When you have a child with a disability, a lot of your focus is helping them day-to-day. But as they grow into adolescence, then you will also be preparing them for adulthood. There are many key skills that a teenager needs for their future, but here are three that are great to start working on today.
For many children and adults, it can be a big struggle to use time wisely. That’s why learning how to schedule and make the best use of the day is a great skill for your child to take with them into adulthood. You can try using a chart for daily activities if your teenager is a visual learner. It’s important to let them learn how to create their own schedule. Sit with them at the table with a pen and paper and talk through how much time you have for each activity that week.
One of the most important skills that your teenager will need in adulthood is self-advocacy. Self-advocacy is exercised when a person acknowledges that they have a voice and they stand up for themselves. This doesn’t have to be in the context of a conflict; self-advocacy is about your child’s thinking and acting independently on behalf of themselves. This includes learning how to handle their own finances, speaking for themselves in IEP meetings, and knowing their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.
Decisions and Consequences
It’s not very fun to tell your child that their decisions have consequences, but it’s an important part of being an adult. As often as you can, talk to your child about the choices they make. Ask them what they think the outcome will be. It’s important to help them see that most situations have several options, and that they can weigh the risk and reward balance of these options to help them make the right choice. It is a deep concept for sure, but it becomes much easier with practice.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.