Transitioning Students to Adulthood Planning Guide

Welcome to New Trier!

We look forward to meeting you and your child. A new chapter in your child's life is beginning and we know it's exciting but also challenging and for some, a little scary! Navigating a new school, new teachers and new classmates is overwhelming for all of us. But please know we are here to help and support you in any way we can.

As a first step, we've created this document to make the years ahead of your parenting hopefully easier, and to specifically help you understand and plan for your child's experience at New Trier and the years after that.

This project is a team effort between New Trier ELS parents and teachers. We've compiled our best advice here. However, please understand this document is just a guide, and some topics may require parents to seek outside legal or financial advice. Parents are expected to take full accountability for the parent-driven activities.

We've created an Annual Check List of activities to be completed each year and then a check list by Age/School Year. This Age/School Year Check List is divided between tasks that are school-driven and those that are parent-driven, but know that the goal is for parents and teachers to work together. This is a "living" document, and we encourage you to provide your personal feedback and any modifications/edits to the content of this work. We have made our best attempts at providing relevant, current and comprehensive information, and hope parents and staff can collaborate together to keep this guideline updated and relevant in the years ahead.

Enjoy and Happy Reading!

ELS Teachers and Administrators with collaboration from many ELS Parents.

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Annual Checklist
To do each year

Annual ELS Check List

  • Review School Calendar and ELS Calendar. Make particular note of final exam schedules and late start/early dismissals that might require special childcare arrangements. In addition, make note of social events (such as dances or other special events) that may involve advanced planning with the educational team for your child's successful participation in these activities.
  • Attend the ELS back to school BBQ (usually held in September) to learn about happenings in the ELS program and to prepare for the school year ahead.
  • Prior to start of school (or summer school if relevant), discuss with your child's educational team any mobility and/or safety concerns as it pertains to your child's classroom and campus experience. This is particularly relevant as your student starts on the Freshman Campus, their subsequent move to the Winnetka Campus, and their eventual graduation into the Transition Program.
  • Discuss transportation needs with the educational team to and from school (including after school programs) and pick up and drop off procedures.
  • Explore integration opportunities into sports teams, clubs, Special Olympics, performing and creative arts.
  • Explore recreational and leisure opportunities for both after-school and summer enrichment. Get on waiting lists if applicable. Many summer camp programs have limited enrollment and require registration in early winter.
  • Complete annual required New Trier Forms including:
    Emergency Contact List
    Sports' Teams Forms
    Special Olympic Medical Form (requires an annual physical)
    Medication Forms
  • If interested, connect with both general education and special education Parent Groups and/or social media Facebook groups as well as PELS, NSSED, IPADD Unite and others.
  • On an ongoing basis, review the ELS Parent Handbook and ELS parent website for topical information.
  • Consider applying for the New Trier Township Grant Application
  • Be mindful about RSVPing to events your child participates in. It is important to always submit an attendance response to things like Special Olympics tournaments, High Five concerts and ELS activities so that appropriate and safe accommodations can be arranged for all participants.

Click here for more information about each bullet point.

Incoming Freshman
Before Freshman Year at New Trier (or Age 14)

This project is a team effort between New Trier ELS parents and teachers. We've compiled our best advice here. However, please understand this document is just a guide, and some topics may require parents to seek legal or financial advice. Parents are expected to take full accountability for the parent driven activities.

School Coordinated Activities

  • Complete the pre-high school New Trier transition assessments.
  • Meet your child's educational team and understand the role each member plays during the New Trier Articulation Meeting.
  • Discuss with educational team your child's options for summer programming.
  • Discuss the advisory system. Specifically review role of advisor, supportive peer placement, and successful integration strategies.
  • Begin a dialogue around a post high school plan for your child.

Parent Coordinated Activities

  • Start a high school paperwork or electronic file.
  • Consider attending both General Education and ELS Parent transition to New Trier meetings.
  • Consider your child attending the advisory kickoff in summer to have them meet with Advisor, advisory peers and student helper.
  • Consider signing up for a Parent ELS mentor.

Click here for more information about each bullet point.

Freshman Year
Freshman Year at New Trier (or Age 15)

This project is a team effort between New Trier ELS parents and teachers. We've compiled our best advice here. However, please understand this document is just a guide, and some topics may require parents to seek legal or financial advice. Parents are expected to take full accountability for the parent driven activities.

