In this article, we’re sharing tips on how you can prepare for your SEN child’s transition to adulthood.
As the parent of a child with special educational needs, you’ve spent many years nurturing your child and taking care of their needs, so letting go can be tough. It is, however, the job of every parent to prepare children for adulthood and a form of independence.
With SEN children, there may be additional challenges to this, including certain practical and financial obligations.
In this article, we’ll explain how to apply to become court of protection deputy for your child as you prepare them for the transition to adulthood. We’ll also take a look at some other areas you can provide support, including independent living, employment and more…
What is a court of protection deputy?
This is a court appointed title which allows you to retain control of certain things regarding your adult SEN child’s life. A court of protection deputy may make decisions regarding:
- The person’s welfare
- The person’s financial affairs
- The person’s property and accommodation
In order to apply to be a court of protection deputy for your child, you must tell your child that you intend to apply – and explain to them what this means. You must also inform three other people who know your child. These people, along with yourself and your child, will be required to fill in application forms to support your application.
Completing the application will cost £371 and you may also be required to pay a security bond should the court decide that this is necessary.
How to prepare your SEN child for the transition to adulthood
The move to adulthood will often mean some big changes for yourself and your child. It’s important to prepare them for these changes while reassuring them that you will always be there to support them. In this section, we’ll explore this in more detail:
If your child is going to be working, it’s important to explain to them what this means and what will be required of them. It can sometimes help to engage in role playing games with them where you both take turns in being the employee and the customer as this will help them to solidify the idea in their mind.
Depending on your child’s ability, talk to them about what kind of work they think they might enjoy and show them how to research and apply for jobs.
The idea of living apart from their parents can be really scary for some SEN people. It’s never too early to start preparing your child for independence and you can do this by getting them involved in household activities from a young age, including:
While teaching your child these activities it is, of course, important to include safety training; using pictures and images can help here.
Although you may hold court protection deputy status, you can still teach your child a little about personal finance and managing household bills. This can include energy and cost saving activities, such as switching off lights and not leaving the television on all the time.
In many cases, parents of children with special educational needs will monitor and supervise their child’s washing and hygiene routines. Part of the transition to adulthood means teaching your child to do this for themselves. Explain to them the importance of keeping themselves and their clothes clean and use visual aids to encourage them to take responsibility for this for themselves.
One of the biggest challenges for those with special educational needs is that of timekeeping. SEN individuals can be easily distracted and, in some cases, only have a rudimentary concept of time.
Audio and visual aids can help to keep your child on track. As well as alarms for waking up, you can help your child to set daily alarms for other activities such as working, socialising and cooking. This can greatly assist them in learning how to manage their time effectively and cut down on stress.
Flying the nest means that your child will have to learn to organise their own activities and social events. This can be daunting for a SEN individual who has always relied on a parent to do this for them.
You can help by nudging them in the right direction and accompanying them to begin with, while encouraging them to make friends and engage with others. You may find it unnerving at first if you’re used to knowing where your child is and who they are with, but this is an important part of gaining independence.
Helping SEN children to make their way in the world
For a child with special educational needs and their parents, the transition to adulthood may not be as smooth as with other individuals. But, it’s never too early to begin the process.
By involving your child in household chores and activities on a daily basis, you can make the transition to independence a little easier. In this article, we’ve shared some of the things that you can do to prepare your SEN child for adulthood and these should always be reinforced by reassuring your child that you will always be on hand to help when they need you.