When our son Andrew was approaching the age of 18, we attended a Pre-Employment Transition Services training offered by The Arc Tennessee at the Vocational Rehabilitation Center in Smyrna (TRC). While parents attended sessions together, Andrew was asked to join a class for teens regarding decision-making. He loved it! He came home discussing strategies of how to make his own decisions and started implementing them! Later that year, we attended a class regarding conservatorship options.

Andrew feels strongly about learning how to make his own decisions with supports. He says he likes the freedom to consult with others before making decisions. As his parents, we are helping him identify a strong circle of support to assist him as he navigates young adulthood.

We are currently working with Andrew on supported decision-making skills and plan to help Andrew open an Able account soon. We have not decided on any other decision-making support at this time, but we are keeping our options open.

When preparing for the transition to adulthood, we recommend that everyone keep an open mind, build a network, use good sources of information, consult with other self-advocates, asks lots of questions, celebrate successes (big and small) and give each other space to make mistakes.