Begin discussing strengths, wishes, and dreams with your child. Remember those far-fetched dreams and goals they talked to you about when they were little? Now is the time to pull those out and look at them. What is realistic? Can your child's dreams be accommodated into the more prosaic goals of learning living skills? Time to get creative.
This is the appropriate age when most children begin developing post school living skills. IEP objectives should reflect the child's individual needs concerning these daily skills. Cooking, cleaning, socialization, shopping, handling money and learning to use mass-transportation are some of the myriad skills children in this age group need to begin to master.
Discuss your child's aspirations with the IEP team and begin brainstorming ways to assist your child in reaching his/her goals to the best of their ability. Be realistic but do NOT count the child out! These are their dreams. It is vital for a child to develop self-determination skills. It is the job of the IEP Team and the child's parents to assist the child in reaching these goals as far as they are able.
Look for programs that will allow your child to try new things and stretch his/her wings. Many children begin job sampling at approximately age 15-16. This gives them a realistic idea of skills and talents they have, places they might like to work and jobs they might do. As a parent/guardian this is also the time to begin looking into school employment training programs, vocational programs, and community programs available in your community. There are no guaranteed programs that will pick up where school leaves off. It is up to the parent to seek out the programs and services most appropriate for their child.
Apply for Division Day Supports. Many states have waiting lists and you'll need to get on those early in order to have services available when your child is ready. Check for Vocational Rehabilitation Programs in your area as well.