Top Ten Tips for New Graduates

June 2nd, 2017

Congratulations on your loved one's upcoming graduation!  This is an exciting time, filled with change in you and your loved one's life.  Here are The Arc of Essex County's top 10 tips for the class of 2017:

  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. If you haven't yet secured Medicaid eligibility for your loved one, do so immediately.  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. If you haven't yet applied for Division of Developmental Disability (DDD) services, do so immediately.  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. If you haven't yet completed New Jersey Comprehensive Assessment Tool (NJCAT), do so immediately.  A sample is available on the DDD website here.
  5. You should have already selected a support coordination agency and scheduled your initial NJISP meeting.  If you haven't yet selected a support coordination agency, a full list is available here.  When you meet with your support coordinator for the first time, they will ask you questions about the type of services your graduate is looking for.  If you haven't already, you may need to visit a variety of service providers to find the right fit of services for your loved one.  
  6. Once you have secured the service providers that you would like to utilize, be sure to include them in the planning and transition process.
  7. Explore what the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has to offer.
  8. Continue to find opportunities for greater independence for your loved one in the home or community 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 adult services in further detail, contact The Arc of Essex County's Senior Director of Support Program Services Melissa Soules at or (973) 535-1181 ext. 1262.