School Coordinated Activities

  • Work with your child's educational team to begin to develop a vocational plan and identify possible work opportunities onsite at the Freshman campus.
  • Schedule Transition Planning Meeting prior to annual IEP to review the transition assessment prepared at entry to New Trier.
  • Develop IEP goals in conjunction with your child's educational team balancing academics, vocational training and daily life skills.
  • Prior to end of the school year, look for communication from your new case manager who will identify your Winnetka Campus team.
  • Work with child's educational team to finalize possible vocational placement to start in fall of sophomore year based on results of transition assessments.
  • Schedule a transition meeting with your current case manager and new Winnetka campus case manager to share information about your child.
  • Complete MAPS as part of the 3 Year Re-evaluation process (where appropriate).

Parent Coordinated Activities

  • Consider a Special Needs Trust and/or ABLE account in order to protect assets saved in your child's name and ensure eligibility for SSI and Medicaid.
  • Review banking and financial planning to ensure no money is being saved in student's name in preparation for SSI application when student turns 18.
  • Complete or update PUNS (Prioritization for the Urgency of Needed Services).
  • Consider and apply for respite care.
  • Attend parent informational meetings available at New Trier and through NSSED regarding transition topics.
  • Consider signing up for the weekly NSSED parent email that highlights upcoming parent educational sessions.
  • Attend the Welcome to Winnetka Campus presentation for ELS parents.
  • Schedule home visit with Winnetka Advisor (this typically occurs over summer prior to Sophomore year).

Click here for more information about each bullet point.

Sophomore Year
Sophomore Year at New Trier (or Age 16)

This project is a team effort between New Trier ELS parents and teachers. We've compiled our best advice here. However, please understand this document is just a guide, and some topics may require parents to seek legal or financial advice. Parents are expected to take full accountability for the parent driven activities.

School Coordinated Activities

  • Work with your child's educational team (and vocational coordinator) to further develop your student's vocational plan and identify work opportunities onsite at the Winnetka Campus (or offsite if applicable)
  • Discuss classes and related services available at the Winnetka campus with your child's educational team.
  • Schedule Transition Planning Meeting prior to annual IEP to review the transition assessment prepared and updated after Freshman Year.
  • Evaluate and revise IEP goals in conjunction with your child's educational team balancing academics, vocational training, daily life skills and freshman year experience.
  • Meet with the Transition Coordinator to review this Adult Planning Guideline document and discuss timeframe for making necessary linkages for adult services.
  • Complete MAPS as part of the 3 Year Re-evaluation process (where appropriate).

Parent Coordinated Activities

  • Obtain State ID, Driver's License and/or TSA precheck card.
  • Review estate plan to evaluate eligibility for governmental benefits including special needs trust and/or ABLE accounts.
  • Begin to evaluate guardianship and Power of Attorney (prior to your child turning age 17 years of age)
  • Update PUNS (Prioritization for the Urgency of Needed Services).
  • Explore and begin touring post high school residential and day programs and get on waiting lists, if necessary.
  • Complete referral process for the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), if appropriate.
  • Attend parent informational workshops at New Trier and thru NSSED on transition to adulthood topics.

Click here for more information about each bullet point.

Junior Year
Junior year at New Trier (or Age 17)

This project is a team effort between New Trier ELS parents and teachers. We've compiled our best advice here. However, please understand this document is just a guide, and some topics may require parents to seek legal or financial advice. Parents are expected to take full accountability for the parent driven activities.

School Coordinated Activities

  • Work with your child's educational team (including vocational coordinator) to develop your student's vocational plan. Review the student work performance evaluation , identify goals and evaluate work opportunities in the community based on this evaluation.
  • Schedule Transition Planning Meeting (if necessary) prior to Annual IEP to review/update your child's transition assessments.
  • Reevaluate IEP goals in conjunction with your child's educational team making updates based on vocational training experience, daily life skills, sophomore year experience, post high school placement and balancing academics.
  • Meet with the Transition Coordinator to review this Adult Planning Guideline document and review status of eligibility for adult services.
  • Complete MAPS as part of the 3 Year Re-evaluation process (where appropriate).

