Transitions to Adulthood: Planning for Children with Developmental Disabilities

If you are the parent or caregiver of a child with developmental disabilities, you may worry about what will happen when they reach adulthood. Will they be prepared to enter the adult world? How can their school help them gain the necessary skills to transition to adulthood?

At Bassett Murray Law Group, we have helped numerous parents and guardians throughout Michigan secure critical resources to aid their children’s transitions to adulthood. Contact us today at 734-930-9200 to schedule your consultation. 

What Is Transition Planning in an IEP? 

Every student needs resources and assistance in place to transition from high school to the next step in their life, be it college, a career, independent living, or something else. However, youth with special needs and developmental disabilities require additional care to ensure that they have the necessary resources and legal tools to transition smoothly. 

Transition planning is a legally required step in a student’s IEP beginning the year they turn 16. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), transition services are a coordinated set of activities for a child with a developmental disability that uses a results-oriented process with a focus on improving the child’s functional and academic achievement to facilitate their transition from school to post-school activities. These must be based on the child’s specific needs, taking their strengths, interests, and preferences into account.

What About Other Transitions?

Nothing in the IEP process assists with the legal event of becoming an adult in the eyes of the law. For parents of a child with a disability, that coming-of-age event adds additional stress and worry. The parent no longer has decision-making authority and no longer has access to medical and school information. The 18 year old has new found freedom, which, depending on how the disability affects the person, may or may not create new vulnerabilities to be addressed.

As a new adult, different benefits and programs may become available that, as a legal matter, are important to maximizing the disabled person’s independence, support and future care. That is why Bassett Murray Law Group has created the New Adult package of services. The package includes:

  • Guidance and information for applying for Supplement Security Income (SSI)
  • A lease agreement if your child is continuing to live at home, which is necessary to maximize the SSI benefit
  • Guidance on how to keep SSI in place
  • Medicaid application and guidance
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, if the new adult is competent to sign
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances if the new adult is competent to sign
  • HIPAA release for medical records
  • Release for school records
  • Petition and representation in applying for a guardianship under the developmental disabilities guardianship laws if needed
  • Special Needs Trust to hold, manage and use funds gifted by you and others, including inheritance funds, to help supplement financial needs of the new adult without disrupting benefits
  • Information and guidance on establishing an ABLE account
  • Information and guidance on how and when to convert from SSI to the Disabled Adult Child benefit program

As a parent or guardian for a child with developmental disabilities, you should consider how your caregiver responsibilities may change when your child turns 18. You should also take the necessary measures to prepare for your child’s future care should you pass away or become unable to care for them. 

A Bassett Murray Law Group attorney can provide the necessary services to ensure that your child will be well-cared-for for the rest of their life. 

Contact a Qualified Special Needs Planning Attorney 

Schedule a consultation with our Bassett Murray Law Group today at 734-930-9200 to learn more about transitions to adulthood in Ann Arbor, MI.


Get to know us better by scheduling an initial consultation where we can discuss your needs.

Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
2045 Hogback Road
​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
Phone: 734-930-9200
Fax: 734-930-9942

Petoskey Office
By Appointment only
3319 Lakeside Dr S
Petoskey, MI 49770
Phone: 231-427-2292

Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
2045 Hogback Road
​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
Phone: 734-930-9200
Fax: 734-930-9942