Plan Now for After High School

Early planning is critical when your child with trisomy 21 begins the transition to adult care

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Trisomy 21 Update


Planning for your child’s adult life is hard to imagine for any parent. When a child has trisomy 21, planning early is critical. It starts with having expectations of your child to do all she can do:

  • Can she put on her coat and hat without assistance? If not, can she start to learn now?
  • Can he clear off the dishes from the dinner table? If not, why not start now?
  • Can she pick out fruits and vegetables at the grocery store? If not, now is a good time to start.

When a young child takes care of her own needs it helps to build self-care and self-confidence. Doing chores around the house and helping in the community — at a neighborhood or religious function, for example — are considered the most important predictors of a person with a developmental challenge getting a job later in life.

What can you do at home today to encourage your child and better prepare her for the future?


How can you get the most out of free, appropriate public education? What can you do to make the most of your child’s school time hours?

We know the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process can be confusing. Parents often agree with what the school has to offer without fully reading their child’s IEP. The IEP is a contract between the school, the parent(s) and the student. It should reflect exactly what the student can do and what the child will work on in the future.

When your child is 14 years old, the IEP must reflect a transition-to-adulthood plan. By reading your child’s IEP carefully — and making sure it accurately reflects your child’s strengths and needs — you can help ensure your child is as prepared as possible for adulthood.

For more information, download Beyond High School Graduation: Transition Tips for Young Adults with Intellectual Challenges. Additional special education resources include:

Transition to adulthood consultation

Have you seen our 21 tips for young adults with trisomy 21? These were written by a parent of a young adult with T21.

Topics include:

Would you like a one-on-one session to discuss your teen’s transition to adult life? This session for you and your child will focus on the IEP process, a Care Binder to store your child’s important medical and school papers and planning for adult life. Symme Trachtenberg, MSW, one of our social workers, is happy to meet with you and your teen at your next program appointment or to set up another time that works for you. Contact her via email.