Parent Coordinated Activities

  • Complete Guardianship and/or Power of Attorney for financial and medical decisions (when your child is 18 years of age).
  • Update PUNS (Prioritization for the Urgency of Needed Services).
  • Update waiting list of residential and day programming and any necessary recreational activities.
  • Evaluate post-high school education option and visit schools, if necessary. Consider attending Choices, BEST or Options Fairs.
  • Complete referral process for the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) if appropriate.
  • Prepare student for voter registration (if 18 years of age), if they are intending to vote.
  • Attend parent informational workshops at New Trier and through NSSED on transition topics.
  • Discuss with your child's educational team the timing to complete IQ testing, if necessary relating to application for SSI and adult services.

Click here for more information about each bullet point.

Senior Year
Senior Year at New Trier (or Age 18)

This project is a team effort between New Trier ELS parents and teachers. We've compiled our best advice here. However, please understand this document is just a guide, and some topics may require parents to seek legal or financial advice. Parents are expected to take full accountability for the parent driven activities.

School Coordinated Activities

  • Work with your child's educational team (and vocational coordinator) to further develop your student's vocational plan. Review the student work performance evaluation and identify goals and work opportunities based on this evaluation.
  • Schedule Transition Planning Meeting prior to annual IEP to make relevant updates to your child's transition assessments.
  • Reevaluate IEP goals in conjunction with your child's educational team making updates based on vocational training experience, daily life skills, junior year experience, post high school placement.
  • Meet with the Transition Coordinator to review this Adult Planning Guideline document and ensure all adult services referrals are complete.
  • Complete MAPS (if not done during New Trier experience).
  • Discuss post graduation plans with your child's education team and plan for transition program, if applicable.
  • Prior to end of year, meet with your current case manager and transition case manager to begin transition process.

Parent Coordinated Activities

  • Apply for SSI and Medicaid when your child is 18 years of age.
  • Set up Joint Bank Account to hold and track SSI payments. Begin to track SSI spending.
  • Apply to any post-high school educational programs (if necessary). Complete any school visits as necessary as well.
  • Plan for Graduation-the process is coordinated by advisor with support from your case manager. Discuss with your case manager and advisor plans for graduation practice, ceremony, graduation party and school schedule for seniors.
  • After obtaining SSI consider applying for Medicaid (if appropriate).
  • Re-evaluate how you answer PUNS (Prioritization for the Urgency of Needed Services) questions (reference Bridges document)
  • Share guardianship papers with school, doctors, NSSRA, etc.
  • Register your student to vote (if appropriate).
  • Register male students for the draft regardless of disability.
  • Attend parent informational workshops at New Trier and through NSSED on transition topics.
  • Attend Welcome to the Transition Program presentation-you will have the opportunity to meet the transition staff and tour the transition space.

Click here for more information about each bullet point.

Transition Age
Age 19-22--Transition Services

This project is a team effort between New Trier ELS parents and teachers. We've compiled our best advice here. However, please understand this document is just a guide, and some topics may require parents to seek legal or financial advice. Parents are expected to take full accountability for the parent driven activities.

School Coordinated Activities

  • Work with your child's transitional team to begin to plan for a systematic phasing out of school supports and phase in adult services.
  • Work with your child's educational team (and vocational coordinator) to update your student's vocational plan. Review the student work performance evaluation and identify goals and work opportunities based on this evaluation.
  • Revise IEP goals with focus on transition program. Discuss options to continue academics at a local community college (if appropriate).
  • Schedule Transition Planning Meeting prior to annual IEP to make relevant updates to your child's transition plan.
  • At beginning of last year of transition, begin transition to adult programs. Complete necessary paperwork for transition and develop overall strategy for transition.

Parent Coordinated Activities

  • Continue to monitor waiting list for day programming and residential services.
  • Express urgency of situation to CAU and adjust answers in annual PUNS update.
  • If you have been pulled by PUNS - evaluate housing options.
  • Address transportation needs and explore options such as RTA reduced fare card, PACE Door to Door or other transportation options.
  • Complete annual guardianship report (for recertification).
  • If your child is receiving SSI, track spending and submit annual SSI Report.
  • 3-6 months prior to reaching Age 22, finalize day programming schedule/plan. Begin to develop a transition plan and start transition to post 22 services.
  • Reconsider post-high school educational programs options (if necessary).

Click here for more information about each bullet point.