Transitioning to Adulthood for People with Disabilities

As children with developmental disabilities get older, they will face many changes in each phase of their life, with the most significant arguably being the transition to adulthood. Transitions may look like moving towns, leaving the family home, graduating from school, finding a job, and changing programs or health care. You can help set up your child or teen for success in the transition to adulthood by preparing and mapping out services for them as early as 14 years old. Below are some suggestions and resources to help you navigate the transition to adulthood for your child or teen with a developmental disability in the South Bay. 

Self Advocacy

  • Practice having a conversation with your child in which they explain their disability. This may help with future discussions regarding their disability with prospective employers, service providers, and friends. 
  • Encourage your child to actively take part in their health care. Walk through making appointments with them and any typical front desk protocols.
    • Support your child in using their voice and express any concerns they have to their doctor.
  • Keep a journal or use the notes app to encourage documentation of notable financial or health events for easy reference.
  • Encourage your child to gain important life skills through programs. LSA offers two different day programs that support the opportunity to gain life-enhancing skills, interact with the community, and gain more independence. Learn more by visiting 
  • Help your child incorporate the act of responsibility into their daily lives by holding them accountable for chores 

Links to Local Resources:

PHP Self Advocacy

San Andreas Self Determination Program

Goals and Services

  • Explore adult day services in your area. Adult services are different in that they emphasize independence, access to community resources, and living or life skills training. 
  • Eligible California residents may connect with the San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) to create an Individualized Program Plan (IPP). This is a contract between SARC and the individual that sets up an action plan to promote community integration and independence. 
  • Create attainable goals by identifying strengths and interests. 

Life Skills

  • Explore transportation options that would fit your child’s needs the best. 
  • Have your child shadow you as you perform daily life skills that display teamwork, communication, time management, and conflict resolution. 
  • Go over typical workplace scenarios like asking for help or calling out sick.
  • Grow digital literacy skills
    • Check out the computer and media arts program from Ability Path by clicking here

Employment, Finances, Health

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  • Grow your child’s skills in saving and budgeting. There are many workbooks and apps to easily help track expenses.
    • Check out these apps
      • IAllowance
      • Hands On Banking 
  • Take bank trips and do a walkthrough on how to deposit checks or any holiday gift money. 
  • For those in pursuit of independent living, show your child how to make monthly payments or help set them up with automatic payments to ensure a bill never goes unpaid. 
  • Think about applying for Social Security Income (SSI). Adults with a learning or developmental disability may be eligible for this.
  • Discuss postsecondary education
    • Santa Clara County education provides Independence Network which offers adaptive classes for SARC clients. Learn more here
  • Consider enrolling in a program that helps develop vocational skills
    • LSA’s CITP program helps participants become more independent and, for some, even gain paid employment. The program operates year-round, provides a structured five-hour day, is available on weekdays, and can be tailored to fit the needs of the participant. Check out

Living Options

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LSA Tamarack Home
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Tamarack Backyard
  • Encourage your child’s autonomy by asking them where they see themselves living and what support they would need to help them thrive.
  • There are many different living options available for our loved ones with a developmental disability.
    • These include residential care homes, adult residential facilities, supported living, and semi-independent living. LSA manages and operates 15 licensed residential care homes in neighborhood settings in Santa Clara County.
    • Visit this link for LSA eligibility questions
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Tamarack Bedroom

Every individual experiences the transition to adulthood differently, and knowing the right resources can help make it a seamless process. The South Bay offers a variety of services for individuals with I/DD where you can access resources like postsecondary education or explore different living options. Building a support network for your child or teen will nurture their ability to self-advocate and connect with their community. LSA believes all people with developmental disabilities have the right to live life to its fullest in our community. Through personalized programs focused on skill-building, we make a difference in the quality of our residents’ lives, enabling them to reach their true potential. 

Join us on May 20, 2023, to hear stories about the impact we make on our residents and their families’ lives. Visit

Or you can support LSA services by clicking this link

Watch our webinar recording with Maria Daane, Executive Director of Parents Helping Parents, and LSA’s Executive Director, Dana Hooper, about Navigating Transitions in Your I/DD Child’s Life. Explore our youtube channel for more information on LSA and other resources.


Ability Path Computer and Media Arts Program

San Andreas Regional Center Services

Students With Special Needs: Transitioning to Adulthood

14 Awesome Budgeting Apps For Diverse Learners

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