The Horizons School provides a community-based educational program promoting successful transition to independent living for young adults with learning disabilities, autism spectrum and developmental disorders.
Positive Parenting your Horizons Student for Independence
Vol. 2, Issue 1, 2019
The theme for this issue of Positive Parenting is changing expectations and roles when parenting a young adult with learning disabilities. Parents aim to develop life skills that will sustain community independence, yet best intentions may hinder growth and adaptation!
Attempts to minimize challenges and avoid frustration lead some parents to act like a lawnmower or helicopter. A recent nationally representative poll of parents and young adults ages 18-28 was conducted by the New York Times and Morning Consult. Results from 1,136 parents and 1,508 young adults revealed intrusive parenting practices that impede their child’s developing maturity.
Nearly one-fourth of parents help their child study for a college exam. Three fourths of respondents remind their adult child of deadlines to meet and schedule their appointments, including for clinical care. Sixteen percent helped write all or part of applications for an internship or paid job. Eleven percent contact their adult child’s employer to discuss issues at work. Twelve percent help their adult child to pay rent and other bills.
Phil Klebine* came by to speak with Horizons students about his experiences living life with a disability, to give students advice and answer their questions. Phil began by talking about his disability. He was paralyzed from the chest down due to a C-5 spinal injury as a result of a car crash when he was 18 years old. Since that time, he has learned how to take control of his life, which is how he defines independence.
“You’re going to have setbacks along the way whether you have a disability or not,” he said. “It’s okay to fail; that’s how you learn about yourself and what you can do.” Phil referenced how he applied and interviewed for numerous jobs before someone gave him a chance.
“Pat yourself on the back occasionally – when you reach a goal or overcome a setback.”
According to Phil, college and post-secondary programs are about “sticking it out.” You have to have the motivation to do something. Finding purpose and meaning in life will give you the motivation you need to overcome obstacles along the way.
A key piece of advice he imparted to our students was in regards to the concept of independence. Some mistakenly believe that it means doing or being able to do everything for yourself. Phil disagrees. Independence is more about being in control of you life. You should know when to ask for help and what resources are available to you.
“Everyone needs help sometimes; never be afraid to ask for help”
*Phil is the Knowledge Translation Director for Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, part of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) School of Medicine. He started off as a client of Disability Rights and Resources and now sits on their Board of Directors.
Members of The Horizons School’s Hearts of Horizons Civitan Club volunteered their time to wash the wagons that are used to transport patients of Children’s of Alabama. Watch the video below to learn more about this particular service project, as well as the school’s partnership with Civitan International.
Students with the Hearts of Horizons Civitan Service Club collected 224 pounds of canned and dry foods and $370 for the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama earlier this month.
The club is part of The Horizons School, which prepares young adults with learning difficulties for an independent life. The school partnered with Civitan International, a Birmingham based organization of volunteer service clubs, to establish the Horizons Civitan Service Club earlier this year. There are about 21 student members and five staff members.