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Supporting our Children as They Transition to Adulthood

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Sometimes individual days with our children can seem very long, especially when our children struggle. At other times, it seems like time flies by. This time of year and the accompanying transitions can be a startling reminder of how fast time passes.

Some of you have children leaving high school and going to work or more schooling. Many of you have children who will be at the same juncture in a few short years. It is hard to transition from advocating for your child to supporting them as they advocate for themselves as a young adult. It’s also never too early to prepare. We want all of you to have resources and information to support your children as they transition to adulthood.

If your child has an individualized education program (IEP) due to having a disability that affects their learning at school, remember that IEPs end when a student graduates from or leaves high school. If your child has a disability, they still have protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as they enter the world of work or go on to college.

The ADA is different from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the law that governs special education services and IEPs. Under IDEA, the law requires school districts to actively look for children with disabilities and help them. Families typically take the lead in letting schools know their children’s needs.

Under the ADA, it is up to your young adult child to decide if they want to share their disability status. If they do, they can let their employer or college know the accommodations they need in the work or education setting. If they want to share their disability status, it is typically best to wait until they have accepted a job or a college offer. Pacer’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment has practical tips to support young adults with disabilities as they enter the world of work, further their education and live independently in the community.

If your young adult child has a disability, lives in Mississippi and wants to get a job or learn job skills, the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) offers transition services, including career exploration, job readiness training, vocational-technical training and on-the-job training. Here is the application for transition services. MDRS also provides vocational evaluation, counseling and guidance, educational assistance, job training, job placement, and assistive technology for adults of all ages with disabilities through its Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. You can request services on this form and submit it to

Got Transition is an organization that helps parents help their young adult children transition to the adult health care system. They explain on their website, “Health care transition, or HCT, is the process of getting your youth ready for health care as an adult. During childhood, you usually help with health and healthcare needs—calling to set up appointments, filling out forms, and keeping track of medications. As your youth gets older, managing those needs becomes their responsibility. Achieving this independence requires an organized transition process for them to gain independent health care skills, prepare for an adult model of care, and transfer to new clinicians.”

Got Transition offers several helpful resources:

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