The value of structure: my daughter graduated from high school two years ago and has lost ground. One of the comments I heard is that she misses the structure. What does that mean?
So the big question is how to find out what is not working for your daughter in her current daily life. Often the expectations put on the person have grown with their age but their ability to manage new settings, especially socially, on their own have not caught up. Even part time jobs can be stressful when there are interruptions, or someone is attempting to fit in to the work social scene. Simple things like finding one's place in sorting videos at a store after a customer asks a question, or knowing what to talk about during employee breaks, can cause much anxiety and bring on a sense of chronic failure if the difficulties are not addressed quickly. It may take a professional, such as a psychologist or a behavior consultant, to tease out where those moments occur for your daughter. Some of the things they might do are careful observations in some of the places she spends her day, and do a functional adaptive behavior assessment meant to find out the things she does and does not do everyday. One great thing about those assessment tools is that they divide daily tasks in various categories, communication, social, health and safety, leisure etc ... so that at the end a picture appears of where the person's strengths and the difficulties are. So someone may love being social, and love dances and going to ball games, and is good at it, but communication is a challenge, creating high frustration when they are trying to get along with others. Built-in support to say the right thing can smooth the waters. Without it, feelings of isolation and inadequacy are likely to grow and eventually lead to resignation and perhaps depression. Tailoring expectations of your daughter's daily life to her strengths and supporting her where needed is key. As an example, a structure put in place could be:
* A picture schedule
* Role playing conversations
* A counseling group watching videotapes and discussing social skills
* A set daily routine with built-in transitions
* Planned social events
Dr. Isabelle Grenon is a psychologist dedicated to the enhancement of life of people with disabilities and has been for the past 17 years. First in New York State and now in British Columbia, she works for a consulting team that provides mental health services to people with developmental disabilities on Vancouver Island, Canada.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||ASK THE PSYCHOLOGIST|
|Publication:||The Exceptional Parent|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2009|
|Previous Article:||Revealing epilepsy to other parents, schools, and in the workplace: this is the fourth in a series of four articles about how to tell others about...|
|Next Article:||Lessons in transition: planning for a child moving to her own place in the community.|