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LETTING GO: HELPING CREATE A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD Laurie Stephens, Ph.D. Director of Clinical Services Education Spectrum.

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Presentation on theme: "LETTING GO: HELPING CREATE A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD Laurie Stephens, Ph.D. Director of Clinical Services Education Spectrum."— Presentation transcript:

1 LETTING GO: HELPING CREATE A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD Laurie Stephens, Ph.D. Director of Clinical Services Education Spectrum

2 LETTING GO No single right way Never too early; never too late My approach is two-fold – Think of what you had to do to become independent – Think of all the current skills your child will need to be as independent as possible Ask yourself: – What would make my child happy? – What skills does he need/strengths does she have? – What are the obstacles in the way?

3 ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE Living outside the home Navigating in the community – Driving, transportation, banking, doctors, events, shopping, Attending higher education programs (college, trade school) Sustaining employment ADL’s; what needs to be done, when, how; taking care of personal needs Finding a social circle; relationships Knowing the difference between seeking help and having someone handle the issue for them

4 ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE Make “safety net” smaller; move further away Natural consequences: “failure” is part of life It’s OK to let the “chips fall where they may” without making excuses for our children or taking over (e.g. being late, not finishing work) Teens/young adults need to develop autonomy; we need to foster it

5 ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE You may need to adjust your “dream” to match child’s reality or child must adjust his/her dream But, you & child may also need to increase your expectations for independence Balance safety with independence Family culture, values, etc. What’s right for your family is a personal choice

6 STARTING EARLY Be sure IEP supports have fade plan (e.g. 1:1) If you are the one organizing, planning and doing for child- plan how to fade yourself out Do you correct your child’s homework? May not help teacher understand child’s struggles All children should know their goals once they are capable of understanding them Teach the real meaning of fair: – Everyone gets what they need!

7 FURTHER SUPPORTS Remember motivation to be independent may be lacking- find out how they envision the future Getting ready and organized are great places to start- How much do you support your child in getting out the door for school, activities, etc.? Must know when they need help ― Motivation may be there, but understanding the steps may not ― Some view “help” as a sign of weakness/lack of intelligence

8 KEYS TO LETTING GO When kids know themselves and their strengths/weaknesses, it’s easier for them to know what they need to work on Can your child state their accommodations/ modifications? Can they state what they need to become more independent? Can they state their fears/anxiety for the future?

9 KEYS TO LETTING GO Praising effort over accuracy Early discussion of what is needed for college/job- you CAN’T do it for them! Few good “models” on TV/movies Many adolescents have no idea how different college is from HS In some ways it’s better, but it’s not if independence is lacking

10 PRIOR TO COLLEGE Testing (school district or independent) College Prep programs Reasonable accommodations Real life practice in meeting with DSS Discussion of differences between HS and higher education Dorm? Prep for roommate, communal living

11 HS/COLLEGE DIFFERENCES Professor may never know your name or anything about you Less time spent in class, more time spent learning on own (“study” vs taught) A lot more “leisure” time, which can’t be spent on video games Attendance may not be taken, but you also may not be able to get make up missed work/get lecture notes A ‘C’ literally means average

12 HS/COLLEGE DIFFERENCES Student needs to seek out help when grades are poor Less “homework” so feedback on how well you are learning is less frequent A lot of flexibility in scheduling Professors won’t talk with parents If not conserved, personnel CAN’T talk to parents Student can make any decision without parental input

13 OTHER NEEDS Success is not dependent on academic skills or cognition Social skills are more impactful for a children maximizing their independent potential Social groups for teens need to be geared toward those areas that are not “taught” in other environments Our Bridges Program

14 Long- Term Success Basic Social Interaction Skills Theory of Mind/ Social Thinking Friendship Skills Executive Functioning/ Advocacy Skills Electronic Communication/ Interaction (Leisure Skills) Dating/Relationships Skills Job/College Preparation

15 CONCLUSION Need to look at independence early on Supports may vanish, but our children can thrive with preparation You are not alone- those parents and particularly young adults who have gone before you are the best resource! Educate yourself, and then educate your child! Letting go is never easy but can all loosen our grip a bit!

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