The transition from school to adulthood is one of the most exciting and pivotal times in the life of any student. But for someone living with an intellectual or developmental disability, transitions of any kind can be challenging. If you are a parent or caregiver of someone with a disability, transitional planning for their life after the age of 18 may seem premature and overwhelming, but by understanding the needs of your child and thinking about the challenges ahead, you’ll be positioning yourselves for success and maximizing the strengths of your child. The following are some frequently asked questions regarding transitional planning:
Q: Parents often come in with their child, worried about the future. How can parents plan for their child’s long-term care, once they can no longer provide care for them?
A: Integral Care works with families early on to prepare them for these situations. Service Coordinators can explore a variety of options that work best to meet the needs of each family. They can also provide information and guidance on how to join the Interest Lists for Long-Term Services, develop a back up plan, emergency contact sheet, and provide access to other community-based supports.
Q: Parents and consumers ask about life after high school - employment and life skills/independent living. What are some options?
A: Integral Care’s Service Coordinators can help link individuals to the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) employment support. For life skills supports, consumers work closely with their Service Coordinators on daily living skills and linkages to other supports and services.
Click here to learn more about educational opportunities available in our community
Q: What is the process for guardianship?
A: Your Service Coordinator will explain and guide you through the guardianship process, which can be complicated. Service Coordinators will also provide you with a guardianship information sheet and answer questions you might have. Your child’s teachers should also be involved in this discussion. Integral Care works closely with the Arc of the Capital Area in referring people to their guardianship process. Click here for more information.
Q: What is “The GO Project?”
A: The GO Project is a community-based, transition program for students with disabilities who are 19-22 years of age, enabling them to move beyond the high school setting and finish their education or work environment. The GO Project promotes adult living skills, participates in activities related to all of transition and develops relationships with same age peers. Integral Care works with Austin Independent School District to provide supports to individuals participating in this program. For eligibility requirements and program availability, click here.
Q: Why is the Home and Community-Based Services Interest List so long?
A: The Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) Interest List can be long at various points through out the year based on budget limitations and increased need for services.
Medicaid waivers are not entitlements, meaning that the number of “slots” available is dependent on funding from the state legislature. Historically, the number of slots available has been fewer than the number of people requesting services, resulting in waiting/interest lists. Services are then provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. The wait time for some services may be as long as 8 to 10 years.
It is important for families to place their child’s name on the waiting lists for all programs for which their child may be eligible. For HCS, assessments are not performed until the slot becomes available, which may take years. Placement on “the lists” allows for future options, and does not obligate the family to accept those services once their child’s name comes up. Get started by calling (512) 483-5800 to request that your loved ones name be added to the HCS Interest List.
Q: As a parent, I work full time and my child will only be at their job for six hours a week, what can he/she do the rest of the week?
A: Volunteering is often a great way for your child to gain valuable experience and important life skills! A community support staff member can be with them part-time, and can meet them at their worksite to help get started for the day. Other options include private day habilitation centers. Service Coordinators can help you determine which option is right for you.
Q: I’d like my child to live as independently as possible as an adult. What local group home or independent living options are available?
A: Living independently is an important goal for individuals and their families. Before committing, Service Coordinators identify the living options available in our community. There are group home living options that an individual may qualify for. Individuals and their families are encouraged to tour the home, speak with the staff and get a good understanding to ensure it is a proper fit. Families might realize that with some specialized skills training, their loved one can live on their own through income-based rent options and supported home living staff who can provide skills training and additional support in their daily living.
For more information on Integral Care’s intellectual and developmental disability services, visit IntegralCare.org or email IDDinfo@atcic.org.