A Thought from Cara….When your children are being supported in the community the following are a few things to keep in mind. The first is the power of introductions. It is important that people know your son/daughters name in order for them to be acknowledged and greeted. This could be at swimming, a favorite restaurant, a store, or work. If people from the community know their name, and a little something about them, they will often feel more comfortable coming up and saying hello. It may be that your son/daughter can introduce themselves, or they might need help – either way it is important that introductions occur, and can often be the bridge that begins inclusion.
Secondly, watch if people notice your child’s presence and absence. Did someone wave hello? Did someone smile as they passed by? Did someone notice they were absent from a regular activity? These are all signs that you child has a place and presence in the community. Third, be aware of opportunities for invitation. Could your son/daughter invite a casual acquaintance over for a cup of coffee or out for dinner? How about inviting a neighbor over for tea and muffins? Remember that you don’t need to wait for large events like Christmas and Birthdays for your child to invite people into their life.
Cara Milne owns M-Powered Planning Ltd a company that provides training and consulting to staff and/or families who support people with disabilities. For further information on training and workshops contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org