Will My Teen with Autism Live on their Own?
This is a question we ask ourselves for our own family, but I hear this question all of the time as an occupational therapist, from parents of teens and children with autism. We hear you and we understand the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that you are feeling. We are constantly thinking about the future and we try to picture what that future may look for my teenage brother. Our minds are thinking and turning and trying our best to predict the future for him, but in reality we cannot figure out what the future will hold. We never know what the future will bring, but we are trying our best to help prepare him. We are trying to guess if he will be able to live on his own.
The autism spectrum is extremely variable and every person has unique strengths. Every person is unique and it is impossible to determine what the future will hold for any person. We take it day by day and help my brother learn valuable skills each day.
*This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link I may receive a small commission, but there is no cost for you. Please see our disclosure for further information.
Parents, you are doing the best that you can
Here are 5 statements to remember each day, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed.
1. Remember to Breathe
When you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious remember to take a step back and breathe. You may not know the answers, but you won't be better at figuring out a solution when you are all worked up and anxious.
2. Let go of what you can't control
There are so many things in our lives that we cannot control. I know I am someone that tries to control as much as I can, but I realize that I need to let go and trust the process.
3. Seek out help when you need it
You can't do it all on your own. Seek our help from family, friends, or professionals to help provide you with support and resources to help your family.
4. Love your Child/Teenager
Never forget what is most important in your life. Enjoy the moment now with your teen. Don't get caught up thinking so much about the future that you forget to savor the moment you are in now. This is still a great time in their life and you want to be able to present now as well. Love your teenager for who they are.
5. Remember to take care of yourself
If you are overworked and overwhelmed constantly, you won't be able to provide the best care for your teen. Find ways to take time for yourself and find activities that you enjoy and can recharge your own energy. The better we feel, the more we can do for our family.
We Never Know what the Future will be like for our Teens
We cannot predict the future, but we can take steps each day to help our loved one learn valuable skills. We can also be present with them and love them for who they are. I don't want you to get so caught up with wanting to “change” your teen or make them conform to what society tells us is “normal”. Embrace your teen for who they are and help embrace their strengths. Find out what motivates them and what makes them happy. We can do so much for our teens if we can help guide them to find their passions.
Finding their Passions can help guide them into their future as an adult.
Every person seeks out to find their passions and what brings them purpose in life. I want to be able to wake up every day and be happy with who I am as a person and do meaningful work each day. This idea looks so different for each of us. Helping your teen to find what makes them happy and what brings them meaning can help them as they transition into adulthood.
I would love to hear what your passions are in the comments below. What are things that make you happy each day?
If you are looking for more ideas on specific skills to help your teen as they transition into adulthood check out our list of life skills below.
Other Resources you will LOVE!
Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom Ebook
Life Skills Activities for Secondary Students with Special Needs
Life Skills 101: A Practical Guide to Leaving Home and Living on Your Own
*This post may contain affiliate links.
You may ask yourself, when did my child become a teenager? Kids grow up so fast, right before our eyes, and time keeps rushing right by us. In our family, my brother is now 15 years old! How did this happen? As a sister and a professional OT, I worry for him and what his future might look like.
We are thinking about his future and what his future might look like. This can be a little more challenging for families with teenagers with autism as it can be a little bit harder to see exactly what path we might go down. We ask ourselves these questions all the time and it is a little scary not always knowing the answers.
Will he be able to live on his own?
Will he go to college?
Will he have friends?
What type of job would he be good at?
Will he learn to drive a car?
Will he always need me there to support him everyday?
Will he know when he is in danger?
Will he be able to take care of himself?
Will he be safe in new social situations?
Will someone take advantage of him?
The list can go on and on…
So what do you do when you worry about these questions and how you can help your teen? You look for support and help! Our family has realized when we go looking for answers to some of these questions and how we can help teach these skills to my brother, we realize there are not a lot of answers out there.
That is why we created this blog and our Facebook Group Support for Teens with Autism. We are going through the journey with you and providing you with resources that we have either made up ourselves or found along the way.
We are here for you and you are not alone! Together we can help create the best life for our teenager! We can be a little less stressed along the way. Please let me know what are some of the struggles you are facing in your family? Is there something that we can do to help you?
*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but we could earn money that will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure for further information. In our family, the only morning person is my dad. The rest of us are NOT morning people. Mornings can be really hard in our family as we would rather stay up late then get up early. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
We get it, life is busy and we all have busy schedules and it can feel like mornings are super rushed to get out the door. The last thing you need in your life is to be late to work or to school.
I wanted to share some time saving tips that myself and our family has been using to help our entire family have an easier morning, but we also wanted to share tips to help your teenager with autism also have an easier morning as well.
