The journey from high school to the next phase of life can be challenging for anyone. Not only are you leaving the safe known world of the school environment, but you now have to start making choices that will affect your adult life. If you have a disability, you may find this even more challenging.
Luckily, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is playing a pivotal role in helping people with a disability make a smoother transition.
We take a look at the challenges and opportunities of the next phase of life and how you can use the available supports to help you make the transition more easily.
In this blog, we’ll cover:
- The importance of transition planning
- Challenges faced by students with disabilities during the transition
- Solutions and support mechanisms
Let’s dive in.
The importance of transition planning
A good transition plan can make the difference between stress and success. Transition planning for students with disabilities is an essential process that ensures you can move smoothly from the protected environment of school to the vast world outside. It sets the foundation for a seamless shift into adulthood. When you leave secondary school, you have a choice of pathways depending on your aspirations, abilities, and individual circumstances. These pathways can include:
- Further education or training
- Employment in an apprenticeship or traineeship
- Independent job-seeking
- Community participation
Educators, families, and service providers can play important roles in helping you on this journey.
- Educators equip you with the skills and knowledge you need and often act as the bridge connecting you to external support services.
- Families provide emotional support, understanding, and advocacy. They can help you make the big decisions and help you execute your plan.
- Service providers who are accredited with the NDIS can collaborate with you to provide resources and support tailored to your needs.
By leaning on the people in your life who are there to support you and by using your NDIS plan, you can turn to the next chapter of your life with excitement and confidence. Preparation is key, so make sure you sit down with your family, your teachers and your NDIS plan coordinator to get things sorted well before you finish your final year of school.
Challenges faced by students with disabilities during the transition
Like all things worth doing, the transition to adulthood and life after school comes with some challenges. Let’s break them down so they don’t seem so daunting.
Post-school life for students with disabilities can be expensive. Assistive devices, therapies, and specialised training often come at a high cost. Then there are extra costs not covered by the NDIS. That’s why it’s important to maximise your use of the funds the NDIS provides you.
You might still be working on the life skills that you need in daily life, like cooking, budgeting, or using public transport. This can hinder your self-sufficiency in post-school life. It can also be tough to find suitable post-school programs, secure transport to and from these programs, and post-school opportunities that match your skills and interests.
Emotional and psychological challenges
The shift from a familiar environment to a new one can bring up a lot of emotions. Fear of the unknown, the stress of adapting, and the pressure to be independent can be tough to handle and may, in some cases, lead to anxiety or depression.
It can be scary to go into a new place where you don’t know anyone and it takes time to find your group – where you feel comfortable and accepted. Unfortunately, there is also the possibility of facing discrimination because of your disability. Attitudes are changing, however, as companies and institutions focus more on inclusivity and educating others on disabilities.
Solutions and support mechanisms
The NDIS is your secret weapon to help you navigate these challenges. The NDIS’s revolutionary scheme is vital to help you afford the supports you need. NDIS funding provides students with disabilities transition support tailored to their needs. It covers various services, from capacity training and carers to assistive technologies and transport services.
If you don’t already have NDIS funding, check out our blog on Navigating the NDIS, so you can get the support you need to thrive in adult life.
You may be eligible for NDIS funding if you:
- are aged between 9 and 65,
- are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or Protected Special Category Visa holder,
- live in Australia,
- have a disability caused by a permanent impairment, and
- need disability-specific supports to complete daily life activities.
Personalised transition plans
Every student’s needs are unique. Personalised transition plans consider your individual goals, strengths, interests, and challenges. They involve discussions between you and your family, teachers and support coordinators.
You likely already have an NDIS plan in place, so revising that plan for post-school life is essential to ensure you have the right supports to carry you into the future.
Speak to your NDIS planning coordinator to revise your plan and help you secure financial support, so you have the resources to achieve your goals.
Utilising the NDIS funding effectively
Once you have secured funding and set up a plan, seek out the best providers to help you succeed in your goals. If you need help, the NDIS can provide support to manage your plan effectively.
If you’re keen to get into the working world, the NDIS for young adults offers funded supports to prepare you for work, help you find a job and provide ongoing support when at work. They can help you understand your work potential and explore your options, help build your capacity and skills so you’re work-ready, and give you the confidence you need to join the workforce.
Advance Disability Day Programs
Perhaps you have not fully mastered life skills like cooking, budgeting, or using public transport yet. This is where we can help. Our Day Programs for NDIS participants offer a structured and supportive environment where you can learn, socialise, and develop essential skills. They give you the opportunity to interact with others and get out into the community. They are tailored to your needs and goals to help you bridge the gaps in your capabilities and keep growing.
From activities at our purpose-built centre in Kingswood to getting out and about around Sydney with plenty of activities to choose from, our Day Programs have something for everyone. Each day, we set a goal for ourselves and then work towards achieving it through safe and fun activities.
Continued counselling and support
It’s completely normal to feel a bit out of your depth when you leave school. Every young person will go through emotional challenges in transition, but if you take it step by step and conquer one challenge at a time, you will get through. If these feelings lead you to experience anxiety or depression, however, it might be worth speaking to a loved one or professional to help you navigate the ups and downs of change.
The transition from high school to the next phase of life can be daunting but it can also be a journey of discovery, growth, and empowerment. If you use your NDIS plan, the support mechanisms at your disposal and lean on the people who love you and have your best interests at heart, it will make the transition much smoother. Just remember that it takes time to adapt to new circumstances. Go easy on yourself and be patient with others. Our Day Programs are here to help you with this transition and continue your learning in a fun and supportive environment.
Give us a call and we can chat about your needs and goals for your future and tailor a program to you.