Originally posted November 1, 2012
I Know What You Didn't Do Last Year
In Georgia, there's a dangerous cliff that all us families with a special needs child are headed for. Many of us know about it and even coach parents to take actions against it. There's plenty of warning signs, planning tools, and information available about our impending doom. Even so, many of us, myself included, have chosen to ignore the inevitable.
The cliff's name is innocuous enough: TRANSITION. While seemingly innocent, it's a cliff fraught with drama, danger, and uncertainty. All parents ask the initial question,”When my child graduates from high school, what will his/her life be like?” but for those of us in Georgia with specialneeds children, the answer is pretty frightening.
These are the facts to consider, and the scary questions to ask yourself.
For the government to help an adult with a developmental disability operate the most independently through the NOW waiver system, it costs below $25,000 per year. That's equivalent to paying college tuition for the rest of your child's natural life. Worse, it is tremendously higher for those with more critical needs (COMP Waiver). If there's still a waiting list when your child exits high school, how are you going to pay that kind of money for a day program, transportation, behavioral health options, medication, etc.? Year after year after year?
School lasts a good portion of the day. Once they've graduated, what will they do during school hours? Where will they go? How will they get there? Once there, how will they get home? Will they be by themselves at home? Will that be OK?
Will you have to quit your job to take care of an adult child with a disability?
That's all well and good for the short term, but what happens if you, as primary caregiver, become ill, disabled yourself, or die? What happens then?
Do you have a plan, and are you working the plan? I've met many equipped parents that still turn around and realize their child is seventeen and they are not ready. No doubt about it, you're going over the cliff of transition – will you have a rope ready and tied to rappel off, or are you going to crash?
Scary, huh? I won't wait a year to give you a sequel. Stay tuned.
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