Providing support for our autistic teen or adult is a necessary part of being a parent, and this is often one of our top concerns. But as we do so, we can unknowingly fall into a default mechanism that infantilizes the individual and treats them as if they are not capable of being their own person. We typically do this with the underlying belief that we are giving the best support, and that we have our teen or adult’s best interests in mind, however, infantilizing them is unnecessary, and innately dangerous.
Independence & The Future
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How can RDI® provide real-world support for your child, teen, or young adult to prepare them for higher education, or a real-world job? In Dr. Steven Gutstein’s words, “Dynamic Intelligence is the mental ability that enables humans to successfully navigate the world and our relationships….and we have developed many resources to meet the mental challenges encountered in dynamic environments.”
Even though this can look different for every autistic person, autistic individuals – especially children, commonly struggle with executive functioning. Individuals with executive dysfunction can lack acquired motivation to achieve goals and prepare for normal events in day-to-day life (i.e., money management), and they often experience difficulties picking up on skills such as organization, planning, and reasoning without guided learning experiences. Despite these challenges, autistic individuals can learn to manage money.
As loving parents, we want our children to succeed in life. But sometimes, this pushes us blindly into overcompensation. We find ourselves frequently sneaking in and organizing our autistic teen’s school work to ensure they have a positive next day in class. Or we continue to do our kid’s laundry because we do not trust that they will do it themselves and that they will end up with no clean clothes in their closet. By not letting our kid fly on their own, we teach them that they are not accountable and lack responsibility. In turn, we presume incompetence, even if it only pertains to some areas of their lives. This can lead our children to feel that independence is either impossible or that they are flawed.
When an individual ages out of traditional therapy for autism it can present daunting challenges for a young adult or teen, as well as their parents. Where do I go from here as I transition to adulthood? What resources are available for housing, employment, mental health counseling, and other supports long-term?
Dynamic Intelligence refers to a collection of resources including self-knowledge, mental habits, mindsets, and mental tools that help us function effectively in complex dynamic environments. In simple terms, DI helps individuals cope with diverse situations, become problem-solvers, and learn to effectively pivot with life changes.
When we insist on complete control of our children, we do not presume competence. Instead, we presume incompetence, with the underlying belief that our kids cannot learn and achieve growth unless we always step in for them. When we presume competence in our children, we believe that they possess the ability to learn and develop.
As adults, most of us self-regulate habitually – we barely think about it. But can you guide your autistic child to self-regulate as you do? Self-regulation is the process that we go through that gives us the ability to control our behaviors and emotions – which is crucial to independence in life.
Why do so many autistic adults struggle with finding and keeping a job? The world simply isn’t built for neurodivergent people–but there are things employers can do to remedy that.
Transitioning to Independence: 5 Online Resources to Help Neurodivergent Young Adults Find Jobs & Job Skills
85% of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed, yet 60% of them have cognitive abilities at or above those of neurotypical individuals. So what is the problem?
Learn how co-regulation improves communication, encourages independence and practical ideas to implement this core concept of parenting at home.
Intrinsic motivation is the ability to be motivated internally, without external reward. Building intrinsic motivation in our children, autism or not, is a goal of all parents because without this force driving them, they will never achieve independence.
Dynamic growth is a key function of dynamic intelligence. With this, your child’s mental resources are improved. Your child constructs and continuously builds a library of personal knowledge that they can retrieve from as needed.
We don’t want to throw our children out into the world, with no support whatsoever, but we must help them make their way to independence – gradually, and when they’re ready. Each step must be taken when the child is developmentally and emotionally ready for the next step.
Growth and independence are possible, and they happen through a process of guidance that stimulates growth-seeking and awareness in the child.
How can you help your child with autism reach their potential? Regulation, the MindGuiding Relationship, and the right amount of challenge all play a part.
Dr. Rachelle Sheely speaks directly to parents about how to move forward after an autism diagnosis.
When helping your child to reach potential – you expect him to flourish and have a wonderful life. You expect him to be successful, in his way. Not in a way you’ve determined for him. When you give your child this gift of true acceptance, he will show you his potential.
Are you going to be the parent who believes in his/her child? Are you going to presume competence?
Your child has immense capacity for absorbing information. But he doesn’t know how to use it or make sense of it. Sensory sensitivities make things even more difficult. But I have good news for you. You can connect the dots for your child. You can help him make sense of the world. You, the parent, have an important role to play.
Dynamic focuses on problem solving, thinking, flexibility, where there are several solutions to a single problem.
An RDI® Guide to Happiness
Helping your child learn life´s necesarry skills.
Are you preparing your child to eventually live as independently as possible right now? Regardless of the extent of a child’s disability or his age, there is much we can do to help our children live up to their fullest potential.
In RDI parents are given the hefty task of imagining their family life in 5 years, 10 years.
Autism is neither good nor bad. It just exists, and it’s up to us…
So…once they have your attention, then what?