How to help your child utilize transition services
Ages 14 through 17
Each year, review the (IEP) employment goals, education or training goals, transition plan, interest sheet, and Exit Document with the IEP team. Consider enrollment in work (In-Building, Enclave, Work Study, Customized Employment, Community Connections, Career Research & Development, Applied Research Laboratory (ARL)) programs.
College and Career Ready
- Create a Transition Planning Home File. Items to be placed in the file may include: most recent IEP, psychological and education evaluations, medical records, Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) & Medicaid information, employer evaluations, letters of eligibility, and Maryland Exit Document (Summary of Performance).
- At age 14, submit an application to the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). Contact the DDA Central Region Office (410-234-8200) for answers to eligibility questions. Prior to age 18, DDA typically conducts the eligibility process. At age 18 and older, DDA assigns eligibility process to a Resource Coordination agency (Service Coordination, MMARS or Total Care).
- Each year, review graduation status and complete questionnaires in Naviance. For assistance, consult your child’s guidance counselor.
- Starting two years prior to the exit year and every year until graduation, consider if an application to the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) for vocational services is appropriate. Referrals are recommended by the IEP team or, if not recommended, the family can initiate a self-referral.
- At age 16, your child should seek a Maryland State Identification Card, if appropriate.
- Attend Transition Fair and Workshops Planning events. Begin looking at some of the post-secondary education and training programs, adult service providers and community resources. It would be helpful to visit some of these programs to determine what skills the student may need to develop and how they can assist after graduation from high school.
- Encourage your child to find activities (e.g. Best Buddies, Allied Sports), work or volunteer experiences to help them explore their interest, abilities and self-advocacy skills.
- Encourage your child to access school services and supports for as long as they are eligible (up to age 21) or until they meet graduation requirements. DDA does not fund supported employment or day services prior to age 21.
- Make connections with friends for recreation and social events (e.g., Special Olympics, Parks and Recreation) that can continue after school. Participate in chores at home.
- Create a list of people that your child can seek to for help, such as: a neighbor if they forget their keys, job coach for problems at work, contact names at community agencies etc.
- To increase independence, consider travel training. Discuss with IEP team.
Ages 18 through 19
College and Career Ready
- If after four successful years in high school, the student exits the school system and is appropriate for supported employment, the Student Toward Employment Program (STEP) should be considered. Eligibility for services from DORS is required. For more information contact your Transition Specialist.
- If your child is receiving Behavioral Health services, there may be changes (counseling, medications, psychiatric, etc.) with insurance coverage. Discuss with your Behavioral Health Provider, what needs to be done for services to continue after age 18.
- Continue to attend the Transition Fair and workshops. Investigate adult agencies. Monitor status of SSI and Medicaid eligibility.
- Student should complete mock interview, resume, college/career search, job applications, and practice clearly identifying disability and needed accommodations.
- Student should participate in work-based experiences through career exploration, job sampling, job shadowing and create a resume/portfolio.
Preparing for the exit year
- If your child’s eligibility status with DDA is classified as Future Needs (FN), contact DDA (410-234-8200) to update eligibility to Current Request (CU). Current Request status implies that the individual is eligible for day and/or vocational services. Once completed, DDA will send the file to Resource Coordination (Service Coordination, MMARS, Total Care, or Optimal Healthcare) for assignment. The Resource Coordinator should be invited to each IEP team meeting when transition is discussed. For Supports Only, the child will be placed on a waiting list for services. If your child is determined as ineligible for services and you disagree with this status, contact DDA to appeal.
- Be sure that the school has permission to share information with service providers. There may be many other agencies that need to be part of the team supporting your child’s post-graduation plans.
- Apply for Medicaid online at http://www.MarylandHealthConnection.gov or call 1-855-642-8572 or Howard County Social Services (410-872-8700). Eligibility for MA currently guarantees, upon exit, funding for day and/or vocational services from DDA.
- Contact Citizen Services (410-313-6402) to discuss qualifications for community benefits (e.g., food stamps, medical assistance, temporary cash assistance, housing etc.).
- One month prior to turning age 18, apply for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), 800-772-1213 TTY 800-325-0778, Social Security, Lakeside Bldg. Ste. 110, 8865 Stanford Blvd., Columbia, MD 21045. When calling for an appointment, be sure to ask for a list of documents and financial information you will need to bring with you. BE SURE YOU TAKE YOUR CHILD WITH YOU TO THE APPOINTMENT. Applications can also be initiated on line at www.socialsecurity.gov
Ages 20 through 21
College and Career Ready
- Attend the Transition Fair & Workshops
- If the student exits and is not eligible for DDA services, consider The Student To Employment Program (STEP). DORS eligibility is required.
- Visit multiple adult agencies and/or Self-Directed trainings.
- If appropriate, consult with the Transition Specialist regarding travel training
During the Exit Year
- August – meet with your Coordinator of community services and, if necessary provide home-file, school records and begin waiver application. Review the status of DDA, DORS and Medicaid eligibility.
- December – Choose an adult provider and initiate service funding plan
- January-April – Meet with chosen provider agency to review and sign the Service Funding Plan. Meet with the Coordinator of community services to complete and sign the Community Pathways Waiver application.
- Initiate the transition to service provider. Agencies may require a trial period. HCPSS does not provide transportation.
- May – Inquire (from the provider) about a start date.
- July-August – Begin adult services. After 30 days of service, meet with provider and Coordinator of community services to discuss progress and goals for the upcoming year.