Each person with a disability is different. They merely suffer from a common disability, such as an intellectual disability, but in fact are they themselves individuals with their own wants and desires. It is important for us as teachers, caseworkers, families, and other providers to support them in defining their own life. It is important to prepare them for the steps they take and then support them throughout their adventure. Many factors contribute to the success of Adults with an intellectual disability. They include:
- community resources
- social adaptation
As they go through school and therapy, they are often preparing for life after school. Once they get to the point of adult standing, they need to be able to make decisions, inquire on needs, and search for resources. They need to be able to keep appointments, go to the doctors, take medicine, get groceries, keep hygiene, and live through daily transitions. If they are unable to do any of these things, they need to ask for the resources and/or get the appropriate services.
It is important for these individuals to receive support through verbal confirmation and physical resources during their high school to young adult transition and throughout their adult life. The community can provide ongoing services for those that need continued therapies. They can also provide accessible resources, such as job placement, social opportunities, and reference material for those with mental retardation.
As a community resource, it is important to find what is appropriate for the individual as each is different. It may be helpful to have specific counselors in their last semester at school to go through their options with them. They might also need ongoing caseworkers that check-in on them yearly to make sure they are getting the services they desire. These caseworkers can also help the individuals in service to find job opportunities, social events, and answers to their other questions. They can give them referrals to the organizations that those in service have not been able to find for themselves. Some individuals with mental retardation may require supervision for some activities, like cooking, so ongoing respite may be necessary. The ongoing respite can also help those individuals to feel more independent, as they can live on their own terms with workers that help when necessary. This resource along with the other one’s desired by the person in service can help the individual with mental retardation find success in living a fulfilling life.