I remind our teachers every chance I get to think of their student at age 25. Where will he/she be? At home on their parent’s sofa playing video games or living independently with a desirable paying job?
This question helps teachers and other staff to reconsider things like letting undesirable behaviors continue, helping students too much with basic living skills, not pushing hard enough for functional academics, not insisting on independence in self help skills and not striving for a functional communication system.
As you will see in today’s video, Angie Cain is a young woman with developmental disabilities who has achieved all of the skills necessary to live an independent life. Her story is inspiring and obviously sets the bar high for success for our children with special needs. The beauty of Angie’s story is that even with the bar high, it’s not unreachable for others with similar challenges. Angie does in fact make me think about what we, as educators, must be doing wrong for students with even higher abilities, who still end up living at home, unemployed or underemployed, failing to launch into society.
I am hoping that after viewing this segment you will be saying to yourself, “If Angie can do it, my child/my student can do it!” Take a look and be inspired!!!
Angie cleans her apartment located at Merici Village (www.villageofmerici.org), does her own laundry, does her own cooking, makes arrangements for her transportation, makes plans with friends for her own social life, looks up information on-line and communicates with her family via phone and text. She uses her computer skills both at her job and in her volunteer positions. She regulates how late she stays up and sets an alarm to get up and start her day.
As you can see, high expectations and follow through from many people in her life have gotten Angie to where she is today.
Now that you’ve seen the video, what can you do? You can dream what is possible for your child/student then start doing some backward engineering.
Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “Start with the end in mind”.
Start from where you believe the possibility can be, then work backward to all the skills required to get there.
Its really no different than what we all do when we have to be somewhere at a certain time. We work backwards and figure out what time we have to leave to get there on time? What time you need to get ready? (which then may influence what time you need to finish a task before you get ready) and then that influences what time you need to start the whole process. Right? This is no different. I’m just suggesting that you start looking at the Dream, then start NOW with how you’ll get there.
Make sure you have a wonderful vision for that child/student at age 25. Don’t wait too long….you don’t want to be late!
Now it’s your turn to share with me your vision for your child/student or share with me how this has inspired you!!
You take care and I’ll see you next time!
PS. A thank you and a shout out to the two ladies who introduced themselves to me at Autism Academy last week! Your comments and positive feedback inspire me to continue this work!!! I appreciated that you took the time to say hello!