From Special to Ordinary
How do we help your loved one shift from the “special” to the “ordinary”?
Special classrooms, programs and groups. Our family members with developmental disabilities are forced to live a “Special Needs” life. There are two big problems with this. First, the “Special” segregates from the “Ordinary” and doesn’t provide rich growth and social and economic opportunities. And second, what our loved ones really want is a life just like everyone else, an “Awesome Ordinary” life! A life where they can grow their independence, have freely given relationships, contribute in valued ways to the community and eventually have a home they call their own.
So, how do we help your loved one shift from the “Special” to the “Ordinary”? The reality is that it takes work, and the work starts with you, the caregiver. Everything begins with you because you’re the decision-maker, the influencer, and the coach.
In the work that I do as a family coach, I support families to do this work with the five pillars of life planning;
- Emotional readiness,
- Ordinary possibilities,
- Learning best practices,
- Living an “Awesome Ordinary” life.
I guide families to start with emotional readiness because our inner fears for our loved one’s safety, independence, and future are what hold them back. And, what you believe is possible or not possible directly impacts their life path. After coaching over 500 families, there is almost always an acknowledgement of how the family has enabled disability. My family believed that my sister couldn’t manage her self-care, make a meal or contribute at home, and it kept Sarah stuck on the “Special Needs” path. Once we switched our belief that Sarah is capable if she has the opportunity and right support, she proved that she could do all of these things and shifted onto the “Awesome Oridinary” path.
If you want to learn more about creating an “Awesome Ordinary” life, visit https://www.empoweringability.org/
More From the Author
- Empowering Ability
- Life Plans: Can you envision your loved one’s future?
- Tip to Grow Your Loved Ones’ Independence
- 3 Steps To Make Progress This Year
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This post originally appeared on our January/February 2022 Magazine