Do you think about the future for your child? I do on a daily basis. Today, I received an email from the Boggs Center for Developmental Disabilities offering a conference on Self-Directed Supports. I am registered and looking forward to attending. Do you know what self-directed supports are? They are the assistance needed by individuals with developmental disabilities to lead their life as they chose. I know, that sounds nondescript. Here are some clarifying examples. For people entering the work force, that may mean transportation training or job sampling and coaching. For someone who wants to live independently, that might mean assistance with his/her budget, assistance with personal care or home maintainance. This program comes with a personal budget from the State. The Division of Developmental Disabilities will provide funds to enable people to make the choices to lead the life that they want to live. This does not include money for travelling around the world or buying a house. It has to make sense and be practical. I am attending the conference to learn what some of the possibilities are.
My son, Dan, has one more year of school to attend. When he graduates in June 2011, he needs somewhere to go. Will he work? Will he go to an adult day care? Will he volunteer? What do I need to do to provide him with a full life? What skills does he need to live as independently as possible? These are all questions that I ask myself and the professionals that assist Dan in his life. These are questions we will begin to answer this spring at his IEP meeting. These are questions that parents of special needs children aging out of the school system need to be asking . Are you?
Sandra G. Bishins, LSW
SGB Consulting, LLC
Providing information and referral services for individuals with special needs and their families