Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society


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Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society

667 US-51 Suite C
Ridgeland, MS 39157
601-385-DOWN (3696)

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Transitioning to Adulthood Guide

Download our Transitioning to Adulthood Guide

Welcome to the Central MS Down Syndrome Society’s Transitioning to Adulthood Guide. If you are reading this Guide, you may have a young child with Down syndrome for whom you are making future plans. You may also have a child preparing to phase out of the school system and enter the world of adulthood! Whatever age your child is, as they grow and reach towards adulthood, parents and guardians must consider what will happen once their loved one with Down syndrome phases out of the school system.

Planning for life after high school can be challenging. Often times, during these younger years, the educational system is responsible for the majority of the services your child receives. As your young adult transitions out of the school system, you may be working with a variety of agencies and services. You will be moving from services your child has been entitled to, to services that require criteria and eligibility. Planning and forethought are crucial during this time.

Transition planning is a different kind of planning with an ultimate goal of moving uninterrupted into adulthood. This may include post-secondary education, employment or community engagement. It is vital that your child participates in the transition planning process. Each transition process is a personal journey and should be based on the individual’s strengths and desires.

As teenagers with Down syndrome finish their high school years and enter into adulthood, they face the same questions as other young people. They need to figure out where to live, what to do for work, and how to create new social circles outside of school. It’s exciting but stressful for any young adult and can be even harder for someone with Down syndrome. This makes it important to start planning as early as possible.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) that children with Down syndrome have in public schools includes transition planning. The goal is to picture the future and think about the skills and services teens will need as they become adults. When you work closely with teachers, doctors, and therapists to make a solid plan, it can ease the stress of going out into the world.

How to plan your child’s future:

For most of your child’s life, you have made decisions on their behalf. You have been their advocate and voice through school, appointments, and therapies. Now that your child has reached middle school or beyond, they may be capable of advocating for themselves. It is important to teach your child to advocate so that as they mature and transition, they can voice their concerns and demonstrate their true abilities.

It is important to keep your child involved in the transition process and included in the decision- making. A starting point would be to have a conversation about what they want their future to look like. Ask them questions like “where do they see themselves in five or ten years?” Teach them to continue to voice those desires.

Outline of Topics that are covered in this Guide:

  • Legal
  • Job assistance
  • Housing / assisted living
  • Day programs
  • Finances and Planning
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Post-secondary education
  • Community engagement: Service/Volunteerism/Leadership/Advocacy
  • Healthcare
  • Recreation

If you read no further in this Guide, please take a moment to review this checklist.

Each item below is covered more in-depth in this Guide.

Checklist of Suggested Steps:

  • Contact Hudspeth and ask for an evaluation for the ID/DD Waiver and the 1915i community support program
  • Apply for SSI at age 18 (*if your child was previously ineligible due to financial assets)
  • Contact Medicaid *If you are determined eligible for SSI, you will automatically be eligible for Medicaid
  • Males – Register for Selective Service at age 18


Jennifer Babl
Executive Director
Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society
(601) 385-3696

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