.

There is also (just as something I know about) a test called a Vineland (iirc) that asks questions about daily living skills, and gives scores, and it includes a lot of things.  It can be used to make goals.  Like — it just asks a lot of questions like “on a scale of 1-5, how well does your child do this,” and then anything where you answer a 1,2, or 3 might be a good goal area.  Or if there is an area with 5s then that could be an area of strength to focus on by extending it.  Like it sounds like you would circle a 5 for cooking, and a higher number for things that would be related to being able to work at Subway (interact with others, stay focused on a task, follow directions).  

That’s just one option but a lot of times goals are more individualized like that, because kids are not going to be in the same place by age.  

Edit: for things like the Vineland, there are people who can look and see “well, with these high areas and these low areas, if these one or two low areas were worked on, it would make it likely that x would work well.”  So some people are good at seeing things like that.  There might be 10 low areas, but one or two that would work really well with strengths, and then they can be good to pick and focus on, and just let some other low areas be low a while longer.  Then there can be more of a balance with being practical and with not being too spread out working on different things, and with things fitting in with strengths can mean there is more of a focus on strengths.  

So a lot of times goals are focused around what will be a meaningful goal for a child, instead of just a list of everything.  There are choices.  

This is the kind of thing I hear at informational sessions.  

At this point for my son the Vineland will just say to focus on language.  It is written for adults and so a lot of questions are about stuff like using a bank or cooking a meal that my son would do anyway because he is too little.  

 

Edited by Lecka
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In New York you basically have to have a Vineland from within the past 3 years to apply for the DD waiver.  We had one through school, but if people do not, in the intake process they will schedule an appointment for this.  But getting the appointment scheduled can add a few months to applying, where I live right now.  I think I remember this right, anyway.  

Edit:  that is just New York, though.  I don’t think they had any issue with having an older autism diagnosis for him.

Edited by Lecka

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Have you looked into county services? In our state, what is offered varies widely from county to county. We recently moved to a county known for offering good services, and our school district has helped connect us to (DS14 has an IEP, and connecting to services is part of his transition plan, so the special ed coordinator has been helping us). DS has qualified for vocational rehabilitation, and he has qualified for a state summer job training program that begins at age 15 and has levels of help that step gradually toward teaching the student job skills so that they can eventually be more independent.

I would not have known how to do any of this without our connection to the school, but the services are there.

Is the vocational program she may participate in focused on food services? When will that start for her (here, vocational ed mostly starts in junior year, but you have to apply earlier).

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I wonder if her reluctance to talk about working and getting a job is related to anxiety, because she has no idea how to go about it. I would hope that the vocational training you have planned might help with this, and that they will include instruction in how to apply for jobs, etc., but it's also something that Vocational Rehabilitation can work on. Making a plan for herself might feel like it is Too Big of an ask, so she wants to avoid thinking about it. I would be careful about having any critical attitude when talking with her about this (not saying that you do, just that it would be easy to fall into).

I think you are going to have to build up to the idea of having a job.

* Has she had instruction in financial literacy? So how to handle money, what kind of expenses are involved in independent living, how to make a budget, etc? I would consider that very important and would add it to her studies as a class, if she has not already learned those things.

* Does she have an allowance? Does she know how to do grocery shopping? Can she cook dinner for the family? Can she clean the bathroom? Those are skills she needs that you could work on, either by incorporating them into a financial literacy/ consumer ed course, or by requiring them as a member of your household. If she has not had those responsibilities yet, I would carefully scaffold the teaching of the skills, instead of just imposing a "you will now start cooking dinner once a week" requirement. Yes, have  her cook dinner once a week (I had to do this as a teen) and do the menu planning and shopping for it, but teach her how to do it in little bits.

* Does she have artistic skills, so that she could learn cookie  or cupcake decorating? I just read an article in our local paper about someone who opened her own cookie business. She just does special orders and has a booth at a farmer's market, etc., but is doing well. She makes only one kind of sugar cookie but in different shapes, and they are painted (with royal icing) in different beautiful ways. Having a goal of making one product like that, but doing it to a high standard, perhaps could be achievable, and there would be specific steps you could work toward bit by bit.

