Becoming an adult is a big step for teens with autism or special needs, so their transition to adulthood needs careful planning.
If your children present additional needs, helping them through their development is essential. Early planning will give you plenty of time to work on the skills they need to reach their goals for adulthood. It will also give you time to figure out how to support them when they need it.
Design a plan for their transition to adulthood
Teenagers have to be ready for their transition to adult life. To help them, you must take into account several factors, such as:
- Their short, medium, and long-term goals for the future.
- Their strengths, interests, and weaknesses.
- Their current skills and abilities. Knowing them can help you decide what other skills to teach them and which ones should be improved with practice.
- Your needs and how to balance them with theirs.
Talking with teachers, support staff, therapists, siblings, relatives, and friends is ideal to complement this plan.
Every teen’s transition plan should be different and tailored to their needs, but you should also consider these areas:
- Developing an autonomous life.
- Social interaction and community participation.
How to prepare them for transition periods
- Let teens play an active role in their health care. It is important to explain their condition to them at a young age.
- Make sure they can explain their condition to others. As they grow, teach them specific self-care routines, such as pain management, proper rest, and nutrition. Help them develop a relationship with their physician and encourage them to ask questions and participate in the appointments.
- Consider their interests when seeking training and vocational programs.
- Be a good role model. Remember that you, and other family members, are your child’s most important teachers.
Each one of our tips should be applied according to the condition of every teen. At this stage, we also recommend seeking the help of professionals, who will be able to tell you what to do and how, and will be by your side throughout the process.
Let’s remember that we must be patient, try to understand them, and inform ourselves about the way they see the world. Going into adulthood may not be easy for them, but with our help and support, it can be more bearable.
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