By Sam B. Cooper III, LMSW-IPR
Don't worry; I know where we are going!
OK, I admit it. Asking for directions? ...Just not a natural tendency in this former Boy Scout. We have so many more tools now to help us be "self-sufficient" – like that lady in my smartphone, or those fancy new Dick Tracy wristwatches from the famous fruit company. The thing is, even decked out with all the technology, the latest map and guidebook, finding one's way in new territory is never easy. In this edition of Pulse, we have gathered great stories about children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) programs and transition.
In one of my earliest social work adventures in the 90s, I was privileged to work with a family who had been dealing with the youngest child's complex health conditions for several years. They had successfully navigated the specialists, the hospitals, the eligibility procedures for Medicaid; and their "Bud" was thriving. The new challenges arose at the time he was moving into high school; this was new territory. None of the family "maps" from the older siblings lined up with this experience. Building new relationships with school staff members and linking up the medical, educational, and social services to get the best fit for this kiddo was complicated.
At that time, "permanency planning," was really the extent of any notion of transition related services, but that narrow definition was not the primary need in this case. Together though, the parents, the youngster, the essential players in all of the systems, and I worked through the details needed to make the passage from middle school to high school successful. We depended on one another when we got lost and kept the young man's potential as our True North. In different ways, we all learned new ways to ask for directions, without fear of judgment and became even better prepared for the next transition.
As you read through the articles included within this edition, take time to think about how you might be able to share this exciting work – the tools, the new CYSHCN National Standards, the perspectives from our featured contributors – with your peers, families and AMCHP partners. So much progress has been made since the days of the Macarena, Furbies and mobile phones that were the size of a small child. Let's all be brave and ask where WE are going next with Transition.