Parents face many decisions when their child with an intellectual disability reaches adulthood. They may have to stop and ask themselves, if their child is ready? Do they have the skills to take on the responsibility of adulthood? Where will they live? Will they work? If so, where? How will they receive the support necessary to live a fulfilling and safe adulthood? These questions may lead the parent to feeling overly protective and/or all alone. It is important the family receive support as they go through this transition. It is also important to are given a realistic evaluation of the child, so that they can be directed the family to the appropriate services.
Important key thoughts to think about while making decisions for an individual with an intellectual disability include:
- Capability to live alone? If they are not able to be fully independent what key skills are missing and how could these be accomplished while allowing the individual the most independents. Could they live with someone coming in just to help out for specific items? Could they live in a rental with others near by? Could they live in a group home?
- Transportation: Can the child drive or will they need help? What options are available? Some locations will definitely make this easier. Public transportation, walking assistants, and local transport are all items to consider.
- Job: Can the individual keep a job? If so, to what level of work can they do. Try to help them strive to reach their full potential, while also keeping their interests in mind.
- Bills: Are they going to need help staying on top of monthly bills? If so, plan ahead to avoid inconveniences and possible trouble.
- Cleaning: Are they good at keeping a sanitary place of living? Although some mess (to their own taste is OK), fire risks and health also need to be factored in.
- Cooking: Are they capable of cooking? If so what cooking devices are they safe using. Plan an environment where they can access food when it is needed and be as healthy and independent as possible.
- Shopping: Who’s getting their groceries and clothes? Do they like to shop? This could be a great opportunity for the individual with an intellectual disability to exhibit independence.
- Appointments: Doctors, dentists, and the like are still necessary. Are they able to keep track of such things? Can they easily access such items? Making a plan will help to keep the individual with an intellectual disability on top of their health.