Strategies that we have used to help make mornings easier to SAVE time and allow us to sleep in a little longer 🙂
- Set out your clothes the night before. We just use a table in my brothers room to lay his clothes on the night before so in the morning he can quickly grab and change his clothes. I have seen other examples of this where they even set out clothes for an entire week where they use a collapsable shelf that hangs in the closet where they have a shelf for each day of the week.
- Prepare meals the night before for breakfast and lunch if needed. In our family we bring our lunches to work and this is a HUGE time saver! If it is already packed and ready in the fridge all you have to do is grab and go! You can do the same for breakfast as well if you are needing to eat on the go or even quickly at home. Some on the go breakfast or lunch items that we take are cheese sticks, yogurt, granola bars, and bananas.
- Set your alarm 5 minutes sooner than when you need to get up for the day. I know this may not seem like a lot of time, but 5 minutes can be the difference between being late or on time to where you need to go. What if traffic is a little slower or you spill something and you need to quickly change. There can be so many what if's in the morning that it is always a good idea to give yourself a 5 minute buffer.
- Do not check your email or social media accounts when you first wake up. I know it can be soooo tempting to take a peek at your emails or what is going on with Facebook when you first wake up, especially if you use your phone as an alarm, but this can take up valuable morning time that you don't already have. We can get lost in time trap of just scrolling and lose track of time. Instead I would recommend doing some morning stretches in bed, drinking a glass of water, or using an app where you can read a short prayer or affirmation for the day so you can start your day on a positive note.
- If you really want to help yourself get up in the morning you can set up your alarm across the room, so that when it goes off you will have to physically get out of bed to turn off the alarm.
- Maybe start your day off with eating breakfast first. I know there are many times when I skip breakfast because I ran out of time and then I am starving by the time lunch or mid morning hits. If you are more motivated by food, maybe try changing up your routine and start with breakfast first during your day.
- Try to use a checklist to help you remember each step of your morning routine and so that you don't forget something that you needed to take to school or to work. This can be especially helpful if you are trying to teach your child/teenager how to be more responsible for themselves in the morning and save mom some time in the morning with allowing the kids to be more independently. Place the checklist in a location the child/teenager will see it either in the bedroom or the bathroom or both locations. We have a created a FREE CHECKLIST for you to use for your morning routine that you can try to customize to fit your lifestyle and routine. Download your FREE Morning Checklist below by providing your name and email!
Our last tip is to find an alarm sound that can wake you up so you don't sleep through the alarm. You may need to change the alarm sound up every so often so that your body doesn't get used to the same sound over and over every morning.
Our family really dislikes mornings, but we hope with the help of these strategies together we can start to like mornings a little bit more 🙂 We hope you can find these tips helpful for your morning routine as a family and specifically to help give more responsibility to your teenager or child with Autism. Try out the checklist and we left some space for you to add in your own that are specific to your routine. We would love to hear if you have any additional suggestions or strategies that have helped make your morning routine easier.
Is your family looking for additional autism support? Check out our FREE Autism Resources guide with over 180+ Resources to help you and your family!! Download the Resources below!!
Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom for TONS of tips and resources to help your loved one become more independent with these skills!
This post was part of a monthly series by other Special Needs Bloggers where we all shared tips on Time Management! Check out their amazing resources below for further ways to help make life a little easier!
How to Win at Time Management When You’re a Busy Special Needs Parent | My Home Truths
The Busy Mom’s Guide to Juggling Multiple Appointments | The Chaos and The Clutter
How Visual Schedules Can Assist with Time Management Skills | Kori at Home
*This page contains affiliate links, there is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure statement for further details.
21 Books to Help you Better Understand Autism
Our family has read many books over the years to help us better understand Autism and various perspectives to help us better be able to help my brother through his journey through life. We wanted to create a resource with various books that we have found helpful and highly recommended.
