My Child is Growing Up! What Can I Do to Prepare for the Future?
|Yes, children with disabilities do grow up. IEP teams are required to begin the transition planning process in early adolescence. While we might focus on academic skills, it’s important to look at behavior, routines, and social skills. Sometimes we enjoy (or grow accustomed to) the interests, behaviors, and quirks that our child has. Sometimes we forget that they, too, will grow bigger and older, and some behaviors can stand in his or her way of being accepted by peers, getting a job, or having independence.Schools focus on academic skills due to pressures of standardized testing. At the same time, self advocacy and social skills are equally important in employment, social settings, and family life. Eventually, he or she will need to interact with a roommate, co-workers, and friends. Let’s get more specific with a few concrete examples.
Sample questions to consider when planning for independent living:
You may be thinking now, “Okay, as a parent, I get it. I realize that my child is getting older and I need to raise the bar so that he (or she) can get a job and have as much independence as possible. But how? It’s a struggle to get through the day most days.” Glad you asked.
Routines are hard to break, and it’s sometimes difficult to know when your child might be ready to be more flexible. Some habits will always be a part of your child’s repertoire as a calming technique or as a way to cope with sensitivities. Only you and your child know the difference between what is necessary and what new challenges might be considered. Seek out other parents or experts for guidance on this if you are not sure.
Steps in making relatively low-stress changes:
With a relaxed and positive approach, yes, your child can learn more mature behavior with less stress than it first seemed possible. Let us know how you’re doing.
Smart Steps LLC (c) 2013
- How To Help Young Children Develop Strong Social Skills (familyfocusblog.com)
- Social Stories and Social Narratives (theautismprogramuiuc.org)
- Special Learning, Inc. Announces New Social Story App for iPad (virtual-strategy.com)
- Good Free App of the Day: Model Me Going Places 2 (social stories for autism!) (smartappsforkids.com)