Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Go To A Transition Workshop
1. Information. As with every conference or workshop I have attended there is tons of information. Just when you think you have learned about every resource in your county you find out there is more, maybe even just what you need. At the transition workshop I went to I learned about workshops that were focused on transition. My oldest child is 17. He is transitioning into adulthood soon but is currently only a sophomore in high school. It had not occurred to me to start looking for resources early as I still have several years left before he graduates from high school. I am glad I went to this workshop because it made me realize there are many things I need to think about. I was given tons of information to go through and learn about what independent skills he may need, ways to get and manage those skills, and even contacts for when I need them.
2. Hope. All around me I heard stories about success in the world no matter what the disability may be. I heard from professionals and other parents who have been there before. I was given a very cool booklet about Iowa’s self-employment stars. We saw a video about a few of the people with disabilities who started their own businesses and were very successful. I left feeling confident and comfortable that there could be a wