Emerging adulthood is the time from the end of adolescence to mid to late twenties. Full adult independence is often delayed because of the added years or education, continued financial dependence on parents and later marriages. A new phase of adulthood has been created called Emerging Adulthood for ages 18 -29 to cover this phase of development. Dr. Jeffrey Arnett describes five features of emerging adults in his book “Emerging Adults in America: Coming of Age in the 21st Century:”
- Age of Identity Exploration: The young person is still in the process of deciding who they are, what they want out of careers, learning new skills, and developing relationships
- Age of Instability: The young person may experience many residence changes due to the changes in careers, choosing where to continue school and who to have as close relationships.
- Age of Self Focus: This is a time young people have the freedom from parental and society-directed routines and the constraints of marriage, family and careers. They are focusing in on how they want to express themselves, what, when and where they want to be and do and with whom they want to be with.
- Age of feeling in between: Even though the young adult is taking on more and more responsibilities some believe that they do not feel like an adult.
- Age of possibilities: Most emerging adults have a sense of optimism. They believe they can do anything and want a lot out of life. This sense of optimism may lead to disappointment if not in-check with reality such as job descriptions and salary, the understanding relationships need continual open communication and that people change which can lead to relationships ending.
NATURAL AGE-RELATED MILESTONES
During this stage of life, the young adult is accomplishing the tasks of learning to become self-sufficient, socially responsible, skills needed for a job or career, how to get along with friends of both sexes and developing intimate relationships, accepting one’s body image, and how to stay healthy. Emerging adulthood is a time of gaining peace of mind and leaving behind the conflicts and tensions of adolescents. The move away from family influence towards independence and self-determination is filled with uncertainty.
Increased challenges and vulnerabilities in transitioning are evident among emerging adults with disabilities. Young adults with developmental disabilities face additional challenges related to their disability over and above what others of this developmental stage experience. Yet, these young adults will experience these developmental milestones.
- Physical growth begins to taper.
- Peak physical fitness is generally experienced.
- Good health may continue despite bad habits of eating poorly or not getting enough exercise.
- Physical changes are minimal but weight and muscle mass change as a result of diet, exercise, pregnancy and lactation.
- Increased understanding of one’s sexual orientation, although young adults may still experiment.
- Onset of symptoms for autoimmune diseases and chronic diseases may begin to develop during the twenties. These include diseases such as Crohn’s disease, cancers, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and autoimmune thyroiditis.
Social / Emotional Development:
- Find meaning and define self through their career
- Feel more empathetic. Young adults are beginning to have increased sensitivity towards the feelings, thoughts and attitudes of others.
- Have greater intimacy skills along with the development of emotionally intimate relationships
- Move into adult relationships with their parents
- Developing meaningful relationships and social interactions based on common interest
- Peer group is less important as a determinant of behavior
- Are setting their personal values framework
- Establish body image of self
- Carry a sense of invincibility
- More vulnerable to mental illness, suicide, binge drinking, other risk behaviors
- Psychotic illnesses typically emerge in the teen years and early adulthood. Early warning signs include a drop in grades or job performance, trouble concentrating, suspiciousness with others, a decline in personal hygiene, increased time spent being alone, and strong or inappropriate emotions or a lack of feelings. Psychosis typically is a gradual change in thoughts and perception. More information about mental health can be found below in the Health section and in the Learn More under Early Intervention.
The brain and basic thinking structures are making dramatic changes building on changes that occurred during adolescence until around the age of 35, when cognitive development begins to stabilize. A twenty-five year old may be said not to be the same person as they were when they were eighteen years old. Key points in research show the following occurring in cognitive skills of those in the emerging adult age range:
- Continued increase in abstract thinking
- Ability to engage in deductive reasoning
- Ability to create hypothetical ideas to explain various concepts
- Ability to make decisions based on situations and circumstances from different viewpoints
- Ability to determine the importance and relevance of arguments and ideas
- Ability to identify inconsistences and errors in reasoning
TIPS FOR PARENTS/CAREGIVERS HELPING A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY:
Independent living means having the opportunity to make decisions that go into everyday life. For a person with special needs independence is the process to reach their own level of independence.
The key elements to independence is being:
- Respected as an individual who can make their own choices rather than being directed to do whatever others want them to do.
- Given the opportunity to be actively involved in the process of making decision informed decisions about their life and
- Given access to participate in the physical, social, economic and cultural environment in which they live.
