How to plan for when your special needs student wants to live independently

Reprinted from Dallas Morning News blogspecial needs

By Robin LeoGrande/Special Needs Insider

Here’s a new idea for students with special needs in North Texas: Having housing available to meet transition plans that include moving into more independent housing options soon after students graduate high school (or “age into adulthood”). This would enable graduates move into independent living with the friends they want to live with and the supports they need.

Families of any age student with special needs should plan for where their student will live as an adult.

So how does a family plan for transition into independent housing? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Estimate at what age the student would like to live independently.
  2. Ask yourself: What are the three most critical independent living skills that the student needs to learn? Practice at home and include appropriate goals in the Individual Education Plan. As these skills improve, add more skills to learn.
  3. Have a plan to save money to help your child live independently. Whatever a family can afford will help.
  4. See an attorney about creating a special needs trust.
  5. Contact your school about getting on the waiting lists for the Medicaid Waiver programs.
  6. Build a network friends with and without disabilities with your child. This will be important to create a home of friends and have a natural support system in the neighborhood.
  7. Complete this short survey on my website, Community for Permanent Support Housing, so you can stay informed of the housing options becoming available in North Texas.

Robin LeoGrande is co-founder and president Community for Permanent Supported Housing (CPSH), an all-volunteer, charity serving North Texas (Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant Counties).

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