Transition from High School to adult life:
The purpose of this Lesson Program is to help the youth to take the lead in planning for their adult lives. This lesson program shares important information, encourages youth to begin thinking about life after high school, and offers ideas they can use to plan routes to reach their goals. This is not a simple lesson plan that parents, educators or others should hand to young adults and ask them to complete on their own. Rather, it should be taught in a BFF one-on-one therapy guide for conversations, either one-to-one or in groups, between adults and between young people. The lessons include suggested activities, and we like to get creative with young adults!
It’s never too early to start planning
While graduating from high school is a natural life event for many teenagers, for students with disabilities this requires more planning, negotiation, and decision-making. Your child’s choices about where he/she want to live and work whether or not they want to continue their education are a bit more challenging if they will need continued support or accommodations. High school is the last time they will be “entitled” to receive services. So make the most of your child’s time there. Have a plan for when they graduate and connect with new supports or service agencies before they graduate from high school.
To prepare for your child’s first Transition session meeting, think about all their strengths… the things they are good at. If they need help, ask family, friends, and teachers what they think your child is good at. Make a list and bring it with them to your 1st. meeting. Also make a list of things they like to do, their interests. Most importantly, spend some time thinking about what you want your child’s day to look like the day after they graduate from high school. So write out all your goals and thoughts and bring it to the BFF Transition lesson meeting to make sure that your BFF team knows what your thoughts are about your future.
There are four steps to planning your transition from high school to adult life.
- STEP ONE: ANSWER THE QUESTION, “WHAT IS MY DAY GOING TO LOOK LIKE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?”
- STEP TWO: ASSESS HOW YOUR CHILD IS DOING RIGHT NOW?
- STEP THREE: MAKE A LIST OF WHAT YOUR CHILD COULD LEARN TO DO, OR WHAT STEPS YOU COULD TAKE TO GET CLOSER TO THESE GOALS BEFORE THEY GRADUATE.
- STEP FOUR: THINK ABOUT WHO CAN HELP YOU MEET YOUR CHILD’S
GOALS AND CONTINUE SETTING NEW ONES.
Young Adults Transitioning
Young Adults ages 18-22 and older can receive individual and group counseling. We help connect young adults to community resources for housing, medical help, insurance benefits and in-home support services. Young adults can participate in group activities, classes, support groups, volunteer opportunities and weekly outings.
We help young adults with special needs find jobs. Individuals will learn computer skills, resume preparation, and interview strategies, such as how to dress appropriately for job interviews.
Research has shown that those with high emotional intelligence have better attention skills and fewer learning problems, and are generally more successful in academic and workplace settings. We offer the following examples as a guide to help you continue to be a strong, positive influence on your child’s social and emotional growth, and to reflect your own skills in the process.
- Self-awareness is knowing yourself. It’s about knowing your emotions, strengths and challenges, and how your emotions affect your behavior.
- Self-management is knowing how to control your behaviors and moods, and setting and working toward goals.
- Social awareness is the ability to understand and respect the perspectives of others, and to apply this knowledge to interactions with people from diverse backgrounds.
- Having good relationship skills involves knowing how to establish and keep rewarding and positive relationships with friends, family and others from a wide range of backgrounds.
- Responsible decision-making involves identifying the impact of your choices on yourself and others, and using empathy, relationship skills, self and social awareness to make decisions.
These are just a few questions that BFF hears from concerned parents of kids with Special Needs. Most children with disorders are eligible to receive special education services through the school system until age 22. As a provider of services and support for children and adults living with learning disorders and their families, BFF is highlighting its services for children with Special Needs who grow up and “age out” of the school system.
BFF offers services to support adults with Special Needs as they navigate through the barriers they are likely to encounter in their day-to-day lives. These may include help finding a job, day programs, residential support to live on their own, community and recreation activities, and financial planning. Additionally, BFF works with families to identify other services in the community. We want to help young adults with Special Needs thrive in their communities.
Better Focused Friendships is addressing the needs of an aging Special Needs population. Families and providers are faced with the new challenges of preparing and transitioning students into the real world of work and community living.
BFF response to this community need is The Roadmap to Adulthood transformation and information. This helps supports families and providers in creating and following through on successful transition planning.
Transition planning creates a path for the intended outcomes for a student’s adult life post high school. Whether the student is college-bound or is going straight into employment following graduation, comprehensive planning will help the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) team, family and student reach these future goals.
YOUNG ADULTS, AGE 18+
What happens when my child is no longer in school?
Where will my child live when they no longer wants to live with me?
What is going to happen to my child when I’m unable to care for them, or not around?
