Three Key Focus Areas for a Successful Transition to Adult Life
The Transition to Adult Life
When a student can feel like they have mastered life in secondary education, it’s time to move on. This transition can be a scary moment for students, especially those with special needs because it can present a need for change in environment, routine, and loads of uncertainty. The Harbor School understands this and builds preparation for adult life into everyday learning. Together with the support of the student’s family, changes that come with growing older are something that can be exciting and not intimidating.
Building Self-Advocacy, Self-Determination, and Self-Reliance
Building self-advocacy skills is critically important during adolescence because as a student moves away from the school environment, they can confidently stand their ground. Sooner than that, though, self-advocacy will allow them to be stronger at self-determination, that is, having their own vision of what their future looks like. This makes the process of person-centered planning possible and effective.
Students at The Harbor School benefit from a range of activities that build basic life skills. From shopping to self-care, community engagement, and recreation, our students have a gradual build in these areas to maintain a healthy level of challenge and engagement.
Choosing an Education or Workforce Path
Students with special needs have many post-secondary options to choose from: 2 and 4-year programs, adult education, vocational school, (pre) apprenticeship programs, and on-the-job training. The SPAN Advocacy website has a breadth of information on post-secondary options and resources in New Jersey.
One of the most helpful things a student can do to prepare for adulthood is to gain work experience. Good work habits, new skills, the discovery of interests, and increased confidence are all outcomes of work experience opportunities. With that, the student is far more likely to be an adult who maintains employment. At The Harbor School, we love to see our students gaining work experience not only because of the direct benefits to them but also because it positively affects acceptance in the community. With the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in the workforce, we want to do our part in creating a shift.
Regardless of the path, a student’s IEP is an important part of their finding success. With early indicators of the direction, they will go, determine the skills to build that will best serve them in that area. Pursuing continued education or preparing to join the workforce should be a key part of conversations starting at the age of 14 or earlier.
Transition Planning at The Harbor School
Transition services are mandated by the state of New Jersey to be available to any student receiving special education services. The SPAN Advocacy website offers a comprehensive guide to what transition services include. Families can support all three of these areas through their participation and support in transition meetings. Additionally, providing information about finances, guardianship, and health matters can help the transition team incorporate the more “hidden” aspects of adult life into the transition plan and eliminate unpleasant surprises down the road.
The staff at The Harbor School would love to get to know more about your child. Schedule a tour or reach out by phone using our contact page.
Harbor School a private special education school in Monmouth County, New Jersey
Our mission at Harbor School is to help all of our special needs students with learning, social, language, behavioral, and other disabilities. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student reach their full potential.
We would be more than happy to discuss your child's specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.544.9394, or request a tour at Harbor School in Eatontown, NJ. We are located just minutes off of the Garden State Parkway at exit 105 and conveniently located off of Route 35 and Route 36 in Monmouth County, NJ.
Principal-Harbor School, Eatontown, NJ