Teens with Disabilities Aging-Out of School Services: Floyd County, Georgia
Many therapy blogs, and other information that is available to parents about children with special needs, focus on the younger children and early development. While these are very important and beneficial to parents and families I’ve noticed there’s not a lot of information about older teens with special needs and more importantly what options are available for when these kids graduate school, age out of pediatric therapy services but still need somewhere to go during the day and services to be as functional and independent as possible.
This may be different from state to state so I will be focusing on my local state and town of Rome, Georgia.
school-aged pediatric and school services
Let’s go into how school and services work for school-aged children.
Children with special needs can attend school through their 21st birthday. Locally this is also how outside therapy services work as well, serving kids 0-21. Once a child ages out outside, therapy services may no longer be covered. Further services at a different clinic will be dependent on the doctor and insurance.
teens with disabilities aging-out of school services
For a lot of parents, school is obviously the main method of “childcare” while they are at work. So for our parents of children with disabilities, this can cause some issues once the child ages out of school but the parents are still working during the day.
“Where will they go?”
“Financially I cannot quit my job!”
“They can’t just sit at home doing nothing”
These are all comments I’ve heard first hand. Locally Rome, Georgia has a few options for these recent graduates. These organizations below provide activities, work opportunities, and some medical services.
Network Day Service Center, Inc. provides support and services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help them become more independent and self-sufficient.
Network offers services in Community living, supported work, respite, skills training, specialized medical supplies.
Applying for Network Day Services requires the family to contact the department of behavioral health, they will do the assessment and walk them through the application process.
DIGS is a non-profit organization that offers activities, clubs, and housing for adults with disabilities.
They currently have a house for men and funds are actively being raised to begin construction of the second house which will be for women. They offer multiple clubs that meet such as the Just as I am Choir, camera club, art club, and 1 step at a time dance club.
Provides day services for adults over the age of 21 with developmental disabilities.
They provide supportive work services allowing them to work with partnered businesses in the community. They also provide community access which partners the individual with a care partner to take them out in town to activities of their choosing pending approval from the application process.
All of these places require an application process and have certain criteria that must be met to be accepted into their programs. This can be a time-consuming process and may require being on a waitlist so the earlier the better when planning for the future!
Working in the local schools I attend a lot of transition meetings for my older kiddos and a lot of the families do not know these places are potential options after graduation even though they are right here in our community! Even if your child is young and has plenty of time left in school I would recommend reviewing what the acceptance criteria are for these organizations as well as the possibility of a waitlist and have a plan for your kiddo and peace of mind for your future.
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