The state of Virginia has a Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). We contacted them at one point during S’s sophomore year, a file on him was started, but we did not meet with them at that time. In the winter of S’s junior year, my husband called DARS again. Because S was 17, they wanted to meet with him.
The initial meeting went well. It was a lot of paperwork and questions. S did well, and his counselor was very nice. I don’t think she’s worked with someone who was homeschooled before. The majority of the questions for high school age students relate to their public school. Together, we worked our way through the questions.
At the end of the meeting, S’s counselor had filled out all of her paperwork. She had all of the papers we brought with (medical documentation, test results, school records), S had signed a number of forms for information sharing purposes, and she explained the process to us.
What she discussed with S:
1. His plans for the future: attending Thomas Nelson Community College and transferring to a 4 year college
2. Application for Handi Ride so he has transportation: He is not one bit excited about Handi Ride - a little bit of a struggle in accepting that he won’t drive. We will work through that.
3. Meeting with an Assistive Technology specialist to see what tools are available to help him.
4. SSI: The counselor’s recommendation is to wait to apply until he is 18 since he is so close to his 18th birthday. Children who receive SSI need to reapply when they turn 18. He has no desire to apply for SSI.
5. Medical insurance: S is covered until 26 under my husband which is good.
6. Other services that would be available to him if he becomes a DARS client.
All in all, it was a good meeting. We liked his counselor. S has a little bit of a struggle with this process because he doesn’t like being classified as disabled. We understand that, but we want him to have access to services that can be beneficial in achieving his goals.
Working with DARS is one more tool to help him transition and start his independent life. It will mean more time for me on the couch with chocolate!
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