“Greet all people with a smile.”
Ethics of the Fathers 3:16
Formal transition planning for students with disabilities begins at the age 14. While this may seem early, it can take months or years to complete the transition process. The goal of transition is to help your teen understand their disability and choices to determine their future. Below are important questions for youth to consider with his/her team:
- What kind of work do I want to do?
- Will additional education or training be necessary?
- Where do I want to live?
- How could I live independently?
- What transportation options do I have access to?
- How will I obtain and transition to adult health care and what will that mean?
State Identification Cards
As youth transition to adulthood, it is important to obtain a State Identification Card even if you are not planning to get a driver’s license. Without a photo identification card individuals may find it difficult to access services at banking institutions, government agencies, and transportation centers such as train stations and airports.
As a part of most school districts’ programs, vocational training opportunities and community based learning are provided for students after they complete their educational requirements. This typically occurs when the child is 18-21. The State of NJ wants all individuals regardless of special needs to attempt to be competitively employed in the community. Students with special needs will require more time to properly adapt to working at job vs. being in a classroom. The vocational programs offered are designed to start that process prior to graduation. Parents should inquire about these opportunities as they start preparing to transition at 14 years old.
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) believes that all individuals have the right to explore community-based employment as their first option and that individuals have the right to seek "real jobs" for "real pay" that lead to meaningful and productive lives by working within their community. JFCS’s team of Employment Specialists and Job Coaches help individuals obtain and maintain competitive employment. JFCS is an approved Supported Employment vendor with the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) and the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). Services offered include job development, job coaching, and long term follow along support.
After graduation, students with disabilities can utilize services through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS). DVRS provides individual job counseling to discover areas of interest and abilities plus job coaches to help individuals be successful in their employment. There are offices in each county for DVRS so that families do not have to travel that far to access this service.