Building a Life

A transition guide for Kansans

Things to Consider

  • Provide opportunities for your young adult to be included in team meetings as early as possible
  • Help them gain an awareness of their disability, strengths and needs
  • Consider goals for learning to advocate for necessary accommodations in university classes
  • Consider skills needed to problem solve daily issues such as making meals, scheduling tasks that need to be done and dealing with changes
  • Prioritize life skills that are the most needed or relevant to address in their transition plan

 To help your young adult pave the way into adulthood, begin by identifying skills important to living as independently as possible. Areas that are considered important life skills are: 

  • Self-care  
  • Communication skills
  • Housing and money management 
  • Daily living skills
  • Relationship development

Including these life skills in transition planning should involve experiences in things such as balancing a checkbook, budgeting, making purchases, hygiene, personal safety, phone skills, computer skills, dealing with emergencies and task completion. Assess the skills your young adult currently has and uses. Work with their Circle of Support or school team to fill in the gaps of those skills not yet learned. Note: These types of skills can be included in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Healthcare Plan (IHP) in high school. 


Michael L. Wehmeyer is the leading author on Self-Determination. According to Wehmeyer in What is Self-Determination and Why Is It Important?, “...being self-determined means making things happen in a person’s own life, instead of having others do things to, or for them. People who are self-determined know what they want and how to get it. They choose and set goals, then work to reach them. They advocate on their own behalf, and are involved in solving problems and making decisions about their lives. They don’t have to do everything for themselves, but instead, they make or cause things to happen in their lives that improve the quality of their lives.” 

Elements of self-determination involve: 

  • Making decisions

  • Setting goals

  • Problem-solving

  • Ability to perform tasks as independently as possible

  • Sharing wants/needs

  • Ability to interact with others

  • Ability to manage own needs

What do these actions look like in their daily routines? Promoting practices in your young adult’s life that support self-determination can be very empowering in helping them succeed in building a life.