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Transitioning to Adulthood with a Disability: Pre-transitioning

shutterstock_106200302Pre-transitioning describes the steps I or my parents took in my teens that helped prepare me for adulthood. There are many things you can do to become more self-sufficient, but I’ve chosen to focus on two areas that were essential to me gaining more independence. Some of these points will be expanded on in later articles.

Medical Signing Authority:

I was sixteen years old, at a doctors’ appointment, and was talking about an upcoming surgery. My father was with me, ready to sign the appropriate documents, when the doctor passed the papers to me. I was old enough that I now had authority to sign my own medical forms. My doctor was gracious enough to explain everything in detail, so nothing was misunderstood. From then on, this was my responsibility.

Having signing authority, it is important to make sure all important information is discussed before anything is put to paper. Keep asking question, even if it’s about something that may seem trivial. Ask the doctor to write things down for you, or have a pen and paper on hand. Parents, guardians, or care-givers should still be informed for the sake of assistance or emergencies.  

College/University Selection and Application:

Looking into college or university can require a lot of extra planning if you’re disabled. Before even looking at course descriptions or tuition fees, you have to consider factors such as campus accessibility, disability support, and your personal limitations. I recommend taking a tour of the schools you’re interested in before applying. They allow you to meet with people and judge the campus’s accessibility for yourself. Meeting with a counsellor at the school’s disabled student’s centre (names will vary) is a must.  These counsellors can assess the needs of prospective students, and provide them with a variety of tools to make learning more accessible.

During the application process, I found it very helpful to keep in touch with my high school guidance counsellor. She was aware of my disability, and took that into account when helping me fill out my application. She even got in touch with the college I chose a few times to ask about my status.

First post about transition. 

DISCLAIMER: The legal details associated with some of the following topics apply to my personal experiences, and may differ from place to place. Consult with local professionals for specifics.

Scott is twenty-seven years old from Ottawa Canada. He is physically disabled, with Joubert Syndrome, a genetic condition similar to Cerebral Palsy. He has done a lot of public speaking about his disability, but this is Scott’s first time as a contributing writer regarding being adult with a disability.

He has a certificate in Scriptwriting, and hopes to ultimately end up working on a major science fiction television show. Right now, he is creating his own comic book with the hope that it will get published.

He lives with his parents and sister who are a great support, but are respectful enough to let him be independent whenever he’s able.


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