Transition to Adulthood Resource Guide

Goals and Activities: Preparing for Independent Living


Transition Planning includes thinking about how the person with the disability will live as independently as possible. This goes far beyond one or two Post Secondary Goals on Independent Living.

ITP Independent Living Goals, such as “Learn how to balance and manage a budget” or “Learn how to independently read bus schedules and take buses form point A to point B” are important life skills, and could be included in the ITP.

Independent Living is so much more than those life skills. Families do need to be aware of the planning that goes into supporting people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.

People with disabilities and their families face many decisions. They need to find ways to live as independently possible, given their abilities. Families are encouraged to start exploring options as part of Transition Planning. Additional decisions concerning housing, healthcare, individuals’ rights, conservatorships and alternatives, special needs trusts, and ABLE accounts will be made at some point during the person’s transition.


One of the biggest barriers facing people with disabilities is affordable housing.

For an overview of housing, look at Pacer’s National Parent Center on transition and Employment: (PDF)

For young adults with developmental disabilities, please visit the CA Department of Developmental Services for an overview of living arrangements and housing resources for people with developmental disabilities:

The CA Department of Developmental Services also has information on:

Independent Living Programs:

Supported Living Services:

Family Home Agency:

Community Care Facilities:

Intermediate Care Facility:

Regional Centers may provide their young adult clients with services to teach ILS (Independent Living Skills) and support the young adults living in the community:

North Bay Regional Center serves Sonoma, Napa, and Solano Counties:

Golden Gate Regional Center serves Marin County:

Centers for Independent Living help make community living possible for people with disabilities. (PDF)

National Council on Independent Living:

Please see the Northbay County Specific section for local National Council on Independent Living organizations.

The CA Department of Services offers In-Home Support Services for people with disabilities. An overview of eligibility and services can be found at:

Social Security Administration:

It's usually helpful to go straight to the source:

Check out Disability Rights California, the largest disability rights group in the nation:

Another helpful website is Disability Benefits 101 – Working with a Disability in California:


Many people with disabilities may be or are eligible for MediCal:

Disability Rights California has information on MediCal:

The Office of Developmental Primary Care is located at the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco. The staff reaches far and wide to assist people with disabilities.

Check out their services, which include information, resources, and trainings for patients, families and service providers. They also offer phone and email consultations:

Their website is a wealth of information:

People with disabilities may need support to understand health care options. They may need assistance communicating with their medical staff and managing their daily health needs. Supported Health Care Decision-Making allows adults with disabilities to name trusted individuals to help them access health care, understand medical information, and make medical decisions:

Also, check out the National Disability Rights Network:

Conservatorships and Alternatives:

A conservatorship is a court process in which a judge decides whether a person needs assistance from another person, the conservator. A conservator can help in areas of independent living, including health, food, shelter, finances, education, social life and/or personal needs. Parents of young adults with disabilities, developmental or otherwise, often have to make the decision whether or not to obtain a conservatorship.

Here’s some information on conservatorships from Disability Rights California that might be of help:

Alternatives to Conservatorships do exist. Disability Rights CA explains: (PDF)

Supported-Decision Making is an effective alternative to conservatorships. A person with a disability could choose trusted friends, family, or professionals to help make important life decisions and increase independence.

The Center for Public Representation in Massachusetts and another organization in Washington, Informing Families, are both good resources about the growing popularity of Supported-Decision Making:

Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document where the person with a disability, if they have an understanding of the process, gives a trusted individual the legal right to make decisions for that person. Medical and financial decisions, the most common, can all be made with the help and support of trusted individuals. The power of attorney may be taken back by the person with the disability at any time. Important to note that the durable power of attorney is a special type of power of attorney that continues to exist even after the person with a disability has been determined to be incapacitated (PDF)

Financial Needs: Special Needs Trusts, ABLE Accounts:


It's never too early to work on self-advocacy skills! Self-advocacy gets high marks when preparing for independent living. It’s right up there with self-esteem and self-reliance.

The Center for Parent Information and Resources, one of the Six Essential Resources for Transition to Adulthood, is the “hub” of information, support, and services for the Parent Information and Training Centers around the country serving families of children with disabilities.

Check out some of their resources:

Student with a Disability on the IEP Team:

Students Get Involved!:

Best Practices in Self-Advocacy Skill Building:

Explore these Pacer publications -- scroll down their resource library page for an incredible list of free downloadable transition handouts: (PDF)

Here are a few favorites on self-advocacy:

Be Your Own Best Advocate: (PDF)

How You Can Help Your Child Learn to be a Good Self-Advocate: (PDF)

It’s Your Future: Information for 8th and 9th Grade Students: (PDF)

Sample Self-Advocacy Plan:


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