According to a study by Easterseals, nearly 70% of adult children with disabilities live with a parent or guardian. Even so, many adult children with disabilities have achieved some level of independence in various aspects of their lives, from finances to self care.
Start by defining independence as it applies to your child. Remember that the definition will be different for every family. Then identify the tasks where your adult child can assume more personal responsibility, and make a plan to move towards self-sufficiency in those areas. This guide from the Endeavour Foundation is a great resource for parents looking to support their adult child as they strive for independence.
In most cases, a child with special needs will benefit from modifications to a home’s layout and features. As an added bonus, these changes can make it easier for the parents and caregiver too. According to this guide by BigRentz.com, the questions you should ask yourself during the planning process vary depending on your child’s particular needs.
- For Physical Disabilities
Will your child’s abilities increase or decrease over time? While immediate needs are important, your plans should also include long-term goals and likelihoods.
- Will your child need to exercise at home? If so, budget space and funds for in-home fitness up front.
- What safety devices will your child need to support independence? Options include home security systems, cameras, and emergency call buttons.
For Intellectual Disabilities
- Is your child high- or low-functioning? Will your child require more or less supervision and assistance over time?
- Can technology help your child become more independent? From using appliances to accessing entertainment, new technology for people with disabilities is available.
- Does your child have sensory needs? If so, be sure to take a look at lights, sounds, and textures.
For Emotional Disabilities
- Does your child have a safe way to access the outdoors? Natural sunlight and exposure to nature can help improve mood and reduce isolation.
- Does your child have any triggers? From loud noises to stressful family situations, most triggers can be avoided or minimized with layout modifications and sound reduction features.
- Do you live in an urban or rural environment? Where you live determines what services and programs you may have access to outside of the home. Furthermore, how your child reacts to their environment may impact what you need at home.