“How I Managed The Tough Transition Process of My Son” – Grace Alexander
On the 30th of August 2016, While I was in haste to board an underground train @ Finsbury Park in order to attend an official event, I met one of HIP members who said she wants me to narrate my experiences regarding my son’s transition to adulthood. She also accentuated that HIP were conducting the program in collaboration with Hackney Learning Trust and SENDIAGS. I was so elated about the opportunity hence I obliged her immediately and agreed because I felt that my son’s transition to adulthood was not well-coordinated.
On the day of the event, while speaking to an enthused audience, I shared my experiences and observations regarding my son’s transition process. I stressed that the process was not well coordinated. It was very patchy. The transition process started very late when he was 17 years old, though I later realised that it ought to have started earlier, at least at the age of 14. Prior to the transition process, there was no provision of adequate information. Moreover, I was plagued with lack of financial support due to cuts to services. Every aspect of the ‘disabled young man’s life was not explored especially on how he would be spending his days. Issues such as social activities and employment opportunities were not discussed. There was clearly no effective partnership with the authorities who were supposed to coordinate the process.
Consequently, the effects of these shortcomings had a deleterious impact on the life changes of my son. Nevertheless, I was able to manage the negative impact due to my proactive, resilient and dynamic nature. Lack of proper transition process for a young disabled person will put a limit on his potentials and life opportunities. My candid recommendation for parents of young persons living with disabilities/special needs is to be the best advocates for their children and they should connect with other parents who have experienced the process, should they feel alone.
After my speech, as I was leaving the podium for my seat, the audience gave a resounding round of applause which lifted my spirit. Many people came to me to thank me for sharing my experience regarding my son’s transition process to adulthood, they also mentioned that they were quite inspired and empowered by my advice, encouraging them to be their children’s best advocates and connect with other parents who have gone through the same experience.
On social media there were also positive feed backs regarding my speech which they found to be informative and impactful