Educators have played an important role . . .

 

For many persons who receive developmental services as well as for their caregivers, educators have provided an important service and presence.

 

Students eventually graduate, "age out" or move away from formal education. The situation for those receiving developmental services and supports can, obviously, be described as "exceptional" or "special." We want to describe some aspects of how turning 18 will affect supported persons and their caregivers.

 

An "adult"

 

First, when a supported person turns 18, he or she is classified as an "adult" by the province of Ontario. That person is then entitled to make decisions about continuing on with any formal education.

 

On a waitlist

 

Second, as an adult, some services that were previously available will cease and new ones will become possible. While they are possible, they may not be immediately available. Many developmental services and supports require application and new proof of eligibility just to get on a waitlist. That can also apply to aspects of education. There are no guaranteed spots in day programs

nor are there any guaranteed residential services. 

 

Person-centred support

 

Service agencies hold to a philosophy of "person-centred" support. This means that people who receive adult services have
the right to make their own decisions about things that affect their lives. They are expected, as much as possible, to direct the services they are getting.

 

And so, third, in keeping with this "person-centred" approach to adult developmental services, the work of educators in helping a youth and the caregivers to develop a transition plan becomes very critical for continuing with formal education beyond age 18. The province has put such transition tools in place. Some gathered information and resources are available on the next page.