Transition to Adulthood/Leaving High School

Questions to Consider

young adult male with disability on an ipad

Charting the Life Course is a tool, developed by the Supporting Families Community of Practice and the University of Missouri Kansas City, to assist you in creating a vision for the future. It is designed to help families think about the questions to ask as you “plot a course” to a full and meaningful life for a family member with a disability.  Individuals and families can focus on their current stage of life, but families may also find it useful to look towards the future to start thinking about what they can do or learn now that will help build an inclusive, productive life.

The Supporting Families Community of Practice believes that this "life course approach" helps families realize that even when children are young and as they grow into adulthood, their experiences and environment can shape how they will live their life in the future.

Here's just a few questions that the "Life Course approach" encourages families to consider, if they have a child with a disability in the transition stage.

  1. Does my transition plan include work or volunteer experience, and practicing how to look for a job, get a job and keep a job?
  2. Have you talked to me about post-secondary education? Taken me for college visits? (*Postsecondary education can also include programs on college campuses for students with intellectual disabilities.)
  3. Have you talked with me about where I might want to live in the future (after school ends/when I am an adult)? 
  4. Are you helping me learn how to share my goals, hopes and dreams at educational and other support meetings?
  5. Are you exploring alternatives to guardianship so I can retain my right to make my own choices and decisions?
  6. How will I maintain and make new friendships outside of school (especially if most of my friends have gone off to college and I have not)?
  7. Am I dating or starting to think about dating? Have you talked to me about safe sex and sexual boundaries?
  8. Do I have opportunities to do what other young people do for fun?
  9. Are you helping me learn how to share my goals, hopes and dreams at educational and other support meetings?
  10. Are you connected to other families that have experienced or are experiencing the transition from high school to adulthood?

For a full list of questions families can consider for this stage of life, download the Charting the Lifecourse booklet and other resources at http://www.lifecoursetools.com/.

The questions in Charting the Life Course are written to reflect a “first person” perspective across the lifespan to represent the viewpoint of the person with a disability and the on-going transformation to an adult who is self-determined, autonomous and independent.