Friday, January 28, 2011

Planning for Spare Time

Vacation to Denver Hiking in the Mountains

An important part of transition planning is being sure your son or daughter has friends and a support network within the community.  This includes not only their friends and family but people from their church, neighborhood and workplace.  Unfortunately after they leave school at twenty-one many of the disabled who live at home lose touch with friends they had in school and don't have the social skills necessary to make new friends.  As they become more and more dependent on their families they lose what independence they had developed when they were in high school or vocational school. 

It is important to help them plan activities they enjoy as well as activities that are held where it is easy for them to get to by mass transit or paratransit systems.  As family you will not always be able to drive them places they'd like to go.  Fostering independence in choosing and getting to social activities is critical for your son or daughter to maintain a happy and healthy social life on their own. 

Contact groups in your community that have get togethers like churches or Best Buddies.  Often the Mental Health Office in your community can refer you to places or groups.  Taking adult classes or being part of Special Olympics or other sports is critical.  Not only does this get exercise for minds and bodies but it brings them into contact with more people with whom they can be friendly.  Vacation planning is also an important part of their leisure time.  There are many groups that have camps or that sponsor vacation trips for the disabled with varying amounts of supervision.  Hiking and riding are great options.  Check your local state parks or communities for hiking groups in your area.  Cooking classes are helpful and will help them learn new skills that they can practice on their own.  The options are endless, it just takes some time to find the ones that appeal to your son or daughter the most. 

Becoming active at their church or synagogue can fill many voids both religious and social. 

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