Children with disabilities who are approaching adulthood are nearing a threshold that may provoke anxiety for parents, but resources are available to help.
Children with disabilities are entitled to receive services until they reach the age of 21, due to provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. However, upon reaching adulthood, many such services are no longer available. Parents are faced with two important decisions: where the young person will live, and what he or she will do. Seniors with disabilities often face similar issues.
If an adult with special needs plans to live independently, then it is important to begin researching the options well ahead of time. There are often long waiting lists for group homes for developmentally disabled adults, and many families have ended up moving their own home to be closer to better independent living opportunities for their loved one.
Depending on individual circumstances, young adults with disabilities may be looking forward to college or entering the work force, or parents may be looking for opportunities for organized activities for adults with disabilities. In any case, it is important to prepare far in advance and seek out help wherever it is available.
In New York State, an excellent resource for many of these issues is the state Developmental Disabilities Regional Offices, which can assist with programs, services and supports for adults of all ages with special needs, including elderly individuals with developmental disabilities. The offices are the starting point to apply for services. Visit www.opwdd.ny.gov for more information.
With proper care and support, adults and seniors with disabilities can take advantage of life’s opportunities.