This Transition to Adulthood Hub outlines a framework for supporting young people with developmental disabilities as they transition from high school to adult life.
The planning tools are geared towards planning for individuals who will be eligible for adult support services through Community Living BC (CLBC), although it may be helpful for a broader range of individuals.
For CLBC purposes, people who qualify for supports under their “Developmental Disabilities” stream must have a diagnosed intellectual disability.
It’s Never too Early to Start
It is critical that the transition planning process begins as early as possible, as young as 13 or 14 years old. Starting early allows time to adequately create and implement a transition plan that will prepare the youth for adulthood and fully explore all options.
Who and How Many People May Be Involved?
In addition to the youth and their caregivers, the planning team should consist of at least two members and as many as eight.
The core members of the transition planning team typically include:
- School-Based Case Manager
- Current service providers (as applicable)
- Behaviour Consultants
- Counsellors or therapists
- Outreach Workers
- Nurses or doctors
- Social workers
The core members of the transition planning team may also include:
- Other school-based staff including the principal or vice principal
- Education Assistant, ABA Support Workers and/or Child and Youth Care Worker
- School Indigenous Graduation Advocates
- Adult Service Providers
Community Living BC (CLBC)
Community Living BC (CLBC) is a government agency that provides funding to service providers that support adults with developmental disabilities with daily living and community inclusion. CLBC Facilitators connect with individuals and their families to determine and request the support services required. These supports include the following.
- Community Inclusion Support: CLBC facilitators can help you explore ways to get involved in your community. There are four types of community inclusion support: Employment, Skill Development, Community-based and Home-based Support.
- Employment Support: When people request CLBC supports, or change existing supports, a CLBC facilitator will talk about options to help find employment. This could include services through WorkBC.
- Residential Supports: CLBC funds different types of residential support called supported living, shared living and staffed residential that provide support where people live.
- Behavioural Support: Behaviour support addresses behaviours by working with a person and those around them to replace the behaviour with positive social or communication skills.
- Respite for Families: Respite support provides time when family member’s needs will be met, by allowing family members to use that time for themselves as they choose.
- Provincial Assessment Centre: The Provincial Assessment Centre is a part of Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) and is designated as a tertiary care mental health service under the Mental Health Act. PAC is mandated to provide multi-disciplinary mental health services for referred individuals ages 14 and up with a developmental disability and a concurrent mental illness, or behavior issue.
- CLBC Personalized Supports Initiative (PSI): The CLBC PSI is separate from services for adults with developmental disabilities and provides services to adults who have both significant limitations in adaptive functioning and either a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The PSI provides an individualized and personalized approach to meeting the needs of eligible adults by coordinating existing community supports to help people to maintain or increase their independence. PSI augments, rather than replaces, existing support. Where necessary, PSI will provide funding for supports such as supported living, respite, employment support, skill development, homemaker support, and development of support networks.
Role of the School-Based Case Manager
The principal of the school is responsible for ensuring that students with identified needs are assigned a school-based case manager. School-based case managers take an active role in coordinating transition planning as part of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process. They will coordinate services, liaise with other staff members who work with a particular student, as well as members of involved agencies and ministries.
Long-range transition planning should be integrated into the IEP process beginning in Grade 8 or 9. As the student nears the age of 16, the school-based case manager will work most closely with the student, their caregivers and appropriate government and community agencies, to support planning for adulthood.
In addition to planning and supporting school programming, school-based case managers have several important tasks in helping students/families prepare for the transition to adulthood, including:
Confirming CLBC Eligibility
To be eligible for CLBC services, a current psycho-educational assessment must clearly indicate that a student meets the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) Criteria for Intellectual Disability. The DSM-5 is accepted internationally as a primary clinical reference enabling psychologists, psychiatrists, and other professionals to identify and describe a range of intellectual, psychological, psychiatric and related conditions using commonly understood and validated terminology.
School-based case managers ensure a psycho-educational assessment has been conducted, is current, and includes the documentation required to determine CLBC eligibility. The psycho-educational assessment report must indicate a diagnosis of mild to moderate/severe intellectual disability.
If a diagnosis of mild to moderate/severe intellectual disability is not stated in a psycho-educational assessment report or no assessment report exists, the student has not yet been determined to be eligible for Community Living BC (CLBC) services. Depending upon their age, they should be considered a priority for school-based assessment. The following considerations should be made:
- Referral to School-Based Team (SBT).The school-based case manager must forward the student’s name to the SBT who will consider the need for a psycho-educational assessment. If the SBT determines that a psycho-educational assessment should be conducted, the school-based case manager will complete and submit the appropriate referral forms, citing the need to determine CLBC eligibility.
- Timing. It is most effective practice to have a psycho-educational assessment completed before the student is 16 years of age to prevent a delay in accessing and transitioning to adult services. In some instances, parents may consider a private assessment.
Connecting with CLBC
Once the student turns 16 years of age, and a psycho-educational assessment with completed CLBC eligibility form has been obtained, the school-based case manager and transition team may now support the student and family in their application to CLBC. The connection with CLBC and the subsequent application process will depend on the parents’ comfort level and needs. Parents may wish to:
- Take the assessment documents to CLBC and apply on their own;
- Have their CYSN social worker support them with the application process; or
- Have the school-based case manager support them with the application process. Where the case manager is supporting the family, they must ensure that the parents have provided informed consent to release information (forms signed). Alternatively, the school-based case manager may decide to invite the parents/guardians to the school and to make the phone call to CLBC together.
Once deemed eligible (ideally, between 17 and 18 year of age), CLBC hosts a Welcome Workshop for parents/guardians and youth. At the Welcome Workshop CLBC assigns a Facilitator. This facilitator becomes a key member of the transition team, spending time getting to know the individual and their family and gathering information regarding the type of CLBC support they will want to access when they become 19 years of age.
Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD) Navigators
When a youth is deemed eligible for CLBC services, they are also eligible to apply for STADD Navigator support. School-based case managers should ensure students are connected with STADD Navigators, who will become an integral part of your student’s transition planning team and a main point of contact for the families.
Parents/Guardians may initiate the referral process by making a phone call to STADD. School-based case managers may also refer the student (with signed consent to release information) for Navigator services through the STADD Collaborate platform. The STADD Collaborate platform is a web-based information sharing tool that the members of the team use to share ideas, the student’s goals and the steps they want to take.
Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Benefits
Individuals that are eligible for CLBC are eligible to receive Person with Disabilities (PWD) benefits from the BC government. PWD benefits provide individuals with a monthly income assistance, as well as support for transportation/bus pass and medical benefits. For most individuals, PWD can begin when they turn 18 years of age.
Student With Medical Needs On The At-Home Program And PWD Benefits
Student on the At-Home Program must have their PWD benefits in place when they turn 18, as the medical benefits portion of PWD take over the funding for these services. Failure to ensure applications for PWD are completed in a timely fashion could result in significant delays in receiving medical supplies when the individual turns 18. Most often these individuals have social workers that are aware of this and support the family to ensure PWD is applied for in a timely manner. However, it is important for school-based case managers to check with families to ensure this timeline is followed.
Youth In Ministry of Child and Development Care
PWD for youth-in-care begins at age 19 when the Ministry of Child and Development is no longer a guardian.
Person Centred Transition Planning
Person-centred planning is an ongoing process for selecting and organizing the services and supports that a person with a disability may need to live in the community. Most important, it is a process that is directed by the person who receives the support.
Core values of a person-centred approach include individuality, rights, privacy, choice, independence, dignity, respect and partnership. Effective person-centred planning incorporates:
- Family Involvement
- Identification and Use of a Transition Coordinator
- Inter-Agency Collaboration
- Community Involvement
Capitalizing on Individual Strengths
The act of transitioning involves the identification of personal accomplishments and school-based opportunities and experiences that the student enjoys and does well with. Strength based transition planning can assist the youth in securing employment, pursuing post-secondary education, and experiencing a meaningful community life.
Exploring Options and Decision-Making
Making important decisions about the future, while transitioning to adulthood is both exciting and challenging for young people and their families. This is especially true for youth with exceptional needs. Being informed about options, potential pathways in life and the various supports available, are central to this decision-making process. Decisions include making choices regarding future living arrangements and financial matters, further learning/education, employment, community leisure, and social connections.
Transition planning provides an opportunity to create an individualized vision for the future. This in turn prepares the youth for new and exciting challenges and opportunities.
Utilize the Transitions to Adulthood Planning Checklist to support and document the planning process starting as early as when youth are 13-14 years of age. Attach the checklist to the IEP as a reference for those involved with the transition planning.
Developing A Successful Transition Plan
Step 1: Build a Planning Team
Choose people who know you best and can assist you with identifying your goals, needs and future services. Consider your parents, teacher, social worker, current service providers, service agencies for adults, and people from your personal support network such as peers, friends, classmates and extended family members.
Step 2: Information Sharing
Inform your team members about your goals, strengths and needs to ensure the transition plan is centered on you.
Step 3: Transition Planning
List the tasks that must be completed to reach your goals as well as the services, supports you use now, and those you will need as an adult.
Step 4: Put Your Transition Plan into Action
Each team member will work on their assigned tasks.
Step 5: Update Your Transition Plan
Monitor how everyone is doing with his or her tasks and adjust the plan if needed.
Step 6: Hold an Exit Meeting
Arrange a final planning session before you leave high school to finalize your plan and to check to see what tasks are left to complete.
Pathways to Graduation
Students with intellectual disabilities have 3 possible paths to graduation.
- BC Certificate of Graduation or Dogwood Program is awarded to students who successfully complete the provincial graduation requirements.
- BC Adult Dogwood Program: Learners who are 18 years of age or older can combine credits earned at both secondary and post-secondary schools towards a B.C. Adult Graduation Diploma (Adult Dogwood). Adult learners may also pursue a regular B.C. Dogwood Diploma.
- School Completion Certificate Program (Evergreen) for students with intellectual disabilities working on IEP driven programming (modified programs).
Some students with intellectual disabilities will be capable of achieving a Dogwood Diploma or Adult Dogwood Diploma, and others will follow an Evergreen Leaving Certificate path. The members of the student’s educational team (including the parents and student) will make program decisions regarding graduation path at the end of Grade 9. Decisions regarding graduation programs should not be made prior to grade 10.
Adult Non-Graduated Students
The majority of students graduate with their peers at the end of their Grade 12 year. However, in some circumstances, it may be appropriate for a student to continue working toward graduation or toward completion of an Evergreen program. Funding for adult non-graduated students with special needs are eligible for special education funding if they have special needs as per:
Level 1 – Designation categories A and B
Level 2 – Designation categories C through G
Level 3 – Designation category H
See Form 1701 (K-12 Form Instructions) for category details. To be eligible, adult non-graduate students with special needs must be working towards goals set out in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) and:
- have been reported on the Form 1701 in the prior school year (i.e. they are continuing their K-12 education program uninterrupted from when they were still school age); and
- be continuing their program at the same school (i.e. they are continuing their K-12 education program uninterrupted at the same school leading towards a B.C. Certificate of Graduation, the B.C. Adult Graduation Diploma or the School Completion Certificate Program from when they were still school age).
The educational team (including the parent, and student as appropriate) will determine the student’s graduation path in accordance with the student’s best interests, within the context of transition planning (i.e., in consideration of the student’s profile, needs, and aspirations). For additional information, see Ministry of Education information here.