Welcome to our newest blog series, Meet the NDFYA Team. Each month, we'll be featuring a team member who is dedicated to helping young adults achieve the goal of independent living.
It’s four in the morning, long before most people are willing to roll out of bed. Dark and very quiet. And Brandon, a young man with autism who loves running, is beaming with happiness and excitement. Because it’s the day of Brandon’s Run, a 5K put together by Brandon, NDFYA, and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Road Runners Club (GFLRRC).
The use of art therapy is growing. In fact, we use it extensively here at NDFYA – our California campus participates in group sessions every Friday afternoon.
Why is this type of therapy becoming prevalent? Because of the benefits associated with it.
As of August 2016, 48 states in the United States have passed ABLE legislation. But what exactly is ABLE, and what benefit does it have for you as a parent?
You’ve seen a change. Your young adult has lost interest in some of his or her favorite hobbies. They are eating too much or you’ve noticed drastic weight loss. Maybe they get tired easily or are suddenly very irritable.
In the California program many students would agree that the Friday afternoon Art group is a highlight of their week. The group is led by Jeanette Durand, a professional artist whose work has been shown in galleries in both the Chicago and San Francisco bay areas.
Recently in one of our art groups, we experimented with inkblots. Students were asked to decide what they saw in each of the abstract images.
If what they saw in the inkblot was pleasant, they personalized it, adding as many details as possible. For example, a student who saw two people dancing might add clothing.
Living on your own is difficult. So is finishing school.
When your child has special needs in addition to what’s being faced by all young adults today, those goals can seem impossible. As the digital age progresses, though, we are getting more than vivid TV screens or faster Internet speeds.
Because of his or her special needs, you weren’t sure if college was possible for your young adult child. But now that your family is considering it, you’re not sure if you should inform the school of your child’s disability.
It may seem like a waste of time. You want your young adult to spend his or her valuable hours when not in class or studying learning other valuable life skills as he or she works toward independence. Community service and volunteering won’t help them long-term.
It’s time for your young adult to move out.
Whether this is your only child or the last one in the nest, you’re concerned about your young adult finding his or her place in the world. You want him or her to be ready when you’re no longer able to support them.
As adults, we know there are consequences to our actions. If we don’t pay bills, we lose electricity and water; are charged fees that make it even harder to make the payment; and even lose our vehicles or homes. If we don’t complete our assignments or show up to work late, we lose our jobs and the ability to pay bills and do fun activities.
Your adult child is ready to be independent. Great!
Before you or your young adult signs a lease, though, be sure that the new home is one that fits with his or her special needs. According to the ebook Making Homes that Work, “the home that works gives a person control over his or her own life: it has the things that people need, and it is a good place to do the things they enjoy.”
You worry about your young adult.
It’s difficult to hold on to a job or build new, or maintain current, relationships if your young adult doesn’t know how to interact with people very well. Or, your young adult avoids scenarios where he or she will have to be around people.
You thought all of your children were prepared for adulthood.
Recently, though, you’ve noticed that one of your adult children has changed. Perhaps he or she has always had difficulty with school, maintaining relationships, or deciding on a career, but the problem appears to be worse now. Or, you may be seeing sudden and drastic changes in your young adult’s behavior. Now you’re concerned that this child isn’t as ready for leaving home as you thought.
For many young adults today, education doesn’t end with a high school diploma. The same is true for your child with special needs.
Selecting a college for a student with special needs, though, means you need to look into more than the majors and campus organizations offered. Here are a few other points you should consider to help your young adult find the education that best prepares him or her for a secure, independent life.
Your now-adult child may have seemed “normal” while growing up. However, at a point when your young adult should be reaching maturation and becoming ready for independence, he or she seems to have difficulty with learning or holding a job.