Transitioning to post-school education or employment

The completion of secondary school can be an exciting time for your child as they celebrate their achievements and look towards experiencing increased independence and adulthood. Transitioning out of secondary school can be a big milestone in the lives of a student and their family, and some families may at times feel stressed or emotional about these changes. Your child’s school, and in particular your school’s career practitioners, can provide you and your child with support in navigating and planning for a positive transition

Supporting your child

Parents have been identified by research as being the most influential factor in child education and career decisions. Your positive support, planning and encouragement is important for your child’s transition. Transitioning out of secondary school can be stressful for young people. Your emotional support, positive attitude and consistent encouragement may help your child if they are dealing with frustrations, disappointments or anxiety about upcoming changes. As a parent you will play an invaluable role in supporting your child with developing life skills at home, such as budgeting, hygiene, safety and housework. You can also support your child in developing independence, by providing opportunities for your child to make choices, take risks, explore and take charge of a situation.
While your child may benefit from support and guidance when planning a transition, it is important that their wishes are prioritized – that is, that they are actively involved in identifying their post-secondary interests and goals. When your child becomes an adult, they may need to navigate a range of situations where advocacy will be their own responsibility. Involving your child in planning their transition presents an opportunity to support them in building their ability to advocate for their own goals, interests and support.

Making decisions

There are a range of considerations that you may wish to explore with your child when making decisions on post-secondary education, training or employment. Discuss these considerations and explore options early. A range of post-secondary education, training and employment options can be found here.
AllPlay Learn's Strengths and Abilities Communication Checklist covers a range of strengths and preferences that are relevant to making decisions.

Having high expectations of your child’s potential for employment has been linked to better employment outcomes. Recognising your child’s strengths and abilities, and holding high expectations, avoids limiting your child’s post-secondary options unnecessarily when goals are developed. What may be considered a ‘challenge’ in one setting, can in fact be a ‘strength’ in an alternative setting, and your child can excel when they are able to work in an area that draws from their strengths and personal interests.
It may be helpful to visit training or education facilities or prospective employers with your child to seek further information. For example, courses/training/workplaces within smaller settings may be preferred by some young people who find large groups or noisy environments overwhelming. In contrast, other young people may prefer large settings where they have access to a wide range of experiences and people, and a diverse curriculum that provides more opportunities to pursue a personal interest.
Another consideration when planning postsecondary life is accommodation. Consider whether your young child may benefit from staying in the family home where they can continue to receive family support, particularly in early stages when they are navigating many changes, or whether they may benefit from living with others so they can build friendships and develop important social skills.
Young people with a disability who work during school are more likely to be later employed as an adult. Internships, work experience, voluntary work, and casual or part-time work can help your child develop experiences and skills for post-secondary life. A range of workplace learning opportunities and opportunities for community partnerships can be accessed here. It is important that employers are aware of your child’s strengths and abilities, and that arrangements are made early to ensure the safety and success of your child.
Disclosing a disability is a personal decision, however is important in relation to work experience and structured workplace learning. Disclosing a disability can be beneficial if it leads to the implementation of workplace or training/education accommodations. Discuss with your child the pros and cons of disclosure, what to disclose and not disclose, and when to disclose. If your child does not wish to give full disclosure, they may be able to meet with a supervisor to discuss changes that would increase their productivity (e.g. “I find I get through my work more effectively in the morning before others arrive”). Talk with your child about their rights and responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act so that they can recognise discrimination and know what to do if it occurs.