By the way, our state also offers adaptive driver's instruction for those with disabilities who struggle with driving, so you might look into that.

I think the idea of having her live independently but within your home is a good idea. I think about this for my son, who does not have ID but has other disabilities that may limit his ability to have a steady income at a self-supportive level (we are hoping he will be able to support himself, but we also feel cautious). I think that the age that someone could live more independently is going to vary and will depend on the development of life skills, such as cleaning, cooking, managing time, paying for some bills, etc. For DS, I expect those things to take extra time, so I anticipate he would not move into his own apartment until some years into his twenties.

Does she want to live in an apartment? If she has goals for herself, it may be helpful to break those down into smaller steps, so that she can see what it will take for her to get there. If she does not have this as a goal for herself, I think those smaller steps are more likely to be driven by you. In that case, you could mention periodically that she will need to know how to do these things "someday" when she is out on her own, but not necessarily make living on her own the goal you are working toward openly. What I mean is that if she does NOT want to move out, she may be reluctant to work on skills that will lead in that direction, in which case I would downplay that as a goal but still work on the needed skills.

Those are just ideas that I think through for our own situation. And it's not just for my son with disabilities. I have to think about preparing my other kids for adult life, too, in the same kind of ways. All of my kids, for example, need to work on their cooking and cleaning and budgeting skills. So I think about those things, and I know I need to add them into our routine at home, sooner rather than later, now that they are teens.

 

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I have same age same grade child, and feel stressed about approach of adulthood even with out hearing loss and intellectual disability.  I think it is a stressful stage.

One set of Friends of mine had their son do a Good Will program that led into job at a supermarket.  He is still living at home now at age 30-something because he doesn’t have the intellectual ability to manage finances etc.  He did become a very good safe driver.  

Another had their son do an alternative high school program which was training their son to go into culinary arts in some form—at a bakery , in fact, I believe.  I think whatever he does, he follows a set protocol for it.  He’s still living at home now, but they expected him to transition to being in an apartment eventually as of last I heard (he’s only early 20’s — would still be a minor or barely beyond when age of majority was 21.)

He got his food handlers license while still in high school—which I am urging my own son to do, so far unsuccessfully.

It is possible that with enough life skills your dd could live in an apartment in a low cost of living area walking distance or public transport distance to some basic job which could cover her expenses.  Or cover them along with some sort of housing vouchers or other help.

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http://medicaidwaiver.org/state/kansas.html

Maybe this would help -- it looks like it has information about waivers by state.  For the state I used to live in, it has a link to the private agencies, which is where you would start the application there.  

Keep in mind -- there might be a lot of interlocking services.  And it is NOT easy sometimes to find out about them!!!!!!!!!  If there is any organization like ARC in your area, or someone through the school, that knows about all the options available ----- it can be really worthwhile.  Because it is NOT like everything is organized centrally.  It is more like one thing was started in 1950 and it worked great, then a second thing was added in 1970 to address some other things, and it works great also, oh, then another need was seen so the school started a program for youth through age 21, and then there is another program that is for adults but can take youth 18 and up.........  

 

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I also think, if you are calling the right agency, it is time to complain.  Calling for two months is ridiculous.  

You can complain from... their parent agency, up to your state legislator.  

It is just ridiculous.  

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9 hours ago, Storygirl said:

Have you looked into county services? In our state, what is offered varies widely from county to county. We recently moved to a county known for offering good services, and our school district has helped connect us to (DS14 has an IEP, and connecting to services is part of his transition plan, so the special ed coordinator has been helping us). DS has qualified for vocational rehabilitation, and he has qualified for a state summer job training program that begins at age 15 and has levels of help that step gradually toward teaching the student job skills so that they can eventually be more independent.

I would not have known how to do any of this without our connection to the school, but the services are there.

Is the vocational program she may participate in focused on food services? When will that start for her (here, vocational ed mostly starts in junior year, but you have to apply earlier).

I live in the same state, and while the school doesn't have to be a gatekeeper for services, it's often the case that they are. Just a heads up for the OP depending on what state they are in.

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14 hours ago, DawnM said:

I was in your shoes when my son was 17.  

Is she working with a therapist?  Does he/she have insight?  

Each child is so different, it is hard to put perimeters on exact milestones that should be accomplished.

