Now is the time to plan for your child’s transition from adolescence to adult life. The focus now shifts from supporting your child in school to helping him or her to achieve the greatest possible level of independence. At this point it is important to maximize the entitlements of education to provide opportunities for vocational exploration, daily living skills, and independence.
My daughter Janet is 15 years old. She has received home health services since she was 10 years old. Janet has a wheelchair, which allows her to get around, and although she can understand me, she has trouble expressing herself verbally. My husband and I are finding it difficult to physically transfer her on a day-to-day basis because we need a second person to assist. The home health agency cannot meet the schedule that was agreed upon. Furthermore, the aides do not have the necessary training to teach Janet how to be as independent as possible.
When I talked to a staff person at our local chapter of The Arc, she told me about the Medicaid personal care attendant (PCA) program. I learned that the family (or the individual) hires the staff person and that they can directly negotiate hours. In this case, since Janet is not able to supervise the attendant, I as her parent would serve as a surrogate supervisor of the PCA. Another benefit is that the PCA , although hired to assist Janet, may also be able to help her to become more independent. The only stipulation is that if Janet does get the PCA services, she will have to give up the home health program.
I went through the paperwork to get Janet her PCA services Only to receive a rejection based upon the fact that she is under 18 years of age. When I shared this news with a staff person at The Arc, she gave me the name of a parent using the PCA program, as well as the phone number of a law center that is working on improving access to services. Not wanting to rock the boat, however, I decided to wait for the service and make due with the home health program.
After 4 more weeks of unfilled aide hours and missed classes for Janet because I cannot get her out of bed when my husband is away on business, I finally called the disability law center and the other family who has a minor receiving PCA services. When I found out that Janet could be served though the PCA program, I got up the courage to appeal the rejection of our application. It took me 4 months, but Janet is now receiving PCA services. My life is so much easier…. –Janet’s Mother
1 There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
2 Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.