Preparing for Transition in Delaware

Getting ready for the day when the school bus no longer comes can be a very scary time for families. Consider these steps at each age — from 13 to adulthood — to help your family prepare for the transition from childhood to adulthood more seamlessly.

By age 13:

  • Begin to prepare for the Transition Plan, a component of the IEP. Set specific goals.
  • The federal law (IDEA) mandates that transition planning must be included in the IEP. Attend workshops on transition. Contact your school district, PIC (, or talk to your resource teacher or school counselor.

By age 14-16:

  • Please be proactive in planning; do not just hope for the best.
  • Consider community-based vocational instruction in the Transition Plan of the IEP. Ask for a variety of community experiences.
  • Apply for a Delaware ID card or driver’s license at a Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles at age 16.
  • Investigate options for summer volunteer or work and adult employment and independent or supported living opportunities
  • Research college programs that have supports for individuals with special learning needs if your child is eligible for these programs.
  • Start looking for adult health care providers
  • To the greatest extent possible, begin teaching or encouraging your child’s self-advocacy skills
  • Start looking into Division of Developmental Disabilities Services; DDDS provides case management for all, day services for some and residential for only the most critical of circumstances.

DDDS Numbers:
24 Hour Toll Free (866) 552-5758
Office of Applicant Services (302) 744-9700
Community Services Administrative Offices (302) 933-3140
Community Services for New Castle County (302) 836-2100
Community Services for Kent County (302) 744-1110
Community Services for Sussex County (302) 933-3100
Early Intervention Services (302) 995-8576

The Delaware Resource Center for Autism and Asperger’s
DDDS is developing a new office with the goal of being a clearinghouse of information for individuals across the spectrum of all ages.

By age 18:

  • Apply for DVR (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) services before your child’s final year in school.  DVR will work with your child during their senior year if they are on an academic track or during their last year in the 18-21 programs. Delaware offers an Early Start to Supported Employment program for students in their final year. The intent is to introduce them to the adult provider, obtain employment, and have paid employment in place by the end of the school year.
  • Apply for SSI and Medicaid if needed.  Eligibility is now based on client’s income.
  • Register to vote. Explore continuing education programs to support students with disabilities.
  • Revisit adult service providers to investigate new options for employment and supported living. Discuss future plans and gather specific information about transition to adult life.
  • Update future plans with school and include work experience as a major IEP component.
  • Check on health insurance coverage for your child.  Some insurance companies require an application for a dependent child with a disability before the age of 19. This is changing with Health Care Reform but be aware and plan to ensure your child maintains health benefits.

By age 20 (or year of leaving school):

  • Discuss with your DDDS Family Support Coordinator or DDDS Case Manager about choosing an adult service agencies. Plan to attend provider fairs, and visit agencies before making the choice.
  • Continue to plan for future living arrangement, either supported or independent.
  • Increase independence through socialization opportunities.