We recently sat down with CIP President Dan McManmon to discuss transition tips for students with autism and other learning differences. CIP Long Beach is part of a national organization that serves teens and young adults with autism, ADHD, and other learning differences.
How can parents best prepare their child for the transition to adulthood?
Parents can work to create strong structure and routines around activities of daily life (laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning) and social activities. A social mentor who can work with the student to fine-tune their social skills can also be very helpful. Volunteer and internship opportunities in a student’s area of interest can work well, too.
How can parents best prepare themselves for this transition?
Parents of students with unique needs have had to manage many aspects of their young adult’s life out of necessity. This becomes counterproductive when the student reaches adulthood. Providing the right amount of independence and allowing for small failures and the accompanying learning lessons that come with them is often difficult but necessary.
What are the most common challenges young adults face?
This varies greatly, but we typically see social issues that become more complicated with age, and the older a person gets the less compassion or understanding they receive within society. Social isolation and mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression are not all that uncommon.
What are parents most concerned about at this time?
At CIP, we see that most parents want their young adults to have the greatest chance for success and opportunities for them to make friends, identify a productive path to full or part-time employment, and learn to live more independently.
What is the one piece of advice you would like to give parents who are facing this transition?
Each families’ situation is very different. Trust your instincts and keep an open mind as the landscape of options and opportunities for students with learning differences is continually changing and evolving.
CIP Long Beach is a transition program for young adults with autism, ADHD, and other learning differences. For information about Long Beach and their other year-round and summer programs across the US, visitwww.cipworldwide.org or call 877-566-9247.