These are just a few questions that BFF hears from concerned parents of kids with Special Needs. Most children with disorders are eligible to receive special education services through the school system until age 22. BFF offers services to support adults with Special Needs as they navigate through the barriers they are likely to encounter in their day-to-day lives. These may include help finding a job, day programs, residential support to live on their own, community and recreation activities, and financial planning. Additionally, BFF works with families to identify other services in the community. We want to help young adults with Special Needs thrive in their communities.
BFF YOUNG ADULTS INDIVIDUAL LESSON PLAN
1. Lesson Topic: Effective Communication
BFF believes that communication is about more than just exchanging information. It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information. Effective communication is a two-way street. It’s not only how you convey a message so that is its received and understood by someone in exactly the way you intended, it’s also how you listen to gain the full meaning of what’s being said and to make the other person feel heard and understood. This Effective communication lesson will teach your child that its more than just the words you use, effective communication combines a set of skills including nonverbal communication, engaged listening, managing stress in the moment, the ability to communicate assertively, and the capacity to recognize and understand your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with.
2. Lesson Topic: Family Support
BFF believes we are all part of a family. Young adulthood refers to people in their late teens, twenties, and thirties, single, married, divorced, or widowed; and with or without children. As In this Family lesson, they will learn that there are different kinds of families and no one structure is better than another. They discover that all types of families love and care for each other. The children will discuss their family structures. They will become familiar with the family diversity of their peers and others in the world and learn about family habits, history, and values.
3. Lesson Topic: Friendships & Dating
BFF believes that be friendly to everyone, people enjoy being around those who make them feel good about themselves. While being friendly, however, focus the most attention and affection on the person you are interested in dating so that he or she can tell that you’re interested. Paying special attention to one person will also send the signal to others that although you are friendly, you are not necessarily interested in a dating relationship. This Friendships & Dating lesson will help you distinguish the difference between Friendships & Dating. Dating as a young adult is vastly different from dating in high school or even dating in college. In this new stage in life, some young adults are already getting married and having babies while other young adults are searching for full-time work and binge-watching shows on Netflix and isn’t ready to settle down but are still going out on dates.
4. Lesson Topic: Self Sufficiently
BFF believes that teaching your children Self-Sufficiency enables them to develop the skills necessary to survive in an unpredictable world. Children who have a sense of independence and Self-Sufficiency are more likely to handle the challenges of growing up, are more likely to perform better at school and in other areas of life, and they are likely to grow into successful adults. In Self Sufficiently lesson, teaching your child to be Self-Sufficient and instilling in them a sense of personal responsibility are two of the most difficult challenges of parenting. What’s happening too often is that our kids have no idea how to self-manage. In some extreme cases, completely normal, competent children are reluctant to do for themselves things that are age-appropriate, such as sleeping alone, solving problems with their friends, and the big one, doing their homework without parental aid.
5. Lesson Topic: Time Management Skills
BFF believes that Time management for young adults matters. They have more demands on their time and attention now than ever before. Phones, friends, websites and worries… they all need to be managed. Better time management has a number of benefits for them and you… Time management” is the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high. Failing to manage your time damages your effectiveness and causes stress. This Time Management skills lesson plan will cover Life changing habits and skills for life are learned at an early age, they study, work, rest and play more effectively. BFF will help everyone in the house feels less stress, calmer and a better sense of balance. There is more time for relationships to develop and deepen and they are more independent… giving you more time
6. Lesson Topic: Social Skills
BFF believes that building good relationships with other people can greatly reduce stress and anxiety in your life. In fact, improving your social support is linked to better mental health in general, since having good friends can act as a “buffer” for feelings of anxiety and low mood. This is especially true if you are socially anxious and desperately want to make friends but are either to fearful to do so or are unsure about how to reach out to others. As a result of these anxious feelings, you may even be avoiding social situations. This Social Skills lesson will teach you that unfortunately, one of the consequences of avoiding social situations is that you never have the opportunity to: Build up your confidence interacting with others and Develop strong communication skills that would increase the chance for successful relationships.
7. Lesson Topic: Academics & College
Whether your child and their college-bound classmates are heading to a research university across the country or a small liberal arts college just up the road, it’s exciting (and potentially a bit intimidating) to think about a completely new academic environment. Accordingly, this academic/college lesson will help guide your child’s success in the next phase of their life. BFF will help them empower their Academic College and Career success. College is all about many things, preparing them for a career, transitioning from teen to adult, and establishing a love for lifelong learning. College is an opportunity for you them take charge of the direction of their life. For the first time, they are now in charge of the classes they’ll be taking, how much they’ll study, and what they’ll experience. After this lesson, they’ll be well on their way to thriving, personally and academically, in college.
