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Tip Sheet: Steps to Independent Living     

Pre-vocational:

  • Help your child learn responsibility by doing weekly chores at home such as: making the bed, taking out the trash, tending to the pets, doing dishes, etc.
  • Encourage your child to do jobs in the neighborhood such as: raking leaves or grass, babysitting etc.
  • Share your work experiences with your child, let your child visit you at work, if possible.
  • Take your child to visit various workplaces such as: the fire station, police department, a construction site.
  • Stress work responsibilities. School is a job, students need to be there on time, every school day.

Independent Living:

  • Teach self-care. Children can learn early to bathe & dress, etc. As they get older, they can learn to sweep & wash floors, vacuum & do laundry.
  • Let you child help plan & prepare meals & grocery shop. As they get older let them plan and prepare simple meals for the family.
  • Give your child a regular allowance. Make sure part of it is used for a special item your child may need to save for, not just for daily treats.
  • Have your child open a savings account.
  • Involve your child in family decisions such as: going out to dinner, to the movies or on vacation.
  • Develop healthy attitudes regarding drug awareness & sex education, etc.
  • Instruct your child to properly use the telephone: Placing a call, answering the phone, taking messages, making appointments, etc.

Community Participation:

  • Take your children on errands to the post office or bank. Give them tasks to do.
  • Teach children proper manners in restaurants; let them order their own meal.
  • Involve your child in recreational activities such as: scouts, little league, church groups and community recreation programs.
  • Encourage your child to develop healthy friendships with their peers.
  • Allow them do their own errands and activities (when age appropriate).
  • Let your child pick out their own clothes & shop for themselves as they get older.

Transition Skills:

  • Teach you child to be a self-advocate, learning how to identify and speak up about their own needs.
  • Encourage your child to go on outings away from home such as: summer camp, overnight school functions, etc.
  • Help your child become responsible for their own medical needs, taking medicine or scheduling doctor appointments.
  • Teach your child responsibility in all areas of life - home, school & community.
  • Encourage your child to plan their own future, talk about setting goals and making them happen.
  • Help get your child involved in the right agencies, such as Vocational Rehabilitation, early in life.

Most Importantly, Always Let Your Child Know What a Wonderful and Unique Person He is or She is!

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Developed collaboratively by Sacopee Valley High School students and the Southern Maine Advisory Council on Transition.