How much support does your child really need to live more independently?
As parents we want to protect and be available for our children whenever they need guidance and support. There may come a time when we need to make plans for others to take on these responsibilities. Whether it's because our children want to be more independent or we need to focus on our own health or mortality.
AttendantCare is Individualized assistance for the functional needs of (more) independent living.
As parents we have a perception of our child that is based on years of parenting. Often we see many areas that reinforce that they are unable to take care of themselves. This may result in over protection and a sense that this child "will never live independently".
What can we parents do to minimize the dependence our children have on us, so they can take more responsibility for themselves? How can we provide realistic expectations to future caregivers so that we are confident that our children will be safe and be good neighbors when they no longer live with us.
We can start by accepting that we as parents need to help our children learn how to be as independent as possible, as soon as possible, regardless of their current age. We can create safes place in our homes so that our children can learn, practice, make mistakes, and improve upon their daily living and safety skills. Then let celebration ensue when they make progress.
Next, we can take a look at what actions we as parents take daily to "help" our children progress during the day. Here is an approach
- For 24 hours, write down all activities where your child needs support. (AttendantCare Assessment)
- Identify which activities your child can learn to do more of or independently, over time (are these activities that you can teach at home, or could they be added to an IEP or Person Centered Plan?)
- Identify which activities will need continued support from professionals (through private pay, Medicaid medical insurance, etc.)
- Each year, before annual planning meetings for your child, reassess progress using the AttendantCare Assessment and bring these results to the meetings. Identify those activities that you will work on with your child.
This is one approach to being realistic about the abilities and challenges our children face in their lifetimes, how we can take action to help them become as independent as possible, and have reasonable expectations about how much care they will need when we are no longer able to care for them.
After you do your own assessment, you can use that information when your child is assessed for Community First Choice services. Texas Health and Human Services uses Form 8510 for assessments. Instructions and the form are here.
Do you have thoughts about this? How has using the AttendantCare Assessment worked for you? Please share your comments, below.