Programs & Trainings
Designs 4 Autism—4 Independent Living: This is an in house evaluation conducted in the client’s home. Prior to the initial meeting a questionnaire by the entire family will be completed. My intention is to help create change through color, order, and items of interest for the autistic adult child. This environmental change gently encourages your child to step out into the new and transition upward towards independence. This can be done in person or through Skype and your child can be any age. Along with the ongoing environmental change, the parents are given a ten step program on how to help their son or daughter reach their full potential and gain maximum independence.
Step In Parenting Network, SIPN (Networkers): This program is to help the parents learn how to screen, educate, and teach those, (networkers) who are willing to step into this most important and difficult role of substitute parenting after they are gone or they are unable to care for their loved ones due to illness or aging.
Network/Networkers: A network is a group of helpers, hand-picked by parents, who have varied talents and expertise. Simply said, a networker is a volunteer helper who wishes to be of service to a special needs child when the parents are no longer able to care for them. The goal is to create a team of volunteers who are happy to be of service and assist your child now and after you are gone.
Instructional Care Manual: This is a written plan that will serve as your “voice” and communicate your child’s needs and your wishes to your sons or daughters helpers/Networkers. This is a safe place to write down all the pertinent information that only you know about your child. You will be passing this manual on to people in your Step In Parenting Network, SIPN. It will follow your child for the rest of his/her life.
Independence Training for Parents:
Training Programs Include:
- How to achieve the art of “Letting Go”
- Learn when “Good Enough” is good enough
- Discover what you can do if you are an enabler
- Differentiate between your unnecessary fears and healthy fears
- Identify overprotective and codependent tendencies
- Find ways to maintain an optimistic perspective while being realistic
- Discover how to map out your child’s future to reach maximum independence
- Learn how to prepare now for when your child outlives you
For example: The Art of “Letting Go” – Teaching parents the art of “letting go” is crucial. It will help to lessen their fears and encourage their children to reach maximum independence. Once they understand the process many of my clients have been able to loosen the reins and allow their children more freedom and space. It is not an easy transition for a child and it often as difficult for parents, if not more so. Without this step many of our autistic adult children will remain at home even if and when they are able to go and live outside the home.
These programs begin right where you are today. It is never too early to begin talking about and preparing for your child’s future. You cannot afford to wait until it is too late.
We need to focus more on the parents and the importance of independence training.
Professionals focus all their time on the children with no time spent on the parents. How can our adult children learn to be free and independent when the people in charge of their wellbeing, their parents, have little or no tools to help them make this transition? Without the tools or the means to actually see how it is done, most parents will remain trapped by their own fears—not because they want to be, but because they know no other way. This will paralyze any progress they could be making and can cause them to remain stuck in fear forever.
- No matter how many unique housing facilities or communities we create around the globe the huge problem of independence will continue if parents are unable to “let go” in a timely and positive manner.
- I understand parents are overwhelmed about the lack of vocational, social, educational, and living opportunities. And above all their children’s safety and wellbeing is their number one concern.
- When the wellbeing of your adult child is at risk it is difficult to find that middle ground as a parent when your not overbearing yet still loving and caring. That is why I have dedicated myself to teaching and implementing the above programs.
- We cannot expect independence to happen by waving a magic wand. There are necessary steps the parents must take in order for their children to achieve the goal of independence. That is why independence training for parents is crucial.
- Growing into independence is a lifelong process for you and your child. Be kind to yourself and keep moving forward one day at a time just as you ask your child to do.
Cause/Issue that Autism Independence Project raises awareness of:
- Helping adults with autism become independent and live the best life possible.
- Planning for autistic adults after their parents are gone or unable to care for them due to illness or aging.
- Setting up a Network and Networkers, a team of volunteer helpers who will assist your child when you no longer can.
- Creating an Instructional Care Manual to serve as you voice and wishes after you are gone.