In Nevada, students can receive special-education services until age 22, but the process of planning for transition starts long before that. Here are five things to do to help you prepare for your child's transition to adulthood in Nevada and make sure there's something waiting after school is done.
1. Expect transition planning to be a part of your child's IEP by his or her fourteenth birthday if not before. To start thinking about what your child will need to get ready for life after school, read these publications from the Nevada PEP parent advocacy organization with your teen: "Where Am I Going? How Will I Get There?," "You Can Do It!," "Catch Your Dream," and "Your Rights in Special Education." Your child should be involved in IEP meetings at this point if at all possible, even if it's a brief appearance to talk about work or post-high-school educational goals.
2. Prepare for the transfer of rights to your child at age 18, the age of majority in Nevada. You should receive a "Notification to Parent(s) of Transfer of Rights Under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act" from your child's case manager, and your child will receive a similar document to sign. If your child will need you to continue to be in charge of his or her educational program, you will need to consult with a lawyer to look into guardianship or power of attorney. Your school district may continue to include you and consult with you, depending on how your relationship has been, but legally they only have to get your child's approval from this point on unless you have created a legal standing for yourself.
3. Work with your child's IEP team and the school's transition coordinator to determine whether your student should graduate with his or her age peers or stay in school additional years or all the way until eligibility ends at age 22. Be sure to ask what sorts of work programs are available, what your child would be doing in the classroom with those extra years, and what your child's options will be after leaving school.
4. Investigate state organizations that can help your child transition to work and independent living when school is over. These may include the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, the Rehabilitation Division of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation, and United Cerebral Palsy.
5. Contact the Nevada PEP, which offers support and workshops for families of children with special needs, for advice on helping your child through this transition.