Helping a Loved One with Developmental Disabilities Gain Independence

One of the main goals of the Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities (ACDD) is to help Alabamians with developmental disabilities (DD) obtain independence. As a loved one, you can help, too! Each person is different, so there isn’t one right way to help someone gain independence, but here are a few ways to empower your loved one with DD.

Community Integration

Community integration is one of the most important ways that someone can gain their independence. Science tells us that everyone feels the need to be a part of something greater. A sense of community is essential for healthy self-worth and self-esteem, no matter whether you have disabilities or not. Your self-worth directly correlates to your ability to be independent. You can successfully act alone when you know that you’re part of a team. Because of the lack of resources and opportunities for people with DD, there can be a sense of isolation. ACDD works to provide and connect Alabamians to resources that better integrate them into the community.

Develop a Life Vision and Long-Term Goals

Developing a life vision and long-term goals is important for anyone. If you don’t have an idea of where you want to go, then you’ll probably struggle to get anywhere. If you have a loved one that has DD, help them create long term goals for their life. If he or she wants to have a job, write out the steps needed to reach this goal. ACDD provides career coaching as well as resources and support for people with DD in the workforce.

Identify Supports

After creating long term goals, the next step is identifying the support needed to reach these goals. No one can do anything completely alone. Many of us need a support team to reach our biggest goals and dreams. Help your loved one research and find the support that they’ll need to reach their goals or sustain their life’s vision. If his or her goal is to work a part-time job, then identifying support would be researching transportation or setting up a bank account.

Consider Your Own Behavior

The last way to help your loved one gain independence has more to do with you. It’s important to be accepting of your loved one’s dreams and goals. Being judgmental is not the best way to support him or her. Everyone wants their visions, dreams, and goals to be accepted. Your loved one is no different. Create an environment of love and support so he or she will know that they’ll be listened to with acceptance and without judgement.

Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities

ACDD wants to help foster the independence of Alabamians with developmental disabilities. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about our resources, contact us today.