After High School Graduation
Your State office of Education is responsible for education issues. Your child has the right to remain in school until age 22 (See IDEA ACT 2004 Part B). Your IEP plan can determine whether or not your child should remain in the educational system beyond the age of 18. During these extra years he/she can focus on improving basic academic skills, gaining independence, and further vocational and social skills. Your child may want to graduate with their graduating class and it is appropriate should they so choose. But they should receive a Certificate of Completion, not a diploma. If the student is awarded a diploma, they are NOT allowed to return to the school system.
One important note: Just because your child leaves the school system does not guarantee they will be automatically accepted into adult services.
One important transition occurring in this time period is the transition from school into the "real" world. Leaving the school system at age 22 should be as smooth a transition as possible and will be if the proper steps are taken before hand.
To be the best advocate for you child go out and visit the programs and community options available in your area. Use your best judgment in choosing, or discarding, the program right for your child's unique circumstances. This should be accomplished BEFORE your child's 21st year. This is the time to learn all you can about your area Adult Services for people with disabilities. Be sure that your Critical Needs assessment (A DSPD Function. Ask your Case Manger if it has not been mentioned to you) is updated BEFORE age 22 and your child is on the DSPD Division waiting list for adult services.