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Sep 24, 2014

Transition Planning  

Are you starting to think about life after high school? We’ve created a new, interactive Transitions website to make the process easier. Create a personalized life vision, set goals and find resources in your community. All in one website.

This new site is not just for students. Individuals age 21 and over also can log in for planning and for community resources. To get started, visit http://transitionscwr.ca/. Questions? Contact your local DSOCWR office.

Doable Ideas for Transition Planning:

Need some practical ideas about transitioning to the adult years? We’ve asked experienced parents and service providers for their real-world advice. Read on for our interview with Joanna Goode (www.joannagoode.com), an Independent Facilitator and Planner.

Question: Planning for life after high school can seem overwhelming. What are some easy things you can do right away?

Answer: Joanna Goode, Independent Facilitator and Planner 

Take Stock.

Look at your son or daughter and your family situation as a whole. What are your child’s interests? Where are those places or circumstances when they are at their best? Also look at your family needs. You may not need to plan for 40 hours per week. For example, maybe one parent works from home part time. 

Involve Others.

The more you involve others in planning, the more ideas you’ll have. Invite in neighbours, friends and relatives who know your son or daughter. Gather them together or just invite them over one at a time for coffee. The goal is to get input from others in a way that feels comfortable.

 Ask them to share stories about your son or daughter. What do they remember most about them? How did they meet? This will tell us where your family member shines--and what’s most important to them, 

Look at your resources.

Look at resources in a broader way--not just funding. What are the dollars, people and activities that you already have in place? For example, your neighbour who always asks about your son or daughter, might love to spend some time with them. Or perhaps your workplace has an athletic centre that your family member could use at no cost.

Question: What strategies can help families plan meaningful activities for Monday to Friday each week? 

Answer: Joanna Goode

Plan for chunks of time.

Looking at the whole week is overwhelming. Divide the week into smaller chunks instead. Think about planning a balance of time at home and in the community. It might include a mix of work and volunteering, learning, leisure and recreation and relationships.

 We need to make a brain shift to not discount the value of smaller chunks of time. Having a volunteer or paid job a few hours a month is valuable and meaningful. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t 8 hours per day.

Start with what is already in place.

Perhaps your son or daughter already has some great volunteer work. Now what does learning look like for them when not in school? Do they want to do some literacy work or to take a class? Or what about some fun stuff to build into the week?

Question: That sounds like a lot of activities to arrange all at once. If you’re trying to plan a balanced week, what is most important to start with?

Answer: Joanna Goode

Start small.

Bringing in new activities one at a time makes things more manageable for everyone. Start with what you know is important. What is your son or daughter most excited about? Where are they at their best? Those are the easy ones to start with.

Start early.

Starting the process early is key. Can some activities they did while in school carry on after they graduate? For example, can they continue a volunteer placement they had while at school? Talk to the teacher about it.

Question: How can families stretch their resources when planning with their son or daughter for life after high school?

Answer: Joanna Goode

Connect with other families.

If your son or daughter gets along well with one or two people and if they share the same interests, you may be able to combine supports. To find those people, talk to your son or daughter. Often they are drawn to people we may not know about.

Also talk to teachers, educational assistants and coaches/leaders of community programs. Ask the teacher to pass along your family’s contact information to other students. Parents don’t realize how impossible it is to get that contact information after graduation.

Investigate community activities.

Recreation and Parks departments usually have a Leisure Buddy program. They provide a volunteer at no cost for programs. Also investigate community based literacy programs that can be attended without support. Check out your community’s website for more ideas.

Look for places and activities that generally happen as a group. Examples are a hiking group, pottery class or a faith-based discussion group. Also consider volunteer work that happen as a team. When a group of volunteers work towards a common goal, there is innate support in that.

Question: What planning advice do you have for parents in the workforce who have a son or daughter with high support needs?

Answer: Joanna Goode

Get really clear on what you need---down to the quarter hour. If you work full- time, what exactly does this look like? Sometimes people can get flexibility from their employer while they figure everything out.

Look carefully at what people and resources you already have in place. Think about who your child gets along with. Can they share resources or spend time together in a way to make those resources go further?

One-on-one support doesn’t always have to be paid. It just has to be the right kind. One young man I knew always had one-on-one support because he’s ‘a runner.’ He connected with a local running group. Now he runs with them a few times a week as their pace runner. There are enough people in the group who know him well. So he doesn’t need paid support there. And he loves it.


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