Coaching individuals with developmental disorders to live full lives
While there is a great deal of community support for children with developmental disorders, it is more difficult to find when the child grows into young adulthood. People with developmental disorders often find that they are lacking in the skills that will help them become more independent in their daily lives. Well-meaning parents tend to push obstacles out of their adult children’s way, meaning that young people do not develop the necessary skills to make it on their own.
People with developmental disorders like autism are capable of living full lives. Brightstone Transitions describes the kind of help that young adults need to become independent.
Career training is necessary for students with developmental disorders. Help with careers like culinary, retail, and animal care can be found in vocational high schools. Young people with developmental disorders sometimes have problems communicating with others, and they may need help to navigate their relationships with supervisors and coworkers.
Even if they are living in a group home or other assisted situation, young people with developmental disorders need to be prepared to handle some responsibilities. They need to be able to advocate for themselves when their parents are not nearby. This can be challenging, and young people’s efforts should be regarded as works in progress. People who work with this population need to be patient and understanding.
People with developmental disorders often need special help and coaching to become part of the workforce. After several unsuccessful attempts, people may become discouraged and unwilling to try again. Brightstone Transitions offers vocational coaching, beginning with volunteerism and community service. While these young people are giving back to the community, they will be able to identify areas of interest and aptitude.
Young adults need to know how to accomplish basic tasks around the house, like laundry, dishes, and cooking. Occupational help is available for people with developmental disorders who need to learn some of these skills for themselves.
Allowing these young people to learn basic skills can open a new world to them, enabling them to live separately from their parents in new living situations. They need to be taught the skills that they can safely manage, given the extent of their developmental disorder.
Young adults need to have some agency in making decisions. It is not enough to keep them in a position where they are treated like children. Proper support from an agency like Brightstone Transitions can help these young adults recognize their own potential.
Some individuals with autism choose to attend community college or four-year universities. These students often need extra help and support with study skills and social interactions. If a student chooses to go to college, they will need the right kind of support to get them through. Likewise, many students are still in high school or have not yet graduated. At Brightstone Transition, we support our students with whichever decisions they make and help them as they emerge into adulthood.
Teaching the Right Skills
Parents always worry that their young adult children are not equipped to handle life on their own, and this is doubly true when the adult child has a developmental disorder. Programs like Brightstone Transitions are able to help young adults apply their knowledge to the real world.
Programs for adults with developmental disorders need to make sure that they are treating their clients like adults. Assuming that people with autism and other developmental disorders are operating at a childlike level disrespects them. They must be afforded respect and personal dignity at all times. Pushing them into situations where they are expected to act like children can be insulting and deeply hurtful.
Respect for Their Intelligence
The public can often have a distorted view of the intellectual capability of people with developmental disorders. Some people believe that individuals with autism are academically gifted, while others believe that these people are not intelligent. The population is done a disservice by people who discriminate against adults with developmental disorders like autism.
Creating Programs that Work
Agencies like Brightstone Transitions have worked hard to create an environment where young adults with developmental disorders like autism can bloom into successful members of society. Providing kind and respectful support can help people with developmental disorders feel capable of meeting life’s challenges.
Parents may have difficulty stepping back and allowing program staff to take over some of the duties of teaching life skills, but they need to realize that these people need to be treated like adults. A respectful and open-minded attitude can help these young adults become as independent as possible.
Brightstone Transitions, along with its partner agencies, is ready to help young adults with autism and other developmental disorders understand how they can fit into the world on an adult basis. Believing in an individual’s potential is powerful and having a growth mindset can be a huge help.
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