The Reason I jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen Year old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida
The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism by Kristine Barnett
NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes you Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen Notbohm
Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant
In a Different Key: the Story of Autism by John Donvan & Caren Zucker
Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism by Arthur & Carly Fleishmann
A Parent’s Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: How to Meet the Challenges and Help your Child Thrive by Sally Ozonoff, Geraldine Dawson, & James C. McPartland
The Anti-Romantic Child: A Memoir of Unexpected Joy by Priscilla Gilman
Autism Every Day: Over 150 Strategies Lived and Learned by a Professional Autism Consultant with 3 Sons on the Spectrum by Alyson Beytien
Somewhere Over the Sea: A Father’s Letter to his Autistic Son by Halfdan W. Freihow
The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed by Temple Grandin
Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism by Chantal Sicile-Kira
The Obsessive Joy of Autism by Julia Bascom
Kids Beyond Limits: The Anat Baniel Method for Awakening the Brain and Transforming the Life of your Child with Special Needs by Anat Baniel
The Social Skills Picture Book: Teaching Play, Emotion, and Communication to Children with Autism by Jed Baker
The Social Skills Picture Book for High School and Beyond by Jed Baker
I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism by Pat Thomas
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: An Autism Spectrum Guide to the Confusing World of Idioms, Metaphors, and Everyday Expressions by Michael Barton
Motivate to Communicate!: 300 Games and Activities for your Child with Autism by Simone Griffin
All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shaina Rudolph & Danielle Royer
We wanted to create a comprehensive list that can provide you with a wide variety of options to help you learn more Autism and learn the world through their perspective and eyes. Our family has loved getting to read these books and we hope you will too. Please share with us books that you have enjoyed and if there are any that you feel should be added!
Has your child just received the Autism Diagnosis? Are you feeling overwhelmed with all of the information? We wanted to create a comprehensive FREE resource for you with tons of Autism and Special Needs Resources. This blog post is part of our resource where we provide you with information on tons of areas such as websites, books, podcasts, blogs, support groups, transitions into adulthood and MORE! If you would like this FREE download please provide us with your name and email address below to grab your FREE copy!
Please reach out to us if you have any questions or areas that we can help you with! We are here to support you!
180+Amazing Autism and Special Needs Resources!
Are you Feeling Overwhelmed?
Do you feel overwhelmed and tired, and just struggling to feel like you are making an impact with your child or adult with autism or special needs?
Today we wanted to share an amazing FREE resource we have created to help you feel a little less overwhelmed and more like you can take action on how you can find resources to help your family.
We get it, it can be hard to go through the every day tasks, especially when you are transitioning onto a new stage in life where you have to consistently learn new ideas and techniques to help your child succeed in life. We wanted to create the ultimate bundle of resources for you and your family to feel more confident in your stage of life and decrease that feeling of overwhelm.
This FREE Resource has over 180+ ideas from Autism websites, books, support groups, blogs by families and professionals, transitions into adulthood resources, podcasts, self-care tips, organization, ebooks, planners, calendars, & MORE!!
What resources will you get from this download?
- Autism Sites
- Autism Books
- Sensory Processing Books
- Children with Disabilities Books
- Transition into Adulthood Resources
- Self-Care and Parenting Resources
- Facebook Support Groups
- Pinterest Group Boards with loads of Special needs content
- Autism and Special Needs Blogs
- Occupational Therapy Blogs
- Speech Therapy Blogs
- Helpful EBooks
- Help Around the Home Resources
- Online Resources
- Blogging Resources to start your own blog
We also share our blogging tips and resources if you are someone that is looking for help with blogging as a way to make extra income for your family or for a way for your adult child to create an at home online business!
We hope you find this FREE resource helpful as you are going through each stage of life whether you just got the diagnosis or you are looking for ways to continue to advocate for your child or adult. We are here to HELP!
Please leave a comment about what you think about the resources or if you know of any more to add! We would love to hear your feedback!
Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom for TONS of tips and resources to help your loved one become more independent with these skills!
*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. If you would like read more here is our disclosure statement.
25 Ways to Show Support For a Family with a Child with Special Needs
This post was originally written about Mother's day, but the more I thought about it the more I realized these are actions that we should do all year round for mothers, parents, and fathers of children with special needs. These can seem like such simple acts of kindness, but they can go a long way for a family.
Mother's day can be a wonderful day where mother's feel appreciated and loved for many, but sometimes it can also bring up pain and sadness depending on what memories this day brings to you. Maybe you recently lost a mother or you are a mother who lost a child. This time a year can bring back sadness and hurt.
Maybe you are a single mother or father taking care of a child that has complex medical needs or a child that needs a lot of attention and care. Or maybe you are a family trying to find ways to help your mother have a day where she can feel appreciated and loved for everything that she does for you. Whatever avenue you are on this Mother's day, I hope that these tips can help all Mother's especially those with a child with special needs feel loved and appreciated for all of their hard work. If you are a husband, loved one, or friend to a mother with a child with special needs, we hope these ideas can spark some inspiration to help make Mother's day and every day a success!
This post is the first of many in the self-care series where we will provide you with resources and advice on how to help take care of ourselves as a parent. We need to learn to also take care of ourselves as a parent to be able to provide the best care for our children.
Help Provide Them with a Break
My mother is always wanting to do everything for her children. She is constantly putting her children and her husband first in her life and doesn't always take time for herself. Helping your mother be able to take a break from the busy schedules can help reenergize herself so that she can be the best version of herself to help her family.
