Start early! Learn about your health care needs at an early age.
Create a medical summary. Put all of the important information about your health care in one place, including plans for an emergency. Give any new health care providers a copy of the summary so they will know all of the important details about your medical history.
Create a health care transition plan. This plan should include future goals, what services you will need and how these could be paid for. This plan should first be written when you are 14, but should be updated yearly.
Focus on health care responsibility. Ask your parents and health care providers for insight on understanding and taking responsibility for your healthcare.
Consider additional supports. With the help of your family, explore what types of supports you might need such as medical guardianship, home health aides and personal care attendants.
Maintain wellness. Live a healthy lifestyle by implementing good nutrition and plenty of exercise. Avoid risky behaviors like smoking, alcohol use and unprotected sex.
Know your health insurance options. Look into maintaining health insurance coverage. The options can depend on your age, health conditions, income and ability to work. Also, if your family has a specific health care provider, ensure you are covered.
Find new providers. Pick a primary care doctor that meets your needs and works with adults. You can interview possible doctors with a parent.
Include health in other areas of transition. Find out how your specific health care needs may impact your future and other areas of life such as independent living, work and relationships. Consider whether accommodations will be needed in the home, workplace, et cetera. Ask your primary care physician to provide documentation of your medical conditions and special health care needs for other programs or agencies as needed.
Celebrate moving on. Remember that transition is a part of growing up, and you deserve the right to take on adult roles wherever possible. Taking responsibility for your health care is one of them, even if it requires help from a parent or service provider.
Miami Dade County Public Schools offers this directory of medical and therapeutic professionals who are well versed in the various Exceptional Education Programs offered by the District. They are available for consultation and are a free resource.
FloridaHATS is a program of Florida Department of Health, Children’s Medical Services. Their mission is to ensure successful transition from pediatric to adult health care for all youth and young adults in Florida, including those with disabilities, chronic health conditions or other special health care needs. Search here for health care programs and providers in your area that serve young adults, including those with disabilities or chronic health conditions.
Mount Sinai’s Adult Autism Clinic dedicated by the Makarov Foundation provides primary and specialty medical care for individuals age 18 and older with an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. The staff has been trained by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) to meet the special medical needs of adults on the autism spectrum. Mount Sinai is the only hospital in South Florida that provides medical care in a hospital setting for the adult autism population, ages 18 and over. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (305) 674-2430.
The Mailman Clinic of Child Development offer a team centered approach to health care and intervention for developmental disabilities. Especially helpful in guiding parents/caregivers as they learn about interventions, programs and agencies available within the University of Miami and in the community where the family lives. A Family Navigator will be assigned to the family to explain, guide and connect them with the right resources based on their needs and concerns. The service is free of charge and covers the lifespan.
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.
FIU Embrace is a university-wide initiative that promotes health, wellness, and overall functioning for adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disabilities (ID), and other neurodevelopmental disorders (OND). It seeks to help these persons lead healthy lives and maximize their individual potential across their lifespan. Services include health care, legal services, and secondary education.
The University of Miami’s Autism Spectrum Assessment Clinic (ASAC) offers assessment and a variety of therapeutic programs and services for individuals with ASD or related social-communication difficulties. Therapies at ASAC focus on improving social, emotional and behavioral functioning.
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics located in Hollywood, Florida provides comprehensive services for children experiencing developmental or behavior problems.
JAFCO serves children from birth through age 22 diagnosed with a developmental disability, including autism, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, spina bifida or Prader-Willi. They offer therapeutic services, child enrichment services, family support, respite care, support groups and parent training. They also offer Camp Kehilla, a special needs camp for children ages 3 – 22 with developmental disabilities.
Neuro Network Partners, located at the Neurodevelopment Program at Nicklaus Children’s Dan Marino Outpatient Center, is a group of physicians have specialized expertise in fields including epilepsy, headaches, traumatic brain injury, neurocritical care, neuromuscular disorders, cerebral palsy, movement disorders, autism, developmental disorders, behavioral problems, sleep disturbances, and neuro-immunologic disorders. Dr. Roberto F Tuchman, Chief, Department of Neurology, Director of Autism Program and Neurodevelopment Program at Nicklaus Children’s Dan Marino Outpatient Center in Weston, FL.