It is important to remember when you have multiple children, especially when an older child has a disabilities, birth order must be respected and maintain intact. Younger siblings must always maintain the understanding and respect of their older siblings and the understanding of their individual roles.
We tend to take for granted our children may instinctually pick up on necessary hygiene skills. Many children with disabilities lack the motor skills necessary to complete such tasks. Even in the teenage years, hand over hand as well as modeling may be necessary to help young adults master independent living skills.
Understand that each individual is exactly that, and INDIVIDUAL... scheduling some time to allow your child or young adult to visit or do things in their community in which they have expressed interest will encourage them to advocate for themselves at an early age. This also will help with improvement of social skills as young adults explore various interests in their community and will assit with transitioning to job training later.
There is a common misconception that taking groups of young adults to preselected places of potential employment is beneficial. Remembering that each young adult is a individual and has their own interests as well as hopes and dreams is important. There are many employers who would be happy to work with all members of their community with or without disabilities. When I asked these employers in the San Antonio area in regards to partnerships with local school districts, they have responded, "they were never even asked."
Each friendship is so unique and special in it's own beautiful way. Just as two typical developing teenage boys may enjoy sharing a comic book or a video game, these two that happen to share the same diagnosis, can both enjoy an elevator ride.
Never avoid an opportunity to join in on an activity your child or young adult enjoys! Showing a shared interest will help them to grow self confidence and trust in others. Social skills can be developed and carried out in many different ways inside and outside the classroom.
When we have children with disabilities, in the home, community and educational settings many forget the undeniable rule that "kids will be kids". Why would this be different for our children with disabilites? Always reflect on this statement before any situation that "kids are kids FIRST".