In our culture, young adults are traditionally establishing their own home and moving out of the home with their parents. However, oftentimes people with disabilities are thought to be incapable of making decisions about their own life. Independent living looks different for each person and for some, there may be a need for assistance in some or all of the areas of independent living. Occupational therapy, education in life skills and vocational training, can help a person develop skills with the needed levels of supports to live as independently as possible. Here are some tips to help increase independence of your loved one:
- Being supportive:
- Instead of trying to manage every interaction and decision, find ways to shift from “control” to ‘support.” This can be as simply shifting from telling someone what to do to asking the person what they would like to do.
- Identify and utilize the support of others. Look for people you feel comfortable talking openly about your situation and asking them for their support as you develop the independent living goals for your loved one. Think about friends, family members, neighbors and community support groups. By creating a network of supports you are ensuring your family member has security and stability if you are no longer able to provide care.
- View the situation from the perspective of your loved. Try to understand their point of view and why they are doing things the way in this manner. Develop open communication where one is not judged. Talk openly about the struggles and ask for guidance so that challenges can be resolved.
- Be positive. Celebrate the small wins. Each step leads to greater independence.
- Be respectful to your family member’s personal interests and characteristics. Help to build their confidence in things that interest them. Allow them to choose their own friends and hobbies.
- Building Confidence:
- Take small steps. Because many adults with disabilities have lived in a protective and highly nurtured environment, having independence may bring about anxiety and fear. Build decision making confidence through low risk daily activities. Perhaps start with washing dishes or what to have for a meal. As confidence increases the responsibilities can be increased to more challenging situations. Expand these responsibilities to participation in community. For instance, when planning a meal, have the person start to go to the store to purchase the items. This may begin with making the grocery list, going to the grocery store with someone and finding the items. It may gradually lead to going in the store independently while the caregiver waits in the car, to going to the store alone while using public transit. Building confidence along the way is essential.
- Encourage socialization away from the main caregivers. Help the person to find groups that they may be interested in joining.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise and a healthy diet. Exercise and eating healthy help to increase energy and a positive outlook on life. Setting aside time daily for exercise, from light stretching or a vigorous cardio workout, can improve how one thinks of themselves.
- Encourage learning:
- Expanding knowledge and opportunities not only includes the person with a disability but also educating the community about what a person with a disability CAN do. Helping others in the community to embrace diversity that includes cultures, religions and abilities.
- Because people with disabilities are more likely to be physically and sexually abused, educate your loved one about sexual health. Remember, adults with disabilities just like anyone else want to explore and express their sexuality. Empower your loved one to make sexual health decision in a safe and informed manner.
- Create a learning and career plan. Set goals. Encourage your loved one to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to reach their personal goals of employment and independence.
- Investigate the use of technology to increase independence. There are devices that can help a person who is unable to use speech to talk; devices to help with mobility and fine motor skills. The use of internet technology has increased substantially as an alternative means to meet with friends and others through virtual meetings; it can be used to shop, managing money as well as entertainment.
Allowing a person with a disability to take control of their life takes time. Achieving small steps helps to build confidence along the way. The caregiver must begin to let go and allow the family member to speak for themselves and begin to make choices about their life.
Centers for Independent Living (CIL) are community-based, cross-disability, non-profit organizations that are designed and operated by people with disabilities. CILs are unique in that they operate according to a strict philosophy of consumer control, wherein people with all types of disabilities directly govern and staff the organization. Centers for Independent Living provide:
- Peer Support
- Information and Referral
- Individual and Systems Advocacy
- Independent Living Skills Training
Palm Beach County’s Center is called Coalition for Independent Living Options. They provide supports to people with disabilities through advocacy, training and education in areas such as benefits, education, after school and summer programs, life skills, and crime victim protection and legal support.
Safety is not only about protecting your personal well-being but also about protecting your personal information.
Media Safety: Life is online. Whether you live it using a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop, it’s a good time to make computer security a habit. Because of exploitation of people with disabilities, it is important to have the skills and knowledge of personal safety, personal boundaries, when to say no, and knowing consequences of actions in all situations, including when on the internet. Find out more at OnGuardOnline.gov, the federal government’s site to help you be safe, secure and responsible online. Click Here for their website.
Computer Security Video:
Public wifi security video: Using Public Wifi:
It is astonishing how many scams are happening through social media. There are over 30 topics on different types of scams on the FTC website. Learn about recent scams and how to recognize the warning signs. Read the FTC’s most recent alerts or browse scams by topic, on their website. Click Here. Requests for email updates on scams are available on this webpage. Help your teen to understand the difference between truths and scams.
Safety Away from Home:
Just like teens, many young adults may still tend to think that they are invincible, in other words they may have an “I can do anything!” or “That can’t happen to me” attitude. They may challenge rules at home, school or in the community. Many may test limits and try risky behaviors. There may be more exposure and possibly experiencing with smoking, drugs or alcohol. See the tips on drug abuse in the Healthy Living section.
The rate of sexual abuse is extremely high for people with developmental disabilities. In 2006 the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect reported that children with disabilities were sexually abused 2.2 times higher than children without disabilities. The rates are even higher for adults with developmental disabilities, up to 83% of females and 32% of males are sexually abused. Sadly only 3% of their attackers are convicted.
So, what can parents do? Educate your young adult about sexuality and teach them the correct language for their body parts. More information on Sexuality can be found in the Healthy Living section under Personal Relationships.
Questions to Ask Myself:
- Am I able to get out and explore my community?
- Do I want full or part time employment?
- Do I know how to get a job, keep a job and build a long term career?
- What kind of supports are needed to live as independently as possible?
- How do I get around to places I need to go?
- Am I registered to vote? Have I contacted the voter’s registration office to ask for supports when I vote?
- Am I making most of my own life decisions and taking responsibility for the outcomes?
- What kinds of relationships do I want to have in my life?
- Do I know how to find someone to date? Do I know the safety precautions for online dating and dating safety?
- Do I want to participate in a faith-based practice?
- What kinds of things can I do in the community for fun and finding new friends?
- If I live independently are there supports in place to keep me safe?
- Do I understand who I should not let into my home?
- Can I be at home alone or access the community without help? If not, what supports are needed?
- Is there technology that can help keep me safe in my home and in the community?
- Do I know who to contact if I am being abused or victimized by a significant other, support staff, a housemate or anyone else?
- Do I know who to call in case of an emergency, when feeling unsafe, or needing assistance?
Legal and Financial:
If new to disability services the first thing that should be done is applying for benefits through Social Security, Agency for Person’s with Disabilities, and Vocational Rehabilitation. These agencies can help in providing the supports to people with disabilities. Remember, these agencies will not send an application to you. The person with a disability must self-advocate and apply to see if they are eligible for the services. The learn More section describes each agencies services and eligibility criteria.
Social Security has policies, resources, and support in place to help, but many people don’t know about them. Social Security also helps young people with disabilities who are about to leave foster care, often at age 18. When foster care ends, they may become eligible for SSI — but in the time period before SSI payments begin, they may be left without any means of support. In 2016 the early application period expanded for people leaving foster care from 90 days ahead of the date they leave foster care to 180 days ahead. Starting an SSI application earlier allows for a smoother transition out of foster care for those eligible for SSI as adults.
The brochure, What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18, describes key resources and information for young people receiving SSI. It explains the benefit re-determination at age 18 and special SSI work incentives for people participating in special education, Vocational Rehabilitation, or working while attending school. It also includes information on Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts; health programs; and support from other places, such as American Job Centers. The brochure will be mailed to all SSI recipients ages 14 to 17. Click Here for the brochure.
Social Security’s Red Book serves as a general reference source about the employment-related provisions of the Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Income Programs for educators, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, and counselors who serve people with disabilities. A new section has been added consolidating information on programs and resources for young people to help with the transition from school to adulthood. Click Here for the book.
Do you have finances set aside to help with independent or assisted living care? Special Needs Trusts and ABLE Trusts accounts allow you as the caregiver, or as person with a disability to save money for care after the death of the main caregiver.
Do you have a will and medical directives completed for both the caregiver and the person with a disability? Once a person becomes a legal adult, they hold responsibility for their actions, health care, and privacy.
At the age of 18 everyone, including those with significant disabilities is considered a legal adult. HIPPA and FERPA laws will protect the privacy of the new adult. This means, even you, the parent/caregiver, need to have permission to access health and education records. Turning 18 also means the teen is legally responsible for their behaviors. Your 18 year old now has rights; but also has legal responsibilities and will be held accountable for behaviors which break the law. The Florida Bar Association provides a pamphlet on legal rights for new adults, Just Adulting – Legal Guide. Click Here.
For a young person with significant disabilities it is important to decide if guardianship is needed. Gaining guardianship is a legal process that is determined by a judge. It is the legal process of taking away a person’s legal rights and stating that the person cannot take care of some essential health and safety requirements and cannot manage their personal property, such as finances or real estate.
Questions to Ask Myself:
- Who is partnering with my loved one in supported decision making?
- What is the distribution plan for my special needs trust to supplement the quality of life for my family member with special needs?
- Does my family member with disabilities need to file taxes? Who will assist?
- Do I understand how my rights and responsibilities when it comes to dealing with providers, agencies, and other support providers?
- Do I have the support people in place to help my loved one with finances?
- Does the income from employment of the person with disabilities exceed benefits limits?
- Who can help a person with a disability get a job?
The life expectancy of most persons with developmental disabilities now approaches that of the general population. For example, the mean age of death for a person with an intellectual disability was 19 years in the 1930s and 66 years by the 1990s, and it continues to improve. The civil rights of persons with disabilities have also advanced as they have been fully integrated into mainstream society, including medical practices. Family physicians can help patients with developmental disabilities maximize their potential by presuming they have an ability to learn and using appropriate communication support tools. Physicians can also help by responding promptly to urgent medical problems, providing age-appropriate health maintenance, and assessing risk to prevent secondary complications. Click Here for the American Academy Family Physician website.
In 2014, 12% of Florida’s population is between 15 and 24. According to the research conducted by Advocates for Youth, young people in Florida are at serious risk for unintended pregnancy, HIV and STIs. Youth of color and LGBT youth are at even higher risk for negative sexual health outcomes. Additionally, people with developmental disabilities are at higher risk to sexual abuse. Up to 83% of females and 32% of males with cognitive disabilities are sexually abused. Sadly only 3% of their attackers are convicted.
To address these risks, research shows that comprehensive sexuality education and access to contraceptive services can help young people protect their health and well-being. In addition to helping young people choose healthier behaviors, the barriers to health equity must be dismantled (including poverty, lack of insurance, and disparities in education) and structural interventions that help allow all young people to build healthy lives should be built.
A main part of emerging adulthood is developing personal long-term relationships with another. There are many myths that people with disabilities are incapable of understanding sexuality. Sexuality is not about genitality or about having sex. It is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identity and roles, sexual orientation, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. People with disabilities are capable of having healthy sexual relationships. All people need the opportunity to learn and understand sex and relationships. Teaching must be done in an appropriate manner. Understanding the different levels of friendships, sexuality and sexual health increases personal safety and helps to prevent exploitation.
The National Council for Independent Living developed videos to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn about sexuality. Topics include clarifying what is sex, gender, understanding healthy relationships, protection from sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and how pregnancy happens. Click Here for the videos.
Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) book Sexuality across the Lifespan for Children and Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities provides specific topics to address at different ages. It also provides resources for parents/caregivers and for educators. Sexuality across the Lifespan for Children and Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities – is an instructional guide for Parents/Caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities. To download the 2011 English version Click Here To download the Spanish version Click Here. To order the English version online Click Here. To read Sexuality and Developmental Disability: A Guide for Parents Publication Date: 2009, Click Here.
Common signs of mental illness in adults can include:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Changes in sex drive
- Overuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
Substance abuse disorders occur when the continued use of alcohol and or drugs causes impairment or disability in health and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, home and school. Unlike previous generations, the party culture of teens and young adults have greater risks. Partying is more likely to involve prescription medications combined with alcohol. A trend among young people is sharing prescription and over-the-counter medications to get high. “Pharm” or “Skittle” parties have participants contributing to a mixture of pills thrown in a bowl known as “trail mix.” The bowl is passed around with each person taking a handful of the pills to get high.
From Mental Health America: Click Here.
The website describes mental health conditions and major topics in mental health.
Limit screen time:
Media time includes television, gaming consoles, computer use, internet use, and telephone use. When used thoughtfully these media technologies can enhance our lives, but when overused or used inappropriately it can be detrimental.
Excessive media use can:
- Increase a sedentary lifestyle of sitting in front of the screen. This can lead to a decrease in motivation to participate in fitness activities, increase weight gain which can lead to other health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Interrupt sleep. Screens emit a mix of red, green and blue light which can trick the brain into thinking it is daylight. Studies have shown that using our screens at night can disrupt the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps us know when we are tired and fall asleep.
