How Do You Choose a Transition Program?

How many attempts have you made to foster independence in your young adult? Do you feel your attempts have accomplished nothing?

You’ve seen different counselors, attended support groups, discussed the problem with other parents. Your young adult still spends too much time at home or with friends, can’t get a job or misses too many hours, or is failing classes.

Someone suggests a transition program. After investigating the idea, you decide this type of program is the best way to get your young adult into a place where he or she has the support and supervision, as counterintuitive as that seems, needed to move to an independent life.

But how do you decide which program to attend?

The Rise of Transition Programs

As more children are diagnosed with autism and other mild forms of disabilities, we are realizing there aren’t enough resources in place to move those children from the support programs provided by schools and other initiatives into the responsibilities of adulthood.

At the same time, our society as a whole is seeing a trend toward young adults of all backgrounds failing to move away from their parents’ homes. Many reasons are cited for this, ranging from the crash of the economy to sheer laziness among the younger generation.

Transition programs are one way to fill the gap for young adults with special needs. They provide young adults stricken with “failure to launch” a way to motivate themselves toward an independent lifestyle.

Selecting a Transition Program

One way to choose a program from the growing number available is to ask yourself the following questions about any program you considering:

Curriculum

  • What is the program’s curriculum based on? What are the principles and how does the staff adhere to them?
  • Where will your young adult be staying? Are they given the opportunity to practice the life skills the program will teach them?
  • Will your young adult be able to continue their education (if that is the goal)? What schools are available, and will the program help your young adult with their education?
  • Are there social events and other extracurricular activities hosted by the program? Do they encourage students to develop social connections?
  • How does the program help your young adult develop employable skills? Do they offer assistance with finding a job?
  • How successful are students with similar circumstances to your young adult’s in the program?

Current Students

  • What do the current students think of the program?
  • Has the program helped current students develop goals? Are they progressing toward them?
  • Have students been able to find jobs and move out on their own?

Staff

  • Are the staff members qualified for their positions? Are they participating in continuing education?
  • Do the staff members enjoy coming to work? Do they seem to truly care about helping the students?
  • How well do the staff members interact with the students? Is there a good rapport?
  • How available are staff members to students? Are counselors available at times other than what has been assigned to students?

And, perhaps the most important, what does your young adult think about the programs you are considering?

Make an Informed Decision

Once you have asked the above questions and compared the answers, you may find selecting the best program for your young adult has become much easier.