January 25, 2022


Pro Tips

Pro Tips: Transitioning to Young Adulthood

Pro Tips provided by: John Martz, Transition Specialist

As a child with a developmental disability nears age 21, it’s time to start thinking about what comes next. The Summit Center offers several adult services to help young adults navigate the working world, continue to build independence skills, and become a part of their community.

Below are a few important tips for parents and caregivers to think about when a child starts this transition to young adulthood.

1. Transportation

One consideration that is often overlooked is how a young adult will get to and from jobs, appointments, or day habilitation and pre-vocational placements. Available services in WNY include Medicaid cabs for medical appointments, contract van services, such as Bluebird and Aires, stipends for parents who provide transportation, and public transportation (NFTA Metro, and PAL). PAL, NFTA’s Paratransit Access Line, is a bus service for individuals living within a half mile of a regular Metro station or stop, who are unable to navigate the regular NFTA Metro system.

2. Explore interests

Now is the time your child might be developing specific interests that could lead to community engagement and/or a career. Talk to your child about the things they enjoy and how that might translate to activities they can do as a young adult. Even if your child is not inclined to or unable to discuss interests and preferences, offering opportunities to try diverse activities, and observing his or her engagement with these activities, is a great way to give your child a voice. Maybe they like to help around the house. This could be a great way to get your child involved in volunteering opportunities, such as a food pantry. Maybe they enjoy meeting new people. This could translate to getting a job interacting with customers.

3. Care coordination

If you don’t already have a care coordinator, consider choosing one to help you and your child navigate services and eligibility requirements. Prior to graduation, a care coordinator can help connect you with resources, fill out program applications, and find the appropriate services your child may need. As your student transitions into adulthood, if you are considering a day habilitation or respite program through OPWDD, you must have a care coordinator.

4. Learn what services are offered

Summit offers several adult division services including S.T.E.P.S. (Success Through Engagement and Positive Supports), Community Habilitation, P.A.C.E. (Pre-Vocational and Community Experience), ACCES-VR, and Supported Employment. Each of these programs works with young adults to achieve different goals and develop new skills to help them gain independence and become an active part of their community.

Some programs are group-based in a community setting, while others work with adults one-on-one from their home. You can learn more about the programs offered by Summit and by other local organizations at