Today I'm going to talk about teaching your child and tools on how they can start living independently. The first thing we want to look into is do they understand safety? Do they understand that when they go into their homes, how to lock the doors? And how to not answer the door to strangers?
Do they understand the rules of living in a household? Using the stove? Not making sure that food or liquid is next to electricity.
First we need to review the safety tips they need to know. Then we'll figure out if they are able to use these strategies and tools that you're going to set up for them so they can eventually live by themselves.
The second thing we want to find out is "do they understand personal hygiene?". Personal hygiene is one of the most important parts of living at home by yourself. Do they have a morning routine such as getting up, finding their clothes, having a shower, brushing their teeth? Are they able to take care of themselves where no other support is being needed?
Another item we want to make sure we go over if learning how to use finances. Can they budget an account? Do they understand money? Do they understand the concept of money and spending? What does dollars and cents look like? To be apart of those that live independently, they'll have to understand finances, they should understand safety and they also need to understand what to do in case of an emergency.
I know getting your child to live by themselves is a scary thing, but if we start as Autism parents from a young age (NOW!) to do things independently like making a meal, and pretending you're not in the house, what would they do? Setting them up with the tools and strategies early so when given the opportunity to be by themselves they will be OK.
That's what our goals are for Autism Parents. I know that other parents out there have the same goals, but unfortunately, we have to put in a lot more time, repetition, and consistency in order to reach independence in those areas. So start putting that work now.
The next thing you want to consider out is housing? Where do I get a place for them that they will be able to afford to live by themselves? Do they have social security? Are they receiving funds from the government? I like to use visual charts and reminders on their phones.
Some individuals like to have a separate room in the house where their child lives and still has their independence.
I know Zachary is turning 12 and he is already trying to let me know he wants to do things on his own. So what do I do? I start teaching him as much as I can step by step, on how to live independently.
Some options for living:
This is when the individual person pays rent (usually covered by their housing benefit), has their own home and the security that comes with having tenancy rights. They typically have a supported caregiver who either lives in the house or apartment share, and shares similar facilities.
Support workers/personal assistants then either visit to meet the needs agreed on the person’s care and support plan or personal assistants may be based on the property on a 24-hour basis.
Some people feel that residential care is more secure than supported living. This is typically when your loved ones needs a bit of additional support, and there is a staff on duty to assist them.
Living with family with a support package in place
For some people, living at home with family works well provided they have a stable support base. While they are at home, it's also important to continue to teach them important life skills that will help make the person more independent.
It is important that family carers get breaks as well! Sometimes it's best to see how you can make that option possible for you, so you can have some downtime. Is there room int he budget for a personal assistant to come by every so often?