A Master Plan

I can’t imagine what it would be like to just go with the flow. As the parent of a daughter with a developmental disability, I was always working on a plan. Partly it’s my nature. I make lists and tick them off. I organize myself and everyone else. Yes, I can be a bit of a bossy boots. But not to have a plan of any kind? Not possible. Especially when you’re dealing with transitions.

I was thinking about that as I crawled my way through the shopping mall yesterday, watching parents and kids buying school supplies, arguing over which shoes to purchase and generally getting ready for the year ahead. And I started to think about the work parents of high schoolers with developmental and intellectual needs should be doing to prepare their sons and daughters for that next transition into post-secondary.

So being who I am, I made a list, of course, borrowing heavily from experts here and there.

1. You know a lot already. You have learned so much over the years and nobody knows your child better than you do.

2. Face your fears. Acknowledge what you’re worried about. It won’t make it disappear but you won’t be paralysed by it because you can start doing something about it. Is it loneliness? Is it employment?

3. Priorize. You can’t do it all at once. Choose something and do it. Then choose something else. Make a list. Set a deadline. Whatever works for you.

4. Find someone who has gone through it. This is where Families Matter Co-op can really help you. Having a mentor is having a shoulder to lean on periodically.

5. Don’t do it alone. Work with other families in a team. Again FMC can help you here. So can your child’s teacher.

6. Don’t forget to talk to your child. Don’t leave your child out of the process. Keep the conversation casual and appropriate but keep your child in the loop.

There! Do you feel any better? Now all you have to do is complete the list. Simple! Hah!

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