Whether this is your only child or the last one in the nest, you’re concerned about your young adult finding his or her place in the world. You want him or her to be ready when you’re no longer able to support them.
After doing some research and speaking with professionals and others who’ve been in a similar situation, you’ve decided to find a transitional program for your adult child. But how do you make a choice?
There are a number of aspects you need to consider about each program. One of the most important is the staff. Specifically, the qualifications they bring to the program.
What is most important in their qualifications isn’t necessarily going to be found on their resumes. Most of the staff employed by a transition program are generally going to have some kind of background in psychology, counseling, social work, or teaching. Instead, how they approach their work is going to have the most effect on your young adult.
Must be Flexible
One thing many professionals agree on is that every student has different needs when entering a transitional program. This is particularly true when young adults have a disability such as autism or ADHD. The school should create a plan for your young adult based on his or her specific situation, and the staff must be willing to work with your child based on that plan rather than a belief that they have a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
Also, plans change. It may be necessary for your young adult to experiment with several different career paths and educational systems before the most suitable one is found. The staff should be prepared to adapt as this happens.
Experience in Working with Adults
Having instructors and counselors who know their subject matter is important, of course, but being able to work with adult students is equally as important in these types of programs. This especially comes into play with students who aren’t motivated on their own, or who don’t have the typical skill sets associated with their age groups.
Research has shown, according to the National College Transition Network, that using teaching methods developed for adult learners, rather than traditional education methods, works well with both older and younger adults. These methods are especially helpful for getting adult learners to engage in the classroom, and retain what they are taught.
Find Out the Staff Turnover Rate
While not actually a staff qualification, knowing the staff turnover rate gives you a lot of information about the facility. A high turnover rate could mean there’s discontent among the staff. If the discontent is caused by something such as bad policies, your young adult may be affected, too.
If your young adult is one who prefers a steady routine, constant staff changes will negatively affect his or her progress. Constant changes also mean a continuous influx of people who don’t have the real-world experience to provide the assistance your young adult needs. Even if the person is coming from a similar program, they won’t be familiar with the way your adult child’s program is run.
A high turnover rate may not necessarily be negative, though. The staff could have a high percentage of interns who are meant to be temporary. Again, this may not be good for someone who thrives on routine. For a young adult who needs to experience being around a lot of new people and different personalities, though, this may be ideal. New employees can also bring fresh outlooks into the program.
Choosing a Program
Just as with selecting a traditional college program, a successful choice depends on far more than what appears on paper. As you and your young adult research and tour facilities, you’ll develop a feel for staff you would like to work with, and that you think are doing a good job. Once you’ve found a facility with the right staff, your young adult will be one step closer to independence.
Autism Speaks – Housing – https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/documents/transition/housing.pdf
Young Adults with Learning Disabilities and Other Special Needs – https://heath.gwu.edu/files/downloads/young_adults_with_learning_disabilities_adn_other_special_needs.pdf
National College Transition Network –Working with Young Adults in College Transition Programs – https://www.collegetransition.org/promisingpractices.research.youngadults.html