When we began this journey, I shared a list of the life skills (see link below) a person should have to gain independence. It’s a long list. And while I am a professional special ed advocate and this subject is my passion, I am not an expert in everything on this list. Nor am I a teacher. I am not an occupational therapist. I’m just a mom.
As I am writing this, Annie is sitting at the kitchen table in a video session with her occupational therapist and OT student. (All hail the brilliant Amanda Frank). When we started the process, I shared the list with Amanda, and she took over sections that she could work on with Annie. Today they’re working on banking.
Family and family friends have stepped forward to take over chunks of the list, too. It’s hard in the age of COVID, but big sister is ready to dive in when it’s safe to do so. Our friend who is a state Public Health Inspector is going to take over food safety. Her cousin is teaching her how to do scraping and sanding for home maintenance. Just wait until Grandpa gets tapped to teach her how to grill. And if I can find a way, my friends with expertise in electrical engineering, in carpentry, in animal care, in vehicle maintenance, and in bookkeeping, are all going to get some free labor as Annie explores career opportunities.
Use your team. Don’t think you have a team? Think about the expertise of those around you. Friends, family, and colleagues all have things to share. Still don’t think you have a team? if you’re in Ohio, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities is a great place to start. OOD services and training are free. Don’t be afraid to ask others to step in. They might be proud to share their knowledge. Independence for our kids doesn’t just help our kids, it’s a benefit to society.