If you take the time to watch this video; you will understand the title of this blog post. Often, if we will just remove the limitations that others put on our special needs loved ones abilities; we will see them bloom and grow. How much of the world is kept from a special needs person because someone else thinks that they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, be capable of more. I love this video because it is a reminder that we all need room to spread out our wings just to see where we can go! Encourage them to explore their skills and talents; or, to pursue their interests … and never underestimate a special needs persons ability to achieve.
With a young adult special needs person, one would think that a parent had navigated most of those unchartered areas of life that come with unplanned challenges. Not so! In fact, once graduation takes place there are all kinds of other challenges that one did not make arrangements for that must be addressed such as living arrangements, supervision and either further educational opportunities or employment when possible. Keeping an active social life for the young adult is important for their well-being and yours. Don’t let their world narrow down to just the four walls of your home.
That is a difficulty for some parents; some social situations are difficult. Depending on the young person’s abilities the options are open to whatever decision the parents and the young person see as being a possibility. Take advantage of every opportunity that you can to widen their circle of interaction. You never know where that may lead regarding contacts, volunteer situations, or even eventual employment that they may find fulfilling.
In this time of financial cutbacks and downsizings, finding funding for either additional schooling when possible; or, for a place of employment to take on a person with special needs is becoming harder to find. Employers have had to cut back on the number of employees and hiring a special needs person may not fit their needs. For those who are in a rural setting, it is even more difficult. There are less employment situations. Check with your friends, your co-workers, even with members of a church or an organization that you may belong to. Some counties have specially trained job coaches available to work with a special needs individual to find a job that fits them and their abilities.
Finding an agency or organization that is versed in this area of help is beneficial, if you can find one. In the meantime, dealing with the young person’s expectations of instantly getting a job can be very discouraging. Filling up the day with activities and opportunities that keep them engaged and being productive is important.
Don’t fall into the trap of allowing them to sit in front of the television, computer or computerized gaming systems just to occupy them. Let them dream of something bigger and better, help them to achieve what is their highest level of functioning. It may be unchartered territory…but it doesn’t mean you have to stay adrift on the ocean with no goals or plans in site. Their quality of life is greatly improved when goals are set and met; the individual has expectations of how life should be, help them achieve their personal best.