One thing my son's therapist told us was that he was 3-4 years behind socially and emotionally, and in some cognitive ways.  That helped ME to slow down......when he was 17, I expected him to achieve what a neuro-typical child would achieve at 13-14.  He is now 21 and we are seeing more of what a 17-18 year old would be like.  That is now in MY head, completely acceptable and reasonable, given his limitations.

I don't know any resources for you as my child has Autism, so my resources are about Autism.

Does she qualify for Job Corps type program?  My friend's son did, he has Down's.  They put him up in a shared apartment and helped him work 20 hours per week.  They also taught him life skills.

 

Thanks! You know, reminding myself that she's mentally only 12-13 is actually super helpful! I just wish legally she wasn't going to be 18 in 10 months 😞

I didn't realize Job Corps could accept students with significant disabilities like that! Hm, that is definitely worth checking out!

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12 hours ago, Lecka said:

What state are you in?  I happen to be in New York, and here for the Medicaid waiver, you don’t go through the Medicaid office at first, you go through an agency — there are different agencies (like — there are 2 I could pick from) and you start with them and they help you do a packet and then they are the ones to send the packet to Medicaid, then we wait for a letter from Medicaid.  

But basicall I cannot call the Medicaid office, the person from the agency can call the Medicaid office.  

So if you happen to be in New York, the process is like this.

Is there an ARC near you?  Just if there is, they are a place to try to call, to ask if there is a weird process where you are.  

Where I live, there is a woman who covers a region of the state and part of her job is giving information sessions about how you enroll for benefits.  And then after that to do self-determination (here there are basically two choices, one is enrolling in a day program, and one is self-determination).... you have to attend a 1-hour information meeting, I think they were scheduled about once a month for a reasonable drive for me.  

But this all depends by state.

Is there any way you could be working with your school district because they are supposed to provide transition services (transition-to-adulthood) and I know where we used to live, they would help with filling out paperwork for state programs.  

Just to explain a little more, it has been like this in both states I have lived in..... to some extent, if you are applying for a “waiver” (like an ID waiver), then you are applying for a “waiver program.”  So you apply first to the “waiver program.”  

So you don’t apply to Medicaid for the Medicaid funded waiver program.  As much as this would make sense lolololol.  You apply to the program administering the waiver.  Which could have a different name.  It could be a state agency or it could be a private agency that administers a program.

Be aware in some states they do not fully fund their waiver programs and you go on a long waiting list.  In other states they have great funding.  

Good luck.  My top advice is to call ARC, any organization about a disability, or try the school district, and get help figuring out how this paperwork works.  

Just for example — my son has autism but I went to an information session held at a place that had Cerebal Palsy in the name, because it works that way here.  In the neighboring county I would have gone to an ARC.  Now his agency (which most with autism pick) is called Disabled Persons Action Organization.  

So I would actually start by filling out intake paperwork with them to apply for the Medicaid waiver.  

Good luck!!!!!!!  It is so hard to figure this stuff out!  

For us too, in the counties in this part of the state, there will be one city per county that has these kinds of offices, and so you may not live that close.  But a lot can be done by phone and for my son right now they will come to us.  They have to see him in person once every 3 months or something, but right now they go to his school and see him there.  But over the summer they do have to see him by making arrangements with me, but they can come here, I don’t have to drive him.  

But anyway — it may depend on just where you live.  I hear about county disability boards on here, but I have not lived a place that had them.  It will just depend.  

 

We live in VA and we did contact the agency in charge of it (I forget at the moment, but it's a long drawn out name). She was in public school and their transition services were basically nonexistent. They offered nothing but focusing on graduation, self-advocacy for her hearing impairment, and they really wanted her to learn how to use a chromebook (which she used to play kindergarten games online rather than do schoolwork). We are in contact with the department of rehabilitative services which is what the school would have connected her with by senior year, but they can't do anything with her until this coming summer (apparently they have to be 11th grade and up).

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5 hours ago, Lecka said:

I also think, if you are calling the right agency, it is time to complain.  Calling for two months is ridiculous.  

You can complain from... their parent agency, up to your state legislator.  

It is just ridiculous.  

 

Right?! I'm ready to complain too but my husband is always super hesitant to rock the boat.

