Monday, April 15, 2013

Hello Again! Future Life Planning Part 5

Phew! We made it adulthood! If you are still reading, I’m sure you have realized how important it is to be prepared, thinking one step ahead. We hope you have found some of our tips to be helpful. Thanks for reading!

The adult system is a whole new ball game. The rules and regulations are different than the child/education system. Quality & availability of services differs from state to state, so find out where your state falls and what your child’s options are.

-A lack of funding for adult services in many states makes it a challenge for individuals to move onto something else. Many people wind up staying at home with their families with little to do during the day. Depending on the severity of their disability, parents often have to stay at home to care for their adult child missing out on employment opportunities themselves.

-A lack of life and job readiness skills is also an issue as well as a lack of jobs in the community.

-Partner with local agencies and non-profits with missions to create grassroots movements around addressing some of these issues. is a great example.

-Let your adult child decide their next steps, if possible. Society has a tendency of boxing and labeling individuals with disabilities. We tell them what they can and can't do and what they are or aren’t capable of. It is a culture of compliance where individuals, who are largely dependent on their families or the state, have to rely on others and do as they are told.

-No matter how severe the disability, this process CAN and should be as person-centered and self-directed as humanly possible.

-Consider life skills tutoring to bolster independent living skills.

-NEVER assume something isn’t possible. Though accomplishing certain goals or mastering specific life skills may seem impossible, give it a chance. Even if learning to use the computer, meal plan, budget or grocery shop takes 2 years to learn, it is worth it in the end. Patience is important. Learning never stops for any of us and those with disabilities are no different. Their capacity to learn and grow is the same as you and I. Individuals may take longer to acquire certain skills but this doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

-Be prepared for life transitions. What will happen when you are gone? Though these topics are tough and unpleasant to think about, having a plan is in everybody’s best interest. Decide who will continue on with supporting your adult child after you are gone. You might need to appoint someone as guardian or executor of a trust. Consider utilizing agency support to help with some of this as well as life skills tutoring, home care, respite, etc.

-See Alyssa’s earlier post on creating a support team around your adult child. Having other people to count on will be good for everyone.

The purpose of these posts is to create a shift in thinking about disability. We encourage you all to see your child and their life through a new lens. Disability is not just a lack of something.  Every human on earth has deficits, though most of us aren’t labeled, categorized and stashed away in an institution or shut in at their family home because of it. 

As a society we need to focus on creating person-centered solutions for folks with disabilities in new and creative ways. They deserve the opportunity to have quality special education, employment options, the ability to live in their communities, and support services to learn the skills they need to live the lives they want to live. They deserve a say in the matter.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome back: Future Life Planning Part 4

Hello again,
Before we talk about adulthood, we wanted to brainstorm some important skills for getting and keeping a job. You will also begin to see some of the struggles that adults with disabilities have in today’s society.

Job Readiness Skills: By Alyssa
-Be a good listener
         -Eating a healthy meal before a shift
         -Be on time (getting up on time)
         -Be well rested
-Task oriented
-Good hygiene
-Respect the rules, no stealing
-Appropriate with conversation, don’t reveal too much about your personal life at work

Skills that help you get a job:
-Basic math & reading skills
-Filing, sorting, copying
-Physical labor
-Good customer service

Challenges that our population faces (Alyssa & Tara):
-Getting around safely, public transit in smaller communities
-Independent living
-Quality special education
-Good support services
-Social activities
-Adequate agency support with a person centered approach