are many things that you can do at home to support the transition
planning process without waiting for your child’s teacher
or someone in the community service system to start the process.
Focus on the Positive
a positive attitude and setting expectations are very important
factors in developing your transition plan. High expectations
do not provide any guarantee of success, but setting expectations
will help your child reach their potential. Always remember
the way you view your child will have a direct impact on how
they are viewed by others.
has strengths, gifts and abilities. Speak of your child’s
enabling qualities rather than the barriers that limit them.
Too often, children with developmental disabilities have come
to be described by their disabilities,
which can be limiting in determining an appropriate action plan.
When focussing on their abilities, strengths and interests,
it is much easier to develop a positive and more creative plan.
self-reliance is a key activity in developing a successful transition
plan and in helping your child become a more independent adult.
There are lots of ways you can begin developing your child’s
self-reliance skills at home from an early age simply through
daily living activities. Use these opportunities to encourage
your child to recognize and develop their abilities.
self-reliance is also about allowing your child to make decisions.
Start early. Help your child become comfortable with the notion
of making their own decisions. This will help them accept their
role as decision-maker during transition planning activities.
making decisions will involve risks which subsequently have
consequences. There may be a few hard lessons learned along
the way but it is all part of growing-up and taking responsibility
for actions as an
adult. Continue to encourage your child and be sure to let them
know that it is okay to make mistakes – everyone learns
from their mistakes. Your child will come to recognize that
they are capable of making decisions for themselves, which will
help them as they move to life as an adult. Start small. Help
your child to decide on things with low risk, such as what to
wear, what to have for lunch, etc. Teach your child that they
can ask for advice in making decisions – it is not something
they need to do alone.
are examples of ways to encourage self-reliance. They progress
from activities to do at an early age right through to the high
school years. Recognize that not all activities listed may be
appropriate for your child. Identify those that are consistent
with your child’s abilities and adapt suggestions where
necessary. You may be surprised by what your child can accomplish
if given the chance and lots of encouragement.
of Ways to Encourage Self-Reliance
your child everyday skills like brushing their teeth.
your child household chores that match their abilities.
them with an allowance.
your child to choose how to spend some or all of their allowance.
your child their personal information such as address, phone
giving your child choices so they can learn to make decisions,
like choosing which clothes to wear.
Teach your child the consequences of their behaviours and
asking your child what they want to be when they grow up.
your child help in making simple meals for the family and
progress to having them make meals on their own.
your child in neighborhood and community activities, such
as Scouts, swimming lessons, story hour at the library etc.
possible and at an appropriate time, allow them to participate
hobbies based on your child’s interests and strengths.
your child to speak up for themselves.
your child to complete homework assignments as independently
as possible. Let them tell you when they need your assistance.
your child life skills, such as money management, shopping
your child to the public transit system.
your child to get to places in the community on his/her own
by using the public transit system, walking, making arrangements
part of the high school experience, consider community based
job training (co-op programs) and life skills if these are
appropriate activities for your child. Involve your child
in all decision-making.
your child in meetings about their education through the IEP
process and transition planning.
to talk about career interests that are consistent with your
child’s interests and strengths.
your child talk directly with doctors and other service providers.
appropriate, encourage gradual moves toward greater personal
independence and self-care.
your child do volunteer or paid work in the home, neighborhood
or community. Assist your child in developing good work habits.
your child become a mentor for younger children just entering
4 in Part 2: Tools & Resources highlights a complete
checklist of transition activities that includes many self-reliance
building activities that you can start from a very early age.
When thinking about self-reliance beyond the school years look
at the Ontario Skills Passport (OSP), a resource that provides
clear descriptions of the skills used in virtually all occupations,
as well as important work habits. The OSP was developed by the
Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training,
Colleges and Universities. The purpose of the OSP is to document
an individual’s demonstration of skills and work habits
that are considered to be of great importance in the workplace.
and job seekers can use the OSP to identify the skills they
already have and to plan further skill development so that they
can more easily make the transition to the workplace and/or
to postsecondary education. The skills listed in the OSP are
transferable skills that a student, job seeker and worker can
take from job-to-job, sector-to-sector and school to work.
are two components of the OSP that may be of interest in you
and your child:
can access the Ontario Skills Passport website at:
you get into the activities for identifying what your child
wants to do beyond school, this is a good resource to identify
the skills your child may need in considering a potential occupation
or post-secondary opportunity to pursue.
is the time to make sure you are informed about what is going
on at the school and in the service system. Speak to your child’s
teacher. Make sure you understand the IEP and transition process
as it is established in
your child’s school. Speak to your service providers.
