Independence and Self-Advocacy
Charts on Phone
Now, with a nod to technology (please remember Elizabeth and I have been at this thing called life a long time before all this was an option), we downloaded a notebook app on her phone to help grow her independence. On it we put down the “how to’s” for skills like paying a bill in a restaurant or what to pack for a trip to the gym. We keep adding to it and adjusting current ones but the great thing here is that her using the phone is an age appropriate thing.
Again, her dyspraxia makes initiating the steps to do a skill a challenge so having the information right there helps her a lot!
She also has all of our numbers in her contact list on her phone and knows how to call or text us. She has been taught the safety importance of keeping her phone charged and she does so each night.
Advocacy for Self-Provide Phrases and Suppports
We have taught Elizabeth to find her “go-to” person in any and all situations. We never go to or leave her at a place without this key thing. The “go-to” person is the person she knows will be there to go to for any help or assistance. So, if she is anxious and can’t remember how to do something, she can go to that person and ask for help. This way she knows she is safe and that she has support, if needed. She knows who the person is and they know as well.
Elizabeth has also been taught some key phrases to use if needed such as “Please help me do this” or “Teach me how”. This way she can advocate for herself as well as being as independent as possible.
The littlest accomplishments were celebrated. The littlest steps were praised.
These little things, if praised and nurtured, can grow into big successes. We celebrated them all with Elizabeth, and still do. I learned early on to do this. Is it always perfect? No, it is not but the independent skills are in there to grow.
So Where Is She Now?
She is at a college certificate program where she has a “buddy”, her go-to person, with her. She is taking one class and has two internships as well.
She has her “go to” person at each place. She has a part time job at a catering business. She has several go-to people there. She is loved at work and she loves them.
She does jobs around the house, exercises, and uses a daily schedule to help her know what is coming next as well as to allow her to ask question about the things that are planned.
We use a weekly schedule to know what is coming up each day as well as allowing us to chat about her feelings on something new or anxiety provoking. We make the schedule on Sunday and talk it through then and as needed.
Are we all done? No, not by a long shot. She is a wonderful work-in-progress but her independence and confidence are always growing.