The Arc's Top Ten Things to Consider as You Begin Your Transition to Adult Services

September 1st, 2016

The transition from school to adult services begins as early as 14 years old.  However, between the ages of 18 and 21 there are numerous things caregivers should consider to make the transition to adult services as smooth as possible.  Here are The Arc of Essex County's top 10:

  1. Request and keep copies of all relevant school evaluations (psychological, speech, occupational, and/or physical therapy, etc.) and current year's IEP plan.
  2. Secure Medicaid eligibility for your loved one.  There are a variety of ways to do this.  The easiest way is to ensure your loved one is enrolled to receive Social Security benefits, after the age of 18.  Enrolling in Social Security will automatically trigger New Jersey Medicaid eligibility.
  3. At 18 years old you can apply for Division of Developmental Disability (DDD) services.  While the services won't be available until after your loved one's 21st birthday and the end of their educational entitlement, enrolling with DDD as soon as the age of 18 will ensure a seamless transition into adult services.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool (NJCAT).  A sample is available on the DDD website here.
  5. Start to interview support coordination agencies to determine which one is the right fit for you.  A full list of New Jersey support coordination agencies is available here.
  6. Visit a variety of service providers to find the right fit of services for your loved one.  
  7. Explore what the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has to offer.
  8. Find opportunities for greater independence for your loved one in the home, community, or school setting that addresses skills such as learning how to set their morning alarm, making a small purchase independently, etc.
  9. Begin to look for an adult primary care physician.
  10. Celebrate this time in your loved one's life.  They are transitioning into the adult world and many exciting opportunities are ahead of them.

For more information or to discuss our transition services in further detail, contact The Arc of Essex County's Director of Business Development Melissa Soules at msoules@arcessex.org or (973) 535-1181 ext. 1262.