Transitional Youth (Young Adult) Resources

The Child Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF)is a stellar resource for parents of children with bipolar disorder. During our early years following Amanda’s diagnosis, I relied heavily on the list serve parents in this organization across the country: they were the ones that told me about NAMI and Family-to-Family, about various docs, about things to watch out for that I hadn’t thought of and gave tons of support.

I continue to look to them as a resource both for my writing and for random questions that inevitably pop up. Our family is proud to be a lifetime member. On a regular basis, they hold chats. Today’s chat focused on transitional youth (18-25) and the special challenges faced by both young adult and parents. The professional at the helm: Cinda Johnson, Ed.D.

As you probably know, I am passionate about this topic and it is the subject of my soon-to-be completed (as in revised 80 billion times over and completed at One Writer’s Place) young adult novel and Amanda’s accompanying screenplay. Listening to this chat today inspired me to pass on resources that Cinda most excellently offered.

Two points really stuck out as “take aways.”

First, the evidence-based characteristic that helps young people cope with mental illness that could happen later in life is self-determination. Cinda gave this definition of self-determination: “Define and reach goals based on foundation of knowing and valuing oneself” (Field & Hoffman, 1998, 2006).

Cinda points out that starting this skill-building early is essential. It seems to me this is a tool necessary for many purposes, mental illness or no. But how to teach this?

“Model it. Help the child know their strengths and barriers.”

One example Cinda gave was gaining the confidence to interview therapists (or any authority figure), a process that takes time and skill-building. The earlier you start teaching these skills, the less you have to jam in that senior year of high school!

The second point. Why not proactively get an Advanced Directive? When children turn 18, parents are not able to help them because of various state and federal laws which strive to effect privacy, but often just result in disaster for the compromised individual. If a child turns 18, gets into a car accident and sustains a brain injury, his parents would be limited in the help they could give that child. But if an Advanced Directive were in place, that could be avoided. (The Advanced Directive is a legal document in which an individual designates another person to make health care decisions if he or she is rendered incapable of making their wishes known.
Just do this proactively for your child and make sure to initiate when they are thinking clearly so they understand the importance of this collaborative process.

Mostly what I liked about the chat was uncovering the mother/daughter team of Cinda and Linea Johnson behind the scenes. It’s like we have new stigmabusting friends! Healing happens when we are able to share and through sharing, help someone else along their journey.

Resources for transitional youth (18-25 years)from Dr. Cinda Johnson:


Summary of transition services for students with IEPs


PACER is the Minnesota Parent Training and Information Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs.


This Web site was built to help you plan for the future.

Adolescent Health Project:

University of Washington project, transition and students with health care needs

Full Life Foundation:

Connecting students with life after high school

Wrights Law: (latest publication on preparing kids with disabilities for life after high school)

P.A.V.E :


Ahh, Sedona. Where New Age meets Naturalist. Where geologist meets Reiki Master. Where Native American tradition weaves with modern culture. Where metaphysical conversation is the norm. What is it about the place?

Maybe it was my high school fascination with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged that draws me here. Maybe it’s the azure sky against the red rock moutains and the way the light plays on both. Or maybe it’s that I just feel a unique blend of creativity, peace and balance in Sedona. It just feels really good.

In fact when you chat with people in Sedona that’s what you find. They came there on vacation and they felt so good they never left. That’s a fairly common response.

That’s the case with our mountain guide, Kurt.

Kurt visited Sedona from Wisconsin 13 years ago and stayed. He knows the land and he knows people. We learned about the indigenous tribes from Kurt as he hiked us to the top of a mesa behind Big Thunder Mountain (yeah, just like Disneyland but better) and lead us in a meditation, followed by a Hopi ceremony. Here we are basking in the glow of our mesa-top sage bath. He explained this is where you take in the “big picture” of life, like the eagle flying high above who sees below. Kurt is a great storyteller and told us about the various tribes that believe this canyon is the beginning of all creation.

We spent my birthday with Kurt and his partner, Mariposa, a Reiki Master and all-around energy guru. Kurt took us to several gorgeous spots and taught us about the medicine wheel while Mariposa made sure all chakras were in good working order.

Each time we visit Sedona it is different. We usually stay at Enchantment in Boynton Canyon and never want to leave. This time we stayed on the creek at the Creekside Inn B&B and were mad explorers. We hit the wineries (Javelina, Oak Creek and Page Springs.) Wineries in Arizona? A little weird and no competition for California, but we did enjoy Page Springs, the subject of a new limited release film called “From Blood to Wine.” Sadly, it didn’t make the top 10 at the Sedona Film Festival so not sure how far that will go.

We visited the art galleries in Tlaquepaque, drove along Oak Creek where snow was still on the ground, visited the Holy Cross Church built into the cliffs, found some new shops we liked and hiked the cliff dwellings of Montezuma Well. There an underground lake was once covered with rock. The Synagua people built their homes in the cliffs and laddered down to get in? Here is one of their homes.

Our favorite restaurants? We were right across the street from Shugrues in the Hillside Galleries and highly recommend the clam chowder, but Yavapai at Enchantment is our favorite! Their food is art.

One of my favorite things was just sitting down by the creek with our new locally made Navajo blanket wrapped around us and watching the creek flow. I could do that for hours. It seems to me that’s how we should live–in the flow. When we start to feel like we are salmon swimming upstream, we need to re-evaluate our choices. In contrast, when we are moving in conjunction with our life purpose, the journey is clear, directed, sometimes shallow and sometimes deep, but directed and synchronistic.

Here’s to happy flowing! Namaste.