8. Lesson Topic: Bullying
BFF firmly believes Bullying is wrong whatever the age of the person who is bullying you. Adults can bully children in many different ways. If an adult is doing something to your child, or trying to make them do something they do not like, but they are not sure if this is bullying, then you must talk to someone. If this is happening at college they can talk to a trusted teacher. If this is happening at home, they could talk to their parents. Please let them know do not keep it a secret. The only way to stop bullying is to talk openly about it. This Bullying lesson will help young adults understand the extent, seriousness, and dynamics of bullying. Young Adults will be able to recognize and respond early and effectively to behaviors that can lead to bullying along with learn about new effective strategies for controlling bullying. This will prepare your young adult to recognize and respond effectively to early bullying behavior. BFF will empower your child to actively intervene to prevent and stop bullying.
9. Lesson Topic: Wellness & Nutrition
BFF believes healthy eating and physical activity habits are important for your young adult’s wellbeing. The purpose of wellness and nutrition is to enhance opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity for young adults by implementing strong and comprehensive eating and wellness activities for our young adults. This lesson includes goals for nutrition education and promotion, physical activity, and other home-based activities that promote young adults wellness. This lesson provides positive messages that help young adults develop healthy eating and physical activity habits. It also provides an opportunity to practice these healthy habits.This Health and Wellness lesson includes the opportunity to make personal choices from healthy food options in the college, dining area and throughout the school, the opportunity to eat in pleasant and comfortable surroundings, and the opportunity for physical activity that is fun. By providing these messages and opportunities, lifestyle choices are being taught in different environments.
10. Lesson Topic: Vocational & Job Training
BFF knows that finding a job can be a challenge for college students. They must determine what careers are available, what their interests are, and what skills they have or need to develop. Numerous resources are available to help youth get a sense of their interest and skills as well as gain employment experience and learn about employment opportunities. This Vocational/Job training lesson will focus on a type of instrumental or topic-focused mentoring, can take a variety of forms and may focus on different pieces of career development and employment. Some examples include assisting with the following: writing resumes and cover letters; conducting mock interviews and providing support for answering interview questions; exploring possible careers and assisting with job, internship, or program searches; developing on-the-job skills (soft skills or technical skills); modeling behavior, attitudes, or skills in the workplace (job-shadowing); and career planning and goal setting.
11. Lesson Topic: Drugs & Alcohol
Using alcohol or drugs can affect young people’s general health, physical growth, and emotional and social development. It can also change how well they make decisions, how well they think, and how quickly they can react. And using alcohol or drugs can make it hard for young people to control their actions. For some young people, alcohol or drug use may turn into a substance use problem. This BFF Drug & Alcohol Lesson can play a key part in teaching young adults about alcohol and drug use by talking honestly and openly about the effects that alcohol and drugs can have on their young adult’s health, college schoolwork, and relationships.
12. Lesson Topic: Problem Solving
BFF believes that problem solving in young adults is a critical survival skill. Problem solving skills are necessary to resolve conflicts that arise on almost every day. In this Problem Solving lesson, young adults will learn that problem solving skills are necessary to solve young adults own problems, which eventually will assist them to build self-composure, as well as self-esteem and self-confidence. Problem solving skills assist young adults solve their own problems, big or small, with a sense of immense confidence. Whether you’re young adults are already attending their college or whether they live outside of the home, teaching problem solving skills will help them develop a dynamic personality and smart mind. When your young adults know to how to solve problems, they can flourish very well in their classroom by scoring better grades and marks. Furthermore, problem solving skills also help your young adults confront any type of problems or obstacles that they come across in the society.
13. Lesson Topic: Perspective Taking
BFF believes the common misconception is that life skills are picked up by children as they go through life. Although this may be the case for some life skills, sometimes it is necessary for us to take specific measures to ensure that our young adults have learned these skills and learn them well. For instance, children generally develop perspective taking as they grow older but some children are better at it than others. In this Perspective Taking lesson, in a nutshell, it is being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand what they are thinking and feeling. Individuals who are adept at perspective taking are capable of correctly interpreting what others are thinking, and what they mean from what they say and do. There are numerous benefits of perspective taking. Here are just a couple of examples and I’m sure you can extrapolate from these.
14. Lesson Topic: Self Sufficiently
BFF believes that teaching your young adults self-sufficiency enables them to develop the skills necessary to survive in an unpredictable world. Young adults who have a sense of independence and self-sufficiency are more likely to handle the challenges of adulthood, are more likely to perform better at college and in other areas of life, and they are likely to grow into successful adults. In Self Sufficiently lesson, teaching your young adult to be self-sufficient and instilling in them a sense of personal responsibility are two of the most difficult challenges of parenting. What’s happening too often is that our young adults still have no idea how to self-manage. In some extreme cases, completely normal, competent young adults are reluctant to do for themselves things that are age-appropriate, such as managing their money, solving problems with their friends, and having a good work ethic.
15. Lesson Topic: Practical Money
This BFF lesson on practical money skills will teach young adults how to Make Change, How to Balance a Checkbook and How to Pay Bills and How to Create a Budget. Young adults might be new to budgeting, it’s important to understand what a budget is and how it helps you examine what you earn and how you are spending that income. A budget is a financial plan that takes income and expenses into account and provides estimates for how much you make and spend over a given period of time.