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12 hours ago, Storygirl said:

Have you looked into county services? In our state, what is offered varies widely from county to county. We recently moved to a county known for offering good services, and our school district has helped connect us to (DS14 has an IEP, and connecting to services is part of his transition plan, so the special ed coordinator has been helping us). DS has qualified for vocational rehabilitation, and he has qualified for a state summer job training program that begins at age 15 and has levels of help that step gradually toward teaching the student job skills so that they can eventually be more independent.

I would not have known how to do any of this without our connection to the school, but the services are there.

Is the vocational program she may participate in focused on food services? When will that start for her (here, vocational ed mostly starts in junior year, but you have to apply earlier).

 

We have contacted the local department for Rehabilitative and Vocational services and talked with them at length. They said they can start helping her this coming summer, but most of their programs would require her to stay overnight at the training dorms for 2 weeks at a time or more. I'm uncomfortable with those kinds of overnight stays in a group environment where we don't know the supervisors or the other attendees. She's very naive despite our attempts to teach her basic self-advocacy and get her just a bit street smart (without shocking or scaring her) and is easily manipulated. They also provide driving programs but you can't be eligible for them until you're 19 so she's 2 years away from that.

She's not in a vocational program. That's just the name for the easier diploma track. The local school has a culinary arts one but she won't be eligible until 11th grade. We plan to try that in 11th or 12th grade for her. Odds are she would fail out again (it's made for average kids), but I'd like to at least give it a try and she's willing.

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I would complain.  

Here is the thing — there could be some kind of entrance requirement that could take months.  Really.  You could be needing to be doing some thing for her to qualify to get started with them this summer, and it can eat up so much time.  

Maybe it is just me?

But this happens with me.  

Like — either there is some certain testing that takes time to set up, or, you have to get something like a tuberculosis test — we had to get this for my son recently.  It is no big deal at all, but it took me a month to get that appointment.  

If she were in school (I’m not saying it like it is awesome for her to go and play Wild Krafts from PBS Kids ikwim), but — if there is a few months, maybe, worth of stuff to do to get ducks in a row, to get started with the vocational rehab program, it would be nice to be getting started on it now, maybe.

And if not through school, maybe any type of advocacy organization in your entire state would know, maybe you could talk to someone on the phone.

And I hope it’s nothing like this!  I have just had it happen so many times.  But partly we go through military insurance for a lot of things and it is very heavy on the bureaucracy.  

I hope there’s nothing like this and it is very easy to get started.  

But I would try to check, it is so frustrating to find out “if I had known, I could have taken this easily months ago.”  

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11 hours ago, Storygirl said:

I wonder if her reluctance to talk about working and getting a job is related to anxiety, because she has no idea how to go about it. I would hope that the vocational training you have planned might help with this, and that they will include instruction in how to apply for jobs, etc., but it's also something that Vocational Rehabilitation can work on. Making a plan for herself might feel like it is Too Big of an ask, so she wants to avoid thinking about it. I would be careful about having any critical attitude when talking with her about this (not saying that you do, just that it would be easy to fall into).

I think you are going to have to build up to the idea of having a job.

* Has she had instruction in financial literacy? So how to handle money, what kind of expenses are involved in independent living, how to make a budget, etc? I would consider that very important and would add it to her studies as a class, if she has not already learned those things.

Not explicitly yet beyond us working a lot to get to the point where she can comfortably pay for items herself, calculate with money, and count change, etc. I'm planning for her to do a Consumer Math program for 12th grade math and then was thinking of taking her through Dave Ramsey's program for teens as an additional thing.

* Does she have an allowance? Does she know how to do grocery shopping? Can she cook dinner for the family? Can she clean the bathroom? Those are skills she needs that you could work on, either by incorporating them into a financial literacy/ consumer ed course, or by requiring them as a member of your household. If she has not had those responsibilities yet, I would carefully scaffold the teaching of the skills, instead of just imposing a "you will now start cooking dinner once a week" requirement. Yes, have  her cook dinner once a week (I had to do this as a teen) and do the menu planning and shopping for it, but teach her how to do it in little bits.

