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Autism & Transitioning Into Adulthood

 

Transitioning into adulthood for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder can be an overwhelming process. There are so many things to decide in coordination with, and on behalf of your young adult.  Transition decisions are as varied as those on the Autism Spectrum disorder.  We’ve all heard the adage: “You’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”  The same adage relates to transition into adulthood. There is no ONE way, no ONE set of circumstances, and no ONE set of decisions to make.

This section will provide you with resources that may be helpful as you map your pathway into the future.

What areas does Transition Planning cover?

Transition activities can fit within the following three areas:

Independent Living: This domain covers the skills a person needs to function independently in life, and may include such areas as cooking, transportation, budgeting, safety, technology, housing, time management, social, etc.

Employment: This domain covers skills necessary for many levels of employment (i.e. competitive, self-, customized, supported, sheltered). These skills may be in areas such as career exploration and matching, applying, being on-time, following directions, associating with colleagues, etc.

Post-Secondary Education: This domain covers skills and preparation needed to attend a variety of post-secondary education settings (universities, community colleges, technical school, military, etc.). These skills may be in areas such as choosing a major, class selection, assignment completion, test-taking, organization, study skills, etc.

WHAT YOU CAN DO BEFORE THE AGE OF 18:

  1. Have you applied for DSPD services (also know as the waiting list)  Start the intake process here:  http://www.hsdspd.utah.gov/
  1.  You will need proper identification to enter federal buildings, at Doctors offices and for evaluations.  Many of us have learned that a Lagoon Pass is not considered a legal form of identification. Now is the time to obtain a State Identification Card:

http://www.dmv.org/ut-utah/id-cards.php

 

Apply for a Utah ID Card

Visit your local Utah Department of Public Safety Driver License Division office in person and:

  • Complete an ID card application .
  • Provide proof of your identity/legal presence with documents such as your:
    • Valid U.S. passport.
    • S. birth certificate.
  • Provide proof of your Social Security number with documents such as a:
    • Social Security card.
    • W-2 form.
    • 1099 form.
  • Provide 2 documents that prove your Utah residency, with documents including:
    • Bank statements.
    • Rental agreements.
    • Court documents.
  • Provide proof of your name change (if applicable), such as your:
    • Marriage certificate.
    • Divorce papers.
  • Pay the $18 fee, or $13 if you have a disability.
  • Have your photo taken.
  • A parent or guardian must sign your application if you are under 16 years old.
  1. Open a checking account with the young adult as the primary account, and a parent as the designated payee.  You will need this account information before you can apply for Social Security Income – at the age of 18.  It will be easier to get this account before the young adult turns 18 – as you may have to wait until guardianship has been completed if you wait until after your young adult has turned 18.  Remember – the young adult has to be the primary name on the account.
  1. If you receive paperwork from the Division of Workforce Services (generally received a few weeks before the young adults 18th birthday) sign and date the forms before his/her 18th birthday.  Once the young adult turns 18 you are no longer considered a guardian, and will not be able to sign the forms on behalf of your young adult.
  1. Start gathering medical, school and mental health information and providers names and addresses.  You will need this information for the various forms and evaulations that you will need to fill out.
  1. Obtain a letter from your medical provider that explains your young adults diagnosis and there need for services in areas of medical decision making, financial decision making, housing and vocational decision making.
  1. If possible – attend a training of guardianship.  The Utah Parent Center offers many free trainings in cooperation with Guardianship associates.  This will help prepare you for the upcoming requrements of obtaining guardianship, if you young adult will need that type of support. ~ http://guardianshiputah.org/

“Guardianship Associates of Utah also recommends that parents start the entire process 6-8 weeks prior to their child’s 18th birthday. This allows plenty of time to obtain legal representation if that is their choice or receive the necessary training if choosing to act Pro Se.

  1. Meet with your IEP team to discuss graduation.  Once your student graduates all services provided through the public school system end.  If your student requries additional post high school training, it is possible to hold their graduation.  Your student can still “walk” with their graduation class, but they will continue their education through a post highschool training program.

http://www.utahparentcenter.org/resources/transitiontoadult/

  1. Find a big accordion file to keep valuable information including:
  • Education (Recent IEP’s, evaluations)
  • Medical (The past years appointments, labs, x-rays, hospitalizations, appointments)
  • Banking (New account numbers)
  • Social Security (Copies of all on-line applications forms, and written communications)
  • Division of Workforce Services (Copies of on- line applications, written communications, and evaluations)
  • Misc (a copy of your Utah Identification Card)

 

Once your young adult turns 18.

  1. Start the Social Security Application process.  Once your young adult turns 18 their eligibility is no longer determined on the parents income.  You can start the application on-line. ~ https://www.socialsecurity.gov/  Although this is not a SSI application, we can use most of the information you provide to start the disability process. Once you finish the online process, a Social Security representative will contact you for any additional information needed for the SSI application.  You are NOT applying for Social Security Disability Benefits – as these benefits are for individuals who have been working and due to a disability they are not longer able to work.  However, your application will automatically be forwarded to this department and you will received a letter that informs you that the claimant is not considered disabled.  This is simply because the individual has not been working and then become disabled.  Just keep this form under “misc” in your binder.
  1.   If your young adult is male, you must register with Selective Services ~ https://www.sss.gov/regver/wfregistration.aspx
  2.  Apply for Medicaid if you are not currently on the DSPD Waiver program.
  3.  GUARDIANSHIP

“Guardianship cases can only be heard and determined by the court once an individual has reached the age of majority (age 18). Cases CAN be filed prior to an incapacitated person’s 18th birthday, but CANNOT be heard before that person’s 18th birthday.”

http://nationalautismassociation.org/family-support/guardianship/

5.     Housing: Now is the time to start having conversations  about housing options.

6.     You may want to consider meeting with an Estate Planner to discuss your future and to

make arrangmeents that will be in the best interest of your family.

7.     Are you going to attend college?

http://www.autism-society.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CollegeLiving.pdf

http://www.usautism.org/uscap/curriculum.htm

Below is a list of local and national resources for Transition and Adult Services.

Remember, each individuals transition is unique:

Utah State Office of Education ~ http://www.schools.utah.gov/sars/

Transition Planning (Davis School District) ~ http://www.davis.k12.ut.us/page/1386

Utah Transition Agencies ~

http://www.davis.k12.ut.us/cms/lib09/UT01001306/Centricity/Domain/93/Transition%20Agency%20List-%20January%202014.pdf

Utah Parent Center – Transition to Adult Life ~ http://www.utahparentcenter.org/resources/transitiontoadult/

Autism Speaks – Transition Toolkit ~ https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/impact-report/4

Autism Society of America ~ Transition and Post-Secondary, After High School ~

http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/autism-through-the-lifespan/transitions/

Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism ~ http://www.afaa-us.org/

Administration for Community Living ~ US Department for Health and Human Services ~ http://acl.gov/NewsRoom/blog/2015/2015_04_13.aspx

Adults with Autism making the news:

Is the US prepared for a growing number of adults with Autism?

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/01/05/is-the-us-prepared-for-a-growing-population-of-adults-with-autism