Friday, March 7, 2008

But wait, Mom is still working on those Independent Living Skills

Ah, those Independent Living Skills our kids need to be self-sufficient. There is no surer way to bring on anxiety than to look at the list of skills that our children with special needs should master before they move out of the house and into a supported living situation.

At the Families Transition Series meeting I attended last week, we received a hand-out of Independent Living Skills that children need to work on to make the transition from living at home to living on their own (with supports). When we received this list, my friend sitting next to me commented that her daughter in college still has not mastered the entire list. It’s a useful list not only for children with disabilities, but also for all adolescents and young adults.

Taking a closer look at the list today, I see that there are a few items that I haven’t mastered yet, either – at least not all the time. I have read that for women, going through midlife is somewhat similar to experiencing adolescence, so maybe we moms need a refresher course on Independent Living Skills, too.

So, here is an annotated sampling of the items on the Independent Living Skills handout we received, with comments on how both Sayer and I are doing on building these skills.


Personal Care:
Gets adequate sleep
- Sayer aces this one; thank you gods of somnia.

Eats nutritious meals
- Carol needs to work on this (what food group is a Luna bar?).

Personal Safety
Says “NO” to others when appropriate
- This is an “emerging” skill for Sayer.

Knows five people to contact for help
-Carol can do this; you gotta have friends .

Social Skills
Leaves other people’s things alone
- Sayer knows to leave his brother’s Nintendo DS alone (or else, but that's another story).

Recognize other people’s needs and makes room for them
- Carol does this, sometimes too much!

Meal Preparation
Shops for food
- Sayer helps Dad with this; exposure to Trader Joe’ is a good first step.

Cooks simple meals
Carol can do this, emphasis on simple.

Allowances & Money Management
Budgets money
-Sayer is just now working on coin recognition, a building block.

Comparison shops
-Carol does this on-line - who knew this was a valuable skill!

Emotional Maturity
Recognizes other people’s feelings
- This is one of Sayer’s goals at school; he’s got “sad” and "mad" down pat.

Knows how to nurture self
- Carol knows how; implementation is sporadic.

Expression of Anger
Recognize signs of anger in self before “blowing up”
- Sayer is using a “Five-point” scale to identify his escalating emotions.

Knows how to express anger constructively
- Again, Carol knows how, implementation is sporadic.

For a full copy of the list without snarky comments, contact Darla Helt, Coordinator, at the Clark County Parent Coalition. And try to fit in a bubble bath - you'll get points for personal care AND nurturing yourself!


Anonymous said...

Hello Carol, I had a busy week with my son being sick (and missing his own party at school), but.......I finally had a chance to get on the computre and try to add a blog comment. Thanks for your directions. Can I count it as a Life Skill accomplishment for the week? I haven't gotten much else done....... Pam, age 49, mom to Geoffrey, age 20

Carol Solow Freedman said...


Yes, of course posting a comment counts as a Life Skill. Some days just getting one's shoes and socks on is an accomplishment!


mona said...

Its fun to see myself in your comments...a bit odd...thanks for help in posting a comment...always love adding new skills to MY list!