Jakeel's Transition Journey: Part 2
Let’s recap where Jakeel and his parents are at:
SSI- Check (and approved!)
Medicaid Waiver- Check
Jakeel’s parents have been working at a great pace and have had strong follow through. Since Illinois isn’t a state that automatically enrolls you in Medicaid after having been approved for SSI, that is the next thing on the To Do list. Jakeel’s parent say that he is covered under their insurance, but I still encourage her to complete the application online so it can be a back-up and ensure a smooth transition once he ages out of her insurance. I send the link to apply, a list of what they should have with them before they start the application, and an explanation of what the process will look like. I said I would check back in 2 weeks to see about progress.
I check back via email and I wait for an update.
I wait a week before calling.
I leave a voicemail and ask if they have any updates or any questions.
No call back.
This is typical. Families get sidetracked in life, because, well...that’s life.
I give them a few weeks without contact before I reach out again. I send an email and also call. I get a call back the following day and the parent apologizes. Clearly, the parent does not need to apologize to me, I’m only here to help and I reiterate that to them. The parent agrees to make this a focus of their time once again and we review the Medicaid process again. I ask if they think they could tackle that this weekend and they said it will be their Sunday night activity. I said I would reach out early next week to see if they had any questions or any feedback on how I could better prepare other families for the online application.
We connect that Tuesday and the parent shared some valuable feedback and felt good about getting that off to the to-do list. I congratulate them and ask if they have any priorities they would like to learn more about or assistance getting started with. They mention Power of Attorney vs Guardianship. I said I would share some information and a video via email so they could watch it over the weekend and ponder the options. Since the parent is motivated, they reach out to me about 2 weeks later with a decision and we discuss how to execute that plan before the end of the school year.
When we return back to school after summer break I reach out to the parent to see how things are going. The parent reflects their progress, how they are feeling, and about their son’s eventual exit. They thank me for pushing them and getting them to the finish line on a few things. I am humbled and we discuss the goals they want to achieve this school year. We set a plan and I set calendar reminders to help me remember to support the family in their goals.
We pursue transportation passes, learn about housing options and get on waitlists, tour adult day programs, and discuss volunteer opportunities. We’ve built a relationship of trust and accountability and that is what leads to a smooth transition for the student from special education to ‘real life.’ The parents feel prepared, knowledgeable, and ready for the new adventure ahead. Jakeel can feel that confident vibe and he, too, feels ready to transition on!
If you want to learn more on how YOU can support your students and families in accessing government and community benefits, start by downloading this 'What You Need To Know About SSI' one-pager (in English and Spanish)!