Ask Them How you Can Help
This is a BIG one…and as a mother you need to be able to learn to accept help as well. Ask her what she may need done around the house, or how you can help out to make this next week a little easier for her. Is there something you could help by taking care of her children or going with her to be able to go out in the community and participate in a fun activity with the entire family? There are endless possibilities of ways she may need help, but make sure you are there for her and ask her what she needs help with.
Find out an Activity They Really Enjoy and Do That with Them
Don't be afraid to just ask her is there something you would really like to go and do? Find out from other family members what are some of her favorite activities to do and provide time for her to complete that activity with her. Now keep in mind you may have to also figure out child care for this mother if you are wanting it to be just the two of you. This may take some extra planning depending on her situation, so make sure you take that into consideration.
Listen to Their Needs (don't judge or provide feedback unless they ask)
Maybe just taking the time to listen to her and allowing her to share her feelings and opinions without feeling judged is what a mother might need. Bring her a cup of coffee or tea and allow her the opportunity to just sit and chat in a judgement free zone. You never know how much of an impact this simple act can make for someone that may feel like they are alone.
Let Them Know You are Here for Them
Let your mother know that you are here for them as a loved one or a friend and know that you are available to talk or go do an activity with them. Let them know that they can call you if they are needing help or just need some advice. It is always good to know which friends or loved ones you can always count on to help you out when you need it.
Make a Meal for Them and Their Family to Share Together
For some mothers, cooking a meal can be very tough and frustrating. It can take a long time to create a healthy meal for a family to share together. You have to find the time to go grocery shopping, prep the ingredients, and then cook the meal. That can be very time invasive, so just the kind act of making an entire meal for this mother to be able to share with her loved ones can be a huge act of kindness.
Help with the Yard Work
Yard work is another chore that can be daunting and take a lot of time, which a lot of mother's don't have enough time. Helping out with mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, or watering the flowers can be a huge help for some mother's and families.
Ask to Help Clean the House
The act of asking to help do the laundry or clean up the kitchens or bathrooms can also be a huge help around the house. This can help the mother's have more time to spend with their loved ones doing something they enjoy together. I know if this was me, I would love to have someone help clean up my house.
Help Run an Errand
Depending on their situation, just finding the time to be able to leave the house for a simple errand, can be a hard task for some mothers. Asking to help go get groceries or drop off some packages can be a huge help for some!
Provide them with a Gas Card to help with Transportation to Appointments
Gas can be expensive, especially if you are a family where you are constantly driving to appointments for your child. A gas card could go a long way for some mother's to be able to have sufficient funds to know she can get her children to their appointments on time.
Let them take a Nap or Sleep in
Sleep is one of those things that can be neglected when you are a mother to a child with lots of needs or just a very busy lifestyle. Help a mother out by offering to take care of the child for a while to allow her to sleep in or take a nap. Sleep is a necessity and can help a mother be the best version of herself with enough sleep and energy.
Provide Her with Opportunities to Listen to Books through an Audible Subscription
This one is a personal preference, as I love to listen to books on my audible app through Amazon. I am someone that doesn't take the time to sit and read, so I love being able to listen to books on tape and I am able to multi task at the same time with either doing dishes or folding laundry. I also love listening to books in the car! This has opened up so many more opportunities for me to be able to catch up on reading that I otherwise would not do.
Ask if they Would Like to Do Something as Family Where Everyone Can Join in and Participate
Is there an activity that the whole family would like to be able to do together? Help them find a way to complete that activity where everyone in the family will be able to help participate with to help create fun memories for the mother and family to be able to cherish for a lifetime.
Provide Uplifting and Encouraging Books to Read or Listen to Help them Relax
Our family loves finding books where the message is uplifting and encouraging. Maybe there are other mom's out there that also like to read encouraging books as well. Find out what your mom likes to read and provide opportunities for her to do that. My mom has loved watching and reading inspirational books by Joel Osteen.
Here are a list of possible encouraging and uplifting books
This Life I Live: One Man's Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever by Rory Feek
Start with Amen: How I Learned to Surrender by Keeping the End in Mind by
The Magnolia Story by
Get Them a Special Gift to Show your Appreciation and Love
A bouquet of flowers
Indoor Herb Garden
Mom Coffee Mug
The special gifts could go on and on forever. Every person likes a special gift that comes from the heart. These are just some ideas to get you started in the gift giving process.
This post goes out to all mothers who work hard to provide for their families and work to take care of their children to the best of their abilities. I hope you can find some inspiration from the ideas listed above to show your love and support to all the mother's in your life. This list is not just about mother's but both parents or fathers who are just trying their best to raise happy healthy children. Is there something you would like me to add to this list of ideas? We would love to hear from you!