There are lots of benefits to independent living for adults with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). And while it’s an exciting prospect looming on the horizon, it’s also a scary one—for you and for your child. Of course, the best way to help everyone approach this major life change confidently is by proactively preparing an adult child with an IDD for independent living.
That’s no simple task. But all parents struggle to teach the right skills and impart the right lessons before sending their children out to live on their own. Obviously, preparing an adult child with an IDD for independent living poses some extra challenges. There’s nobody better able to meet those challenges than you, though. And, if you’ve been conscious about promoting independence in your child through the years, he or she will be well-equipped to meet them too.
Make a plan with your family, including your child. To help guide it, here’s an overview of the important aspects of daily living you’ll need to cover while preparing an adult child with an IDD for independent living. And remember, the details of how you go about it and what exactly you teach will vary taking into account your child’s health, abilities, and limitations. It’s important to strike the right balance of encouraging your child to push themselves in healthy ways and keeping things appropriate for their developmental age and abilities.
Getting Your Child Ready for Independent Living: What to Cover
- Basic hygiene and grooming (e.g., bathing, flossing and brushing teeth, shaving, etc.)
- Getting dressed
- Preparing food and meal planning
- Cleaning, laundry, washing dishes, and other cleaning tasks
- Waking up and going to bed on an appropriate schedule
- Using household appliances
- Personal safety around the home
- Taking medications
- Handling money
- Shopping for groceries, toiletries, and other household items
- Participating in recreational and community activities
- Getting around their area (e.g., public transportation, taxis, ride sharing apps)
- Connecting with vocational rehabilitation services and getting a job
- Getting ready for work, getting to and from work
- Asking for help when they need it
- Personal boundaries and recognizing inappropriate behavior by others