16. Lesson Topic: Decision Making
BFF believes that some significant decisions are made during our young adult years that will substantially shape the direction and course of one’s life. It’s important that young adults have people in their lives to encourage them as they make these life-altering decisions. This Decision making lesson will lead young adults, to have the opportunity to be a voice and an encouragement to make decisions with thought and integrity. Decisions about school, jobs, relationships, and finances all seem to elevate to a new level during our young adult years.
17. Lesson Topic: Social Media
BFF believes it is important for us to be proactive about internet safety. Kids are making new friends and adding those friends on social network sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Unfortunately, there are people who can use your child’s personal information to steal identities, bully them or begin an inappropriate relationship. This social media lesson will help protect students from online dangers. There are plenty of good things about social media, but also many potential dangers and things that you want your kids and teens to avoid. Kids don’t always make the smartest choices when they post something to a site like Facebook or YouTube, and sometimes this can lead to problems. So this Social Media lesson will teach children how to use social media wisely.
18. Lesson Topic: Sexual Health
BFF believes in being an essential role in promoting the sexual health of teens and addressing the sexual health of teens in a positive, affirming, and healthy way. This Sexual Health lesson will go over the stages of sexual development, contraception, and emergency contraception and encourage them to talk about their experiences or ask questions. These are important decisions and are worth talking about with your Therapist and adults who care about you, including your doctor.
19. Lesson Topic: Responsibility
BFF believes that What’s most important is moving young adults from dependence to independence, as well as providing experiences where young adults efforts contribute to someone else, or the family as a whole, and then for those outside young adults and their family. Eventually, your young adult can provide for his or her own needs, and recognizes the necessity of their own effort to make his way in the world. In this Responsibility lesson, BFF will find ways to teach young adults a sense of responsibility is one of the best characteristics you can develop in your young adult. Responsibility is a lifelong skill that you can teach to your young adult, beginning now! Your young adult can become better armed at making decisions, learn control and grow as you want them to, as a person who does tasks without being asked.
20. Lesson Topic: Leisure Education
Our Leisure Education Lesson is designed to prepare children for optimum independent participation in appropriate leisure activities, including teaching the social skills necessary to engage in leisure activities and developing awareness of personal and community leisure resources. This lesson will include, Leisure Awareness, Leisure Resources, Leisure Communication Skills and Leisure Planning.
Finding a Job
Finding a job is a critical first step towards self-determination and financial independence for adults with Special Needs. BFF professionals help adults with Special Needs assess their skills, identify employment goals, and provide training to meet personal goals. BFF also works with businesses to provide resources for employers to support workforce development.
BFF continues to focus on helping members learn to identify and exhibit socially appropriate behaviors in areas including (but not limited to) conflict resolution, self-advocacy and self-expression, peer relationships, dating, and internet behavior. We also work on learning pro-social coping skills to help members successfully deal with many of the inherent challenges that face this age-group. The curriculum is adapted each week based on the current needs and experiences of the members.
Parent Education and Support Component
BFF believes in the importance and effectiveness of a “whole family” approach. Parents meet alongside our Social Skills lessons and we provide parents with ongoing support and strategies to assist their child in social situations, manage difficult behaviors, and navigate successfully though developmental stages. The parent curriculum includes articles, books, and videos on general parenting issues, as well as those relevant to Special Needs. We recognize the stress on parents and families. The parent curriculum, while being skill based, presents an evidence based mindfulness component.
Therapeutic Recreation group focuses on
Treatment activities such as Anger Management, Coping Skills, Stress Management, and Frustration Tolerance. BFF provides a safe, supportive and secure home environment for children to address any issue that leads children to act out their anger/aggression in unacceptable ways. BFF assist children to express their anger/aggression in ways which do not sabotage their personal or professional relationships. We attempt to instruct children to replace their anger/aggression response with being assertive.
The time after school can be a tough time of the day for kids and teens with learning and social disorders. Whether getting homework done, being productively engaged instead of self-stimming, or just blowing off steam and releasing excess energy, extracurricular activities can be key in helping your child learn important life skills while having fun doing an activity he or she enjoys.
Roadmap to Adulthood Project
Better Focused Friendships is addressing the needs of an aging Special Needs population. Families and providers are faced with the new challenges of preparing and transitioning students into the real world of work and community living. BFF response to this community need is The Roadmap to Adulthood transformation and information. This helps supports families and providers in creating and following through on successful transition planning.
Transition planning creates a path for the intended outcomes for a student’s adult life post-high school. Whether the student is college-bound or is going straight into employment following graduation, comprehensive planning will help the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) team, family and student reach these future goals.