- Eye strain, dry eyes, and blurred vision. The brightness of the screens can be permanently damaging our vision.
- Digital motion sickness. Have you felt dizzy when scrolling quickly or watching a 3-D video? This feeling is caused by mismatch of the the sensory inputs that help with the sense of balance. When you see an active motion but don’t feel it there is a sensory. When this happens a feeling of dizziness and nausea occurs.
- Physical strains in the neck and hands. Our spine isn’t made to be looking down continuously. When we look down at our screens for long periods, we are forcing our spine to bear the weight of our head.
- Soreness and cramping in the fingers, wrist and forearm can be from texting. Repeated strain to the neck and hands can increase pains in the tendons and muscles.
Fitness and Nutrition:
High blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are prevalent health issues for individuals with disabilities. This makes it more important to exercise and eat a healthy diet. In order to reap the benefits from physical activity, exercise must be incorporated into the daily routine.
Everyone needs physical activity to stay healthy. All adults should avoid inactivity. Physical activity can boost your mood, sharpen your focus, reduce stress, and improve sleep. Both aerobic and muscle -strengthening physical activities should be included. Adults with disabilities should talk to their doctor about the amounts and types of activity that are appropriate for their ability. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines recommend:
- at least 2 ½ hours a week of moderate aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking, wheeling oneself in a wheelchair OR
- 1 hour 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic exercise such as jogging or wheelchair basketball. OR
- A combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
- Aerobic physical activities include:
- Aquatic therapy, swimming laps, water aerobics
- Ballroom dancing
- brisk walking, hiking
- cross-country and downhill skiing
- bicycling, hand-crank bicycling
- horseback riding
- Nordic walking
- seated volleyball
- wheeling oneself in a wheelchair, wheelchair sports – wheelchair basketball, tennis, football, or softball.
For Muscle Strengthening:
- Activities that involve all major muscle groups 2 or more days a week, such as working with resistance bands, adapted yoga.
When a person with a disability is unable to meet these guidelines, they should participate in some form of physical activity based upon their abilities and avoid inactivity. The National Center for Health and Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) recommends discussing your physical activity programs with your physician before starting. Find out if there are any medication side-effects that may limit what exercises you do. Start slowly and build your strength. If possible, consult with a trained exercise professional that understands your disability.
- Exercise and Fitness Fact Sheets describes various exercise and fitness techniques, modes, methods, adaptations, programming and related exercise equipment. Click Here.
- Disability/Conditions Fact Sheets describes various disabilities and health conditions as well as considerations for each related to exercise and physical activity. Click Here.
- NCHPAD 14 Weeks to Healthier You is a National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability based program. Those who register can access physical activity options and nutrition advice for people with disabilities – at no cost. Click Here.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists many fitness resources for many disabilities. Click Here.
Move Your Own Way provides tools and tips to make it easier to get more active. Click Here.
Workout from Home: Video options for People with Disability and Chronic Health Conditions. Click Here for a YouTube Playlist.
Questions to Ask Yourself About Fitness and Nutrition:
- Does the person with a disability eat healthy meals?
- Does the person with a disability stay as physically active as possible?
- Does the person with a disability understand the health risks of smoking, drinking alcohol, and drug use?
- Is there technology that can assist the person with a disability in monitoring their health and fitness independent of the caregiver?
- Does the person with a disability qualify for Medicaid or Medicare coverage or Social Secuity beneifts?
- Does the person with a disability get regular physicals and routine exams? (blood pressure, prostate checks, gynecological exams, routine blood tests)
- Does the person with a disability need support to help me with managing medications, talking to doctors and other medical/health decisions?
- Does the person with a disability understand their disability or special healthcare needs and how it affects them?
- Who else understands medical needs and information for the person with a disability?
- Does the person with a disability practice safe sex? What type of birth control is right for the person with a disability?
Through the American Disabilities Act Section 504, colleges, technical schools or vocational schools must provide reasonable accommodations to those who disclose a documented disability. Each institution of higher education has a designated office for disability services, or student services. Details are provided in the Learn More section on how to access these services. American with Disabilities Act (ADA) The Postsecondary Education, Disability Services in High Education sections provide answers to questions you may have.
Staying in High School:
Youth identified as having a disability and have an IEP may defer receiving their diploma and continue to receive educational services by the school district through the school year which they turn 22. Deferring Graduation explains this process. This is a great opportunity for young adults needing additional supports or extended time to complete academic or vocational skills.
Did you know there are college training programs across Florida for students with Intellectual disabilities? In addition, Florida legislation has created a scholarship opportunity for students to attend! Visit the website Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities to learn more. Click Here.
There’s much to consider when navigating transition from high school to a post-secondary program. There’s determining what type of program or major, the cost, the location and class sizes and most importantly how to continue receiving the accommodations needed to be successful in the coursework. If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a student with disabilities in post-secondary education the Office of Civil Rights has an informational webpage discussing frequently asked questions about preparing for post-secondary education. Click Here.
Family Resources | Think College:
ThinkCollege.net provides a wealth of information for families and educators on the college options for students with intellectual disabilities. If you are looking for some ideas on IEP goals and objectives to help teen prepare to go to college, they have created a table with suggested IEP goals. Click Here for the table.
When selecting a college look at the programs and majors to see if the college offers the training needed to start the career of interest. Thinkcollege provides a list of colleges throughout the United States that offer programs for students with intellectual disabilities. Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities provides in-depth descriptions of postsecondary programs in Florida that serve students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click Here for the FCSUA website.
There are also many college scams offering an easy way to get a degree. Remember the rule, if it looks to good to be true or if it sounds way to easy, then it’s a scam. To understand more about college scams, read the Federal Trade Commissions article, College Degree Scams, Click Here. Check with your high school guidance office for more information on legitimate colleges and trade schools and the programs they offer.
Other Lifelong Learning Opportunities:
The young adult may not have an interest in going to or has already completed a college program. Our community offers a wide variety of resources to continue learning academic, vocational, hobbies and fitness skills. See the resources in the Lifelong Learning section
Questions to ask yourself about education and lifelong learning?
- Are there skills or interests the young adult would like to explore or develop?
- Does my young adult express what they want to do after completing high school?
- Are there ways to continue learning at work, at volunteer jobs, at local schools?
- Have I talked to my young adult about deferring their high school diploma and their desire to go to college?
- Do I understand the Graduation deferment process?
- Have I taken my young adult to visit college programs?
- Does my young adult know how to ask for accommodations at work and school?
Caring for Myself:
The needs of the caregiver
- As a parent of a son or daughter with a disability, we often forget to take care of ourselves. We will advocate for our children to make sure they are getting the help they need. Now that high school is almost complete there is the additional stress of planning how to continue services for the person with a disability. This can lead to exhaustion, depression, and isolation. It’s important to take care of your health as well as your child’s. If we neglect our own well-being we may risk our own health and the ability to be there for our children. There are three key points all parents should follow:
- Know the signs of stress – symptoms can be physically and emotionally obvious but also may affect you internally. Pay attention to the signs of stress that may be affecting you, such as tense muscles, stomach aches, trouble sleeping, lack of focus, quick to anger or frustration, or isolation and no interest in anything. Take time to do things other than care-taking. Discover a hobby, spend time with a supportive friend, keep a gratitude journal, noting positive things that are happening in your life.
- Live a healthy lifestyle – eat nutritional meals, spend at least 30 to 45 minutes (optimal is one hour) exercising each day, get adequate sleep. Develop good communication skills, consider using “When ___ happens, I feel ____” statements.
- Know your limitations. No one can do this alone! Be aware of what you can and cannot do. Ask friends, family, advocates, and agencies for help. Remember it takes a village to raise a child. Check the Parent Support section or call 211 to find resources to help you with your child.
- Find ways to relax. It’s important to take time be yourself. This may be through meditation, actively participating in your religious beliefs, taking a long bath, or reading a novel. Find time to interact with other adults with common interests. It may be doing the things you love such as hobby, going to the gym, or going out with your spouse or close friends.
Another way to get help is by talking to someone you trust. This could be a parent, family member, close friend, teacher, counselor, spiritual leader or another trusted adult, who:
- Gives good advice when you want and ask for it
- Respects your need for privacy so you can tell him or her anything
- Lets you talk freely about your feelings and emotions without judging, teasing, or criticizing
- Helps you figure out what to do the next time a difficult situation comes up
Questions to Ask Myself:
Questions to ask yourself about caring for yourself
● Am I taking care of my own health?
● Am I exercising every day?
● Am I eating nutritional meals?
● Do I have time set aside to recoup my energy?
● Am I asking for help when I don’t know how to handle a situation?
WEBSITES/LINKS THAT MAY BE USEFUL:
Florida Youth Council made a video to share a day in the life of their members.
Projectknow.com: Things to Know About the Risks of Party Culture. Provides an overview of Pharm Parties, lists of easily accessible drugs for teens and young adults, the risk of overdosing, dangers of sexual assault and how to stay safe and take preventative steps. Click Here for the website.
Living with Cerebral Palsy: An Adult Perspective. An important video perspective for anyone who cares for a person with a developmental disability. See below.
Erica Monasterio, MN, FNP-BC. Clinical Professor; Director, Family Nurse Practitioner Program, Family Health Care Nursing. UCSF. The video provides an overview about sexuality and adults with disabilities and gives suggestions on educating teens and young adults about sexuality. See below.
Heller.brandeis.edu: National Research Center on Parents with Disabilities and their Families (NRCPD )collected blog entries from parents with disabilities about their experiences during the various phases of the pandemic in their communities. Click Here for the blog.
Umassmed.edu/TransitionsACR: Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (ACR) promotes the full participation in socially valued roles of transition-age youth and young adults (ages 14-30) with serious mental health conditions. Be sure to look at the Tip Sheets on Education, Employment, Living Skills and more. Click Here.
Umassmed.edu/TransitionsACR: The Transitions ACR Young Adult Blog, Managing My Medical and Mental Health Conditions Amidst COVID-19. The blog post, written by a young adult with mental health conditions, discusses how the pandemic has affected the healthcare system and how this has affected the treatment of their medical and mental health conditions. Click Here for the blog. Plus three tip sheets: How Young Adults Can Manage Loss of Income During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Click Here covers many topics related to surviving this difficult financial situation and is applicable to everyone. Maintaining Your Emotional Wellness During COVID-19, Click Here is also available in ASL. And finally Coronavirus Economic Stimulus Payments: Who Gets It, How, & Impact on Other Benefits, Click Here.
RTCIL.org: Emergency Preparedness for Every Member of Your Family – Now is always the time to prepare for an emergency, especially for people with disabilities. They offer publications, videos and trainings to assist in preparing for natural and man-made disasters. Also, don’t forget to consider the safety of service animals and pets in the event of a disaster. One way to prepare for the unexpected is to complete an identification form for each of your animals. For a quick overview, watch the emergency preparedness videos to learn what you need to have on hand and the steps you can take be ready for the unexpected. Click Here for their website.
Emergency preparedness videos:
- Emergency Preparedness Kit for People with Disabilities – Dr. Glen White presents the basics for a workplace kit
- Emergency Preparedness Tips for People with Disabilities – Cat Howland discusses ways to prepare
- Animal Emergency Preparedness: How to Keep Your Service Animals and Pets Safe in Natural or Man-made Disasters
- Be Prepared: Proper Handwashing for Seasonal Flu and Pandemics Prevention
- Service Dog Etiquette – featuring Tiffany Huggard-Lee
Amador-Patarroyo Manuel J. Rodriguez-Rodriguez Alberto Montoya-Ortiz Gladis, and Center for Autoimmune Diseases Research (CREA), School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universidad del Rosario, Carrera. How Does age at onset Influence the outcome of autoimmune diseases? Hindawi. Volume 2012 Article ID 251730. December 13, 2011. Bogotá, Colombia.
Anderson, David Wilkin, Rebecca. What staring at a screen all day does to your brain and body. Business Insider. February 8, 2019
Bratskeir, Kate. 8 physical risks of too much screen time. Huffpost. 11/18/17.
Brody, Jane. Interventions to Prevent Psychosis. The New York Times. Sept. 2, 2019.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Increasing physical activity Among adults with disabilities. Disability and physical activity. Disability and health promotion. Reviewed April 23, 2020.
Families First. How screen time affects adults. November 19, 2019.
Lumen. Boundless psychology. Learning human development. Physical development in adulthood.
National Alliance on Mental Illness. Warning signs and symptoms.
NDVR Endeavour Foundation. 21 tips for promoting independence in adults with a disability.
National Institutes of Health. National Human Genome Research Institute. Genetic disorders
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminsitration. Mental health and substance use disorders.
The University of Kansas Research & Training Center on Independent Living. Emergency preparedness for every member of your family.
Villa, Lauren, MPH. Things to know about the risks of party culture. Project know. American Addiction Centers. November 5, 2019.