Every adult faces difficulties in the transition to living independently. The key to living life with the most independence is developing positive relationships, valuable work habits and making good personal choices for healthy living. Even when things get difficult, remember that it’s your constitutional right to be fully included, and actively participate in your community. Once you have the appropriate support in place you can be the key stakeholder in your decisions.

“Despise not any man/woman and do not deem anything unworthy of consideration, for there is no man/woman that does not have his/her hour and no thing that does not have its place.”

Ethics of the Fathers 4:3

Tips for Creating a Full Life

  • Establish clear short-term and long-term goals.
    After a discussion with your support system about your strengths and interests, set goals for the next year. Then, decide what you need in order to reach these goals. These goals may change over time, but make them as clear and concise as possible. Revisit them annually.

  • Realize which things you have control over and which you do not.
    You have control over your personal goals, but, unfortunately, you have no direct control over the economy or the funding guidelines put into place by the systems in power. Be sure to have an appropriate Plan B ready. If need be, learn how to advocate for yourself.

  • Find like-minded people who have the same goals.
    Other people have gone through this. Find peers to talk with to get ideas.

  • Take care of yourself.
    Above all, remember that there is only one ‘you.’ Make sure you are taking good care of your physical health by maintaining a good diet and getting plenty of exercise. Your mental health can benefit from taking time for yourself and doing what you enjoy. Don’t lose what makes ‘you’ special in the process.

    The Center for Parent Information and Resources hosts a comprehensive website with information designed to connect you with basic information on transition planning, as well as webinars, on health care, work, post-secondary options and finances.

    The articles, guides, and online trainings are designed for specific audiences, because we all process and use information from the vantage point of why we want to know and what we’re going to do with the info.

    Attend a webinar on adulthood here

    Disability Rights Florida – Four Types of Transition Plans. This site discusses IEP’s, 504 plans, TIEP (Transition Individualized Education Plan) and IPE (Individualized Plan for Employment).

As you transition to adulthood, it is important to obtain a State Identification Card even if you are not planning to get a driver’s license. Without a photo identification card you may find it difficult to access services at banking institutions, government agencies, and transportation centers such as train stations and airports.

State Identification Card:

The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issues driver’s licenses and state identification cards.  As youth transition to adulthood, it is important to obtain a State Identification Card even if you are not planning to get a driver’s license.

Identification/Disclosure Card:

The Wallet Card Project is a project of The Disability Independence Group, Inc. (DIG) that was designed in collaboration with The Coral Gables Police Department (CGPD), and The University of Miami Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. (UM-NSU CARD).

The wallet card is a tool to be used by a teenager or an adult with a disability.

Transition is a formal process of long-range cooperative planning that will assist students with disabilities to successfully move from school into the adult world.  High quality transition planning and services will enable students with disabilities to pursue their desired postsecondary goals. For assistance with transition issues, please contact Wendy Metty at Click here for a great resource on navigating transitions.

Project 10 part of the transition Education Network outlines the process of transition in this excellent flyer:

Family Network on Disabilities – The mission is to strive for the complete integration and equality of persons with disabilities in a society without barriers and to serve families of children with disabilities, ages birth through 26, who have the full range of disabilities. Here is there Transition Toolkit.

UM-NSU CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) At University Miami and Nova Southeastern University, 5 locations in Broward and Miami Dade counties, maintains a resource page for community programs for adults with autism.

The Association for People with Disabilities APD provides: Medicaid HCBS Waiver through iBudget Florida; Placement in an intermediate care facility for those with developmental disabilities; Supported employment services; Supported living services; Consumer Directed Care Plus (CDC+); and IFS (Individual and Family Supports) funding for non-waiver customer expenses.

Next For Autism (formerly New York Collaborates for Autism) is a non-profit organization that strategically designs, launches and supports innovative programs to improve the lives of people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

 Easter Seals offers a wider array of services over the life span for children and adults with different abilities. These include education, therapy, vocational training and summer programs

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR mission is to help people with disabilities find meaningful careers. They offer career counseling, financial assistance with tuition and job counseling.

The Able Trust, also known as the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation, is a 501(c)(3) public-private partnership foundation established by the Florida Legislature in 1990. Its mission is to be a key leader in providing Floridians with disabilities opportunities for successful employment. Since its establishment, The Able Trust has worked with community organizations throughout the state to help thousands of Floridians with disabilities enter the workforce. The Able Trust youth programs provide career development and transition to many students with disabilities annually, helping to reduce the dropout rate and prepare young adults for life beyond high school.

The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council is an agency that advocates for and promotes programs, practices and innovative initiatives that enhances the independence, productivity, inclusion and self-determination of individuals with developmental disabilities in all aspects of life. They have a particularly good reference section of publications on different stages of life.

The Dan Marino Foundation (DMF) is a results-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons with autism or other developmental disabilities. Using innovative approaches to problem solving and leveraging the latest computer technologies, the DMF is creating unprecedented opportunities for the disability community. At the core of the Foundation’s initiatives is Marino Campus, an intensive 10-month post-secondary educational program to help young adults with autism or other developmental disabilities bridge the gap between high school and employment.

Helping Adults with Autism Perform and Excel (HAAPE) provides adults with autism the opportunity to benefit from meaningful employment to become more independent and enhance their lives. HAAPE has established a technology center as a workplace for adults with autism that will provide training, employment, and a social environment conducive to their needs

Picasso Einstein provides educational and consulting services to create meaningful employment for someone with a developmental disability by starting a small sustainable business focused on the strengths and interests of the individual. Picasso Einstein offers courses, consulting and benefits counseling.

Americans Live With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
of Children Have Been Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability