You have now TAKEN a candid look at the overall big picture, CREATED a future map, FILTERED the legal options, CAPTURED potential benefits and DOCUMENTED the wonder. What’s next? Step 6 is all about putting the pieces together to BEGIN the transition for your loved one with special needs.
In Step 6 of the Protected Tomorrows special needs planning series, you will identify and evaluate four key components in your family member’s life — residential, learning, employment, and recreational options. The good news is that Step 6 lends itself to self-advocacy. All a family member or caregiver needs is time and the ability to do some research. While the assistance of Protected Tomorrows’ dedicated team of Advocates is always at your disposal should you need help, the Protected Tomorrows Special Needs Directory located on our website can provide you with many of the resources necessary to develop a comprehensive Live/Learn/Work/Play plan that will meet the needs of your loved one and fit into the framework of your own life. Other potential resources to explore include the Internet, Facebook, LinkedIn, service professionals, social workers, transition coordinators, rehab professionals, etc., and, of course, networking with other families. Once you have gathered all of your information, the Online Future Care Planning System is an excellent location for documenting those resources and services.
One of the most important decisions to be made is where your loved one will live. Will your loved one live with you? Live in a Group Home with 24-hour custodial care? Live independently? Live in or utilize services provided by a Community Integrated Living Facility (CILA – IL state funded residential and in-home services) or live in a residential care facility with custodial care? If your vision includes your loved one living with you, a major consideration will need to be accessibility, both now and in the future. In order to maintain accessibility, you may need to consider either retrofitting your current home, purchasing an existing home that offers better accessibility, or undertaking a complete design and build of an entirely new home.
No matter which decision you ultimately make, the LifeCare Design Studio can closely examine your loved one’s specific needs and provide consultancy, planning, design and building services, all with safety and security as their top priority. Designing and building the perfect barrier free, universal access setting that encourages independent living is a challenge LifeCare Design Studio understands and consistently meets.
The second component in Step 6 is Learning. Protected Tomorrows maintains an exhaustive listing of resources to assist in this area, including everything from tutors to school advocates to adult learning services. Educational needs change greatly as loved ones with disabilities grow older. Services needed by children are quite different from those needed by adults. The Directory is an excellent resource to assist you ensuring that your loved one, whether a young child or an older adult, has access to all of the educational services available in your area.
The third component is Employment. Many individuals with disabilities hold productive and responsible jobs in the workplace. Again, the Directory is an excellent resource where you will find resources for developmental training and education, sheltered workshops, job placement services and supported employment for your loved one. Developing and nurturing confidence and self-esteem through meaningful employment links hand-in-hand with independent living.
Finally, a good life balance includes both work and play. Recreational opportunities for your loved one with special needs are abundant and widely available. A myriad of camps, programs and entertainment options can be found on the Directory.
You will find Step 6 to be a very fulfilling step to complete. Having the residential, education, employment and recreation pieces of your puzzle in place will bring you and your loved one a great deal of peace of mind. Our knowledgeable and easily accessible Protected Tomorrows Advocates are available to assist you with your search for live, learn, work and play solutions for your loved one.
LifeCare Design Studio, LLC is an affiliate of Protected Tomorrows, Inc. Visit www.lifecaredesignstudio.com for more information.