The Governor's Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens, a small state agency, recently launched the Delaware Disability Hub transition website, www.deldhub.com.
This transition website for people with disabilities in the state and across the nation helps youth, young adults, parents, caregivers, counselors, school administrators, caseworkers, educators and healthcare providers assist students with disabilities going through the transition process for youth and young adults ages 14 to 30.
The teen years can be difficult for the average youth, and when a disability is part of the mix, life scenarios change. Special consideration must be given to education, employment, housing, transportation, healthcare, legal issues, community involvement and much more. The website offers many resources to help disabled youth as they grow into adults.
Delaware Disability Hub incorporates enlarged text, a text-to-voice reader option with a built-in instruction guide, and an internal search engine to make the website easier to navigate. This transition website also includes a section for parents.
"Parents often worry or stress over their child turning into an adult, especially if they are going to live independently. For example, many parents rule out college; however, the Center for Disabilities Studies at the University of Delaware has made it possible for many students with disabilities to have the college experience," said Wendy Strauss, GACEC executive director. “All colleges across the state and the nation are supposed to have an Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator to assist college students to obtain the accommodations they need. We want parents to have the resources they need to help plan their child’s life changes.”
The planning categories covered on the website are education, employment, housing, transportation health, legal issues, It's My Life, and Understanding My Disability. Under those topics are toolkits filled with resources linking users to federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations, vendors that assist people with disabilities, and a lot of helpful information. Each category also has videos on related topics.
Parents, teachers and students will appreciate the transition timeline, which provides information on age-specific targets and suggested goals. Special education teachers and transition coordinators will find lesson plans, videos and a lot of useful information to help parents and students.
Strauss said, "We saw a need in the state for gathering information to make it easier for the disability community to find the resources they needed quickly. This website touches on a variety of topics that will help young adults with disabilities and their families link to resources that will assist them in their journey through life."
The website will serve Delaware's roughly 26,000 school-age children with disabilities. Main categories address the areas of life in which emerging adults will need assistance: education options and potential for higher education; employment guidelines for entering the workforce; taking control of their health; planning future living arrangements; exercising independent living skills and advocacy; knowing their legal rights; transportation options and becoming independently mobile; and learning about various disabilities.
In each subsection of the site, users will find valuable resources such as personal stories, frequently asked questions, toolkits filled with information, and videos.
The GACEC collaborated with hundreds of organizations across the country and Delaware to bring federal, state and nonprofit resources together to assist families. Strauss said, "We had an outpouring of kindness from across the nation as we gathered amazing amounts of information. There was no use in reinventing the wheel. Experts have done the work and now Delaware brings it all into focus. This site will make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people."
For more information, go to www.deldhub.com.