A meaningful life for every individual is going to be different. In fact, many children with disabilities are already living awesome lives right now with their families. Kids may have their own rooms. They may eat what they want at home. Many attend faith-based or recreation activities with family. Traveling with the family on school breaks and experiencing different places is amazing too. Why does any of this have to end with adulthood?
After college, I moved away from home. I had my own place and signed my first lease with help from my dad. I had no roommates because I had to share a room with three sisters growing up. I enjoyed being able to decorate my own place. I ate whatever and whenever I wanted. (Probably not all healthy!)
There were nights I went to bed at 9 pm or stayed up until 4 am watching TV. I went to the movies with friends or to the library. I went for walks in the neighborhood on nice days. I worked at a job or volunteered.
Should this be any different for people with disabilities? I needed support to get that first apartment and job. People with disabilities just need other supports to live their lives in community.
There is a lot of discussion around the “new” 2014 Home & Community Based Services Final Regulation that promotes full access to community life, something you and I take for granted.
Here are some highlights:
It sort of sounds like my life as a young adult!
As parents, we often do everything for our kids. What would it look like if we made those day-to-day activities awesome and meaningful to our children?
Ensure your child is making choices now. Let them choose what their room looks like, what they wear, and what they eat. Respect their privacy and dignity; ask them if it’s OK to share a story about them. Help them learn they are in charge of their bodies. If your son or daughter has a waiver, let them interview their support staff. Let them experience a variety of places in your community, so they know they have options.
Supporting our kids should not end when they become adults. It’s hard to step back from controlling everything as a parent. Yet when we do, we allow our kids to lead more awesome, meaningful lives as adults!
You got this!
Learn more about helping your child build independence.