We live 30 minutes from town so grocery shopping with 6 kids is awfully stressful as it is, lol! However, I do plan to walk her through that process once we are living in town. She can cook simple dinners very competently. We're moving towards cooking more complex things like meals with multiple parts and various different meats. She can clean the bathroom. I always have to go back and remind her of things she missed, but she knows how...she just gets distracted. I like the idea of having her shop for and cook dinner once a week and she would love that; she's always begging to cook!

* Does she have artistic skills, so that she could learn cookie  or cupcake decorating? I just read an article in our local paper about someone who opened her own cookie business. She just does special orders and has a booth at a farmer's market, etc., but is doing well. She makes only one kind of sugar cookie but in different shapes, and they are painted (with royal icing) in different beautiful ways. Having a goal of making one product like that, but doing it to a high standard, perhaps could be achievable, and there would be specific steps you could work toward bit by bit.

Zero artistic skills really, but with some practice she could do the kind of cake decorating grocery store bakeries do. In fact we got her a cake decorating kit for Christmas so we're trying to encourage that!

By the way, our state also offers adaptive driver's instruction for those with disabilities who struggle with driving, so you might look into that.

Yep, already on it! Unfortunately, it doesn't start until age 19 and it's only help with the driver's test, not the learner's permit test, which is what she cannot pass yet. Still trying to figure that one out.

I think the idea of having her live independently but within your home is a good idea. I think about this for my son, who does not have ID but has other disabilities that may limit his ability to have a steady income at a self-supportive level (we are hoping he will be able to support himself, but we also feel cautious). I think that the age that someone could live more independently is going to vary and will depend on the development of life skills, such as cleaning, cooking, managing time, paying for some bills, etc. For DS, I expect those things to take extra time, so I anticipate he would not move into his own apartment until some years into his twenties.

Does she want to live in an apartment? If she has goals for herself, it may be helpful to break those down into smaller steps, so that she can see what it will take for her to get there. If she does not have this as a goal for herself, I think those smaller steps are more likely to be driven by you. In that case, you could mention periodically that she will need to know how to do these things "someday" when she is out on her own, but not necessarily make living on her own the goal you are working toward openly. What I mean is that if she does NOT want to move out, she may be reluctant to work on skills that will lead in that direction, in which case I would downplay that as a goal but still work on the needed skills.

Those are just ideas that I think through for our own situation. And it's not just for my son with disabilities. I have to think about preparing my other kids for adult life, too, in the same kind of ways. All of my kids, for example, need to work on their cooking and cleaning and budgeting skills. So I think about those things, and I know I need to add them into our routine at home, sooner rather than later, now that they are teens.

Thanks! These are super helpful to get my thinking jumpstarted and clarify things! She says she wants to move out but only because others have said that that's what is normal. She'll say anything to agree with others. In truth, I think an attached apartment is where she'd feel happiest...still with the family but with more privacy and freedom to make her own choices...and all in a safe environment knowing we're right upstairs/next door to call if she gets stuck.

 

11 hours ago, Storygirl said:

 

 

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If you have talked to them at length, that is good!  There are probably no random requirements then!

Can you find out more about the group living?  I did send my son to a summer camp for a week last summer, and I was satisfied with the supervision.  

I knew someone whose daughter had been to the camp or I would not have been comfortable with it.  

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Just another thought on the group, but maybe if she went with a friend?  

I am hesitant about things also, there are things I won’t do unless I can talk to another parent whose kid has already done it.  

Although — I did have a great impression from talking to the camp director, to be honest.  But I don’t think it would have been enough.

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I would be worried about the group thing, too, probably. My kids have gone to camp for a week, but it was with their youth group and known adult leaders. We also skipped an overnight youth group event that we were more uncomfortable with, so even with a known group of people, I am not completely trusting. And that is how it should be, sadly.

It's frustrating that they don't offer job training programs other than that one. We are pleased with what our state has to offer teens who qualify, but I know that what states offer really varies.

We just heard about a new program in our area sponsored by Good Will, where they will offer some job training to any teen who has a disability. So, for example, DD13 who just has dyslexia and no other issues that might make job hunting difficult, would qualify (even though she would not qualify for vocational rehabilitation). I wonder what if you contacted Good Will directly to see what kind of programs they run in your area and how to sign up for them??

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