Understand what is going to happen to the services you are receiving
now when they reach the age of 18 or 21. Find out about your
community. Ask to be added to
mailing lists of organizations you are interested in, sign up
for newsletters, and read the community newspaper. It will be
important for you to understand your community as you help your
child make a connection to their community.
planning is about being organized and prepared. If you haven’t
already started, it will be helpful to keep various records
for your child together; for example, report cards, assessments,
certificates of involvement in community programs etc. Put this
guide into a binder and use it for keeping your transition planning
resources and other important information in one place. You
will likely need to refer to these documents as you discuss
your plans for the future with various individuals. Keep track
of who you talk to, times and dates of conversations, what was
discussed, referrals to other individuals or organizations,
and identify if a follow-up conversation is required.
3a in Part 2: Tools & Resources provides a template
for keeping track of contact information as you begin talking
with individuals and organizations.
think you need to try to do this all on your own. Ask other
people to get involved to help you and your child throughout
this process. Start early and establish strong support networks
– family, friends, parents, professionals, employers,
trainers, community groups who can help build a connection to
your community. Access agencies can provide you with information
on parent groups in your community or ask at your child’s
school. If you find there are no parent groups in your area,
consider starting one of your own.
will be a key activity for you as you go through the transition
process. This may involve making calls to people you have never
spoken with before.
make this a little less intimidating, use some of the tips in
in Part 2: Tools & Resources to help you in your discussions
with agencies, community organizations and professionals.
When talking with an access agency, there are many things they
may be able to help you sort out but you need to ask. There
may be a transition group already established in your area that
you could be part of. The agency may be able to connect you
to a parent’s group or simply another parent that has
already gone through this process – a mentor. Ask if there
is a newsletter to parents that you could subscribe to. Find
out if there is a coordinator available to help you navigate
your way through the transition process. Be prepared to ask
many of these questions for yourself and do not rely on the
service system to provide this information to you.
Consider all Options
are different options to consider in seeking out supports for
your child that are found in the mainstream system available
to others in the community. While your child is in the education
system, take a look at the programs available to the general
public through the Board of Education. While most courses are
for adults there may be some programs that are available for
younger people. Having your child participate in these programs
can help to build their self-reliance skills and further develop
out in your community with your child and find a connection.
From early on, participate with your child in recreation and
leisure programs. Sign up for swimming lessons, craft programs,
library groups. Seek out appropriate faith groups to participate
in. These activities will provide you with a strong connection
to the community and a good network of connections when you
are looking for experiences for your child as an adolescent.
other parents and see what things they have done. Use their
experience and knowledge of the system to help you make your
way through. They will have a wealth of information that you
can use to help determine your activities for your child. Ask
your child’s teacher what other parents have done for
their children. They will likely have some good ideas based
on what has worked for other parents in a similar situation.
be afraid to try something new. During this time in your child’s
life, you need to give them many experiences to find out what
they like and what they don’t like. They need to find
out what works for them.
Trying new things will help them experience the world, will
help them become familiar with their community and help them
to be a part of it as they make the transition to adult life.
The creativity of parents…
One strategy is connecting to other parents who are seeking
the same opportunities for their sons and daughters. Parents
could consider pooling their resources and working together
to develop a daytime schedule based on the unique needs and
goals of their children. By doing this, parents are able to
choose the hours that are best suited to their routine and select
their own support staff.
in your community for an easy-to-access location such as a library
or community centre for a meeting place. From there you can
access a broad range of activities such as volunteer placements,
fitness activities, literacy programs, and life skills.