For a young adult with special needs, transitioning from special education services to adult human services is not a one-time event. It’s a holistic process with distinct phases (see below), each encompassing critical steps and decisions. At each phase, we provide guidance, hands-on support and resources for parents and guardians who are navigating the process.
The most important step in the pre-transition phase is creating a Person Centered Planning (PCP) profile, an essential tool for assessing the unique needs, capabilities, limitations and desires of a special needs child, as well as the vision of his or her parents or guardians. The PCP profile is the blueprint for a successful transition plan – one that matches the needs of the child and the expectations of the parents or guardians.
We can help parents and guardians develop a PCP profile from scratch via a confidential online system, or simply serve as a resource for questions and concerns.
Using the PCP profile, we work with parents and guardians to develop and execute an effective transition plan.
Identifying an appropriate residential setting is a key part of this plan. We help parents and guardians evaluate group homes and select the best possible adult placement for their loved one. (We provide a Group Home Directory to help with this process.) When requested, we also accompany parents and guardians on group home site visits, serving as their advocates throughout the evaluation and selection process.
Once a placement is determined, we work with group home staff and other caregivers to design a schedule of activities tailored to the needs and abilities of the young adult with special needs. We also help parents and guardians identify volunteer jobs, community programs and cultural activities that might enrich the daily life of their child.
For young people with special needs, continuous monitoring is critical for a successful transition to adult life.
Long after a child has transitioned to adult services, we work with parents and guardians to ensure their loved one continues to receive the care and services identified in the transition plan and is leading a happy, productive adult life. We help assess whether the plan is working as envisioned, make adjustments to the plan as needed, and – if necessary – find an alternative residential placement or work program.
Throughout the post-transition phase, we focus on creating strong, open and honest relationships with parents and guardians, and solicit feedback at regular intervals.
For parents, ensuring continuity of care for their disabled child after they’re gone is a big concern. We fully understand this concern and can work with parents to create a succession plan tailored to the needs of their child. We can help them file for guardianship, create a special needs trust, and communicate with relatives about the plan for their child’s future.
RECRUITING & TRAINING SERVICES
Finding the right caregivers with the right skills and abilities is critical to the successful transition of young adults with special needs. We work with parents and guardians, as well as group homes, to recruit and train caregivers that will be a good match for the young adults in their care.
We offer recruiting services for all group home positions (including clinical, administrative and support staff) because we believe that everyone supporting the special needs population needs to be fully qualified and committed – in a word, special.
Our recruiting strategies focus on improving time-to-hire (filling positions within seven business days), improving retention rates, and facilitating the rapid replacement of staff as needed.
We provide customized training for caregivers – both in and out of the group home setting – so that they can better meet the special needs of the individual clients in their care. A caregiver that supports a deafblind client, for example, requires different skills than a caregiver that supports a blind or autistic client.
We also offer a training program called Ethics and Morals: “Do the Right Thing,” which focuses on the ethics of supporting people with special needs. It aims to increase awareness of the special role of the caregiver and discourage those who do not have what it takes to deal with people with disabilities. It includes hands-on training and simulations, including a physical exercise in which caregivers’ eyes and ears are covered, to help them experience some insecurity and discomfort and better understand the importance of sign language and tactile communications.