Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hello Again: Future Life Planning Part 3

Still with us? We hope you are finding these posts helpful and thought provoking. Next up we have high school:
Ages 15-21:
-This age range is all about getting prepared for adulthood, or ‘age-out’. After a child leaves the high school system (on or before their 22nd birthday) it can be a struggle to adjust in the adult system, as there are new rules to play by.
-Create a binder of important information. This should have a list of all medications (and what they are used for), emergency contact & important numbers & medical history. As soon as possible, help him/her learn the information (if possible) in the binder or know where to access it. By the time they reach age-out, hopefully they can be in charge of any updates in the binder and tell you what their disability & challenges are.
-If your adult child has health concerns, consider having them wear a MedicAlert product or keeping a card with important information regarding their disability in their wallet.
-Make emotional health and wellness a priority. This time in life is tough for everyone. Raging hormones, bullying and confidence issues run rampant amongst teens. Being different is not fun and kids are ruthless at this age.
-Be open to therapy or support groups (at any age).
-Encourage networking and build upon healthy relationships. Socialization and laughter is important.
-Think about next steps after your child ages out of the high school system; independent living options, employment options, day programming, developmental training, college, supported certificate programs (ex: ), developmental training & workshops, etc.
-Train your brain to think beyond what has been rammed down your throat for years and years regarding what your child can and can’t do. Stop assuming what their skill limits are. Set a goal early with your child about what THEY want for their life and work backwards. Focus on skill building.
-Encourage job readiness skills. Identify current skills, talents and interests. Work on fostering new skills that will be helpful on the job. Don’t be afraid to give your child responsibilities and hold them accountable for their actions. Enabling dependency and giving in will not help your child be a productive, self-reliant adult.