We have used notebooks and charts.

Cards and reminders.

Binders and spiral notebooks.

All in have been used and played a part in how we have taught and reinforced life skills, organization skills and other skills needed at the time (like what to pack a bag for volunteering, which she doesn’t do right now) This included the steps to complete the task or skill.

We began this when Elizabeth was in late middle school and continued it since then. They have changed alot but they are still there.

For those who don’t know, my daughter Elizabeth has special needs. She has global dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder (SPD) both disorders affect her life each and every day and she started therapy at the age of 2.5 years old.

And as she has gotten older, she is 25years old now, the life skills and job skills have gotten much more complicated. As has the need for her safety in a world that has gotten a bit crazy.

So instead of having a notebook in the kitchen for cooking and one in the den for work and a third in her room. We knew it was time to put them ALL on her phone.

We found an app that works well for this. One that she can navigate pretty well.

So all of the needed and necessary information and step by step on how to do tasks is RIGHT there for her. And since the entire universe is on their phones, she looks quite appropriate. We have the information backed up on paper but for now, it is “Elizabeth, it is on your phone, click in.” that gets said.

So going back to the start of this blog, I said that we put down the other skills that Elizabeth needed at the time. The question that needs asked is Why did we know what other skills she needed?

Because we kept the conversation/communication going about what is that you like to do Elizabeth? And then we offered her some choices to try. Then others and still others.

Until it was in her early high school years that she said just what her interests were that helped us make plans for her employment and her future.

And we kept those interests of hers and her goals and channeled work experiences for her that would grow the skills needed to be strongly employable.

We did not wait until the school discussed this with us or until they planned the job experiences for her.

We tried to be proactive so that Elizabeth got a real say in what she wanted to do in her life and even if she changed her mind, we would adjust. I mean what neurotypical young adult doesn’t pick and choose and change their mind for their future? Why should she be any different.

So that is what we did.

But my advice to all is to start that process of talking/communicating EARLY!

Start sharing about jobs that are out there and what the person actually does who has this job.

Show pictures and talk.

When you go somewhere, explain to them what job they are seeing.

Start your own transition planning early. It will be a way, way easier process than waiting until later. and your child will have had experiences that help them see what jobs are really out there and what they might like to try to do.

After all, it is something they should have a part in picking.

And why not have time on your side?

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes In Herself