“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Don’t just HOPE for better!
The transition to adulthood requires learning new skills. Knowing which skills to develop requires both understanding what skills the teen is currently able to perform AND understanding what the teen with Diverse Abilities wants out of life. The old proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child” is definitely true when it comes to supporting a youth with alternate needs. Bringing together family, friends, as well as professionals to help develop and carry out a transition plan is critical to insuring a positive outcome.
The transition plan is developed using a planning tool called the PATH which is grounded in the philosophy of person centred planning. The outcome of the person-centered planning process is a transition plan that is unique to the youth with special needs. The process of planning for the teen with Diverse Abilities’ future rests in the a) completion of the PATH, b) translating these goals into a written document, and c) putting that plan into action!
PATH is a long-range, person-centred planning process that particularly lends itself to transition planning. The PATH is led by a PATH facilitator and a graphic recorder.
A PATH includes the following steps:
1. North Star – identifies the dreams the youth and his/her team members have for the future (long-range.
2. Sensing the Goal – Possible and Positive Future – this section represents the dream in realistic terms.
3. Grounding in the Now – describes where the youth is now in relation to the dream and goals.
4. Enrol – identifies people to enrol in supporting the goals.
5. Strengthen the goals – what does the team need to do to achieve the goals? (eg. skills, knowledge, relationships, etc.).
6. Action Planning for next 6 months to a year (what, who?).
7. Action Planning for next 3 to 6 months.
8. First Step – moves from thinking to action; identifies first steps and anticipates ways to overcome barriers/obstacles