18 to 21 Years

Summary Checklist

The following is a brief checklist of things to help you get started. This checklist is meant to serve as a guide only and is not exhaustive of all services and supports you should explore for your child or family member.

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Health and Medical Care, and Related Therapeutic Interventions

  • Understand the definitions for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and why a person should be diagnosed.
  • Learn about treatment options and therapies
  • Sign up for the Autism Waiver
  • Apply to the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)
  • Investigate Behavior Supports if you need them
  • Identify a General Practitioner/Family Practice/Primary Care doctor
  • Schedule regular re-evaluations and medical follow-up to measure progress and identify challenges
  • Develop a system to organize your paperwork
  • Develop a good group of providers and supports that will continue to work with your family on a long term basis

Assistive Technology

  • Learn all you can about Assistive Technology services available
  • Explore financial assistance for Assistive Technology
  • Students should exit school with a communication system that they can use comfortably and that they can take with them into the adult world

Education

  • Understand the requirements/criteria for exiting with a Diploma vs. a Certificate of Completion
  • Make sure that the IEP contains achievable, measurable objectives that reflect the student’s transition goals
  • Determine with your IEP team which state assessment tests are most appropriate for your child
  • Contact your Parents’ Place of Maryland, Partners for Success Family Center, or the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) for assistance with school issues, IEP development, school resources
  • Prepare to transition out of high school
  • Understand your student’s placement options
  • Address any instances of bullying immediately
  • Understand matters of discipline including suspension and expulsion
  • Get involved with your local Special Education Citizen’s Advisory Committee (SECAC) or the Maryland Special Education State Advisory Committee (SESAC)
  • Apply to the MSDE Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)
  • Explore summer time options
  • Explore college options
  • Explore secondary education options (technical school, culinary school, apprenticeship, etc.)
  • Develop a system to organize education records

Employment

  • Develop employment skills and make sure your young adult has employment experiences, either paid or volunteer
  • Make sure your teenager has a resume that may include a list of skills and competencies as well as a video portfolio showing him/her at work
  • Apply to the MSDE Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)
  • Explore employment services and opportunities available in Maryland
  • Evaluate interests and strengths – vocational assessments
  • Make a decision about disclosure (of diagnosis)
  • Learn about 504 Plans

Housing

  • Explore housing options (residential, community supports, rental options, home ownership)
  • Apply to the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)
  • Apply to the local public housing authority Section 8 waiting list
  • Help your young adult establish credit

Social and Relationships

  • Help your young adult learn about appropriate social skills
  • Teach your young adult about sexuality and relationships
  • Develop the recreational and leisure activities that your young adult enjoys

Funding for Services and Legal Issues

  • Review the “Financial Things Every Parent of a Child with Autism Needs to Know”
  • Understand what it means to move from Entitlement to Eligibility
  • Apply for Social Security Benefits
  • Apply to the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)
  • Investigate Low Intensity Support Services (LISS)
  • Learn about life planning tools and options
  • Explore the legal implications of reaching age 18
  • Develop a system to organize financial and legal records

Safety

  • Address issues of being on their own, legal ramifications

Support: Support Groups and Respite

  • Network with others at a support group
  • Investigate support groups for your young adult
  • Identify needs of support and establish a support system
  • Take care of yourself, your spouse, your other children
  • Investigate respite care options

Transportation

  • Explore options including public transportation, Mobility, and driver’s license
  • Apply for all appropriate transportation programs
  • Help your young adult obtain a Maryland State ID card issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration

Advocacy and Self-Advocacy

  • Make a decision about disclosure (of diagnosis)
  • Learn about becoming an advocate at the local and national level. Consider joining local and national autism groups and listservs.
  • Get involved with your local Special Education Citizen’s Advisory Committee (SECAC) or the Maryland Special Education State Advisory Committee (SESAC)
  • Help your young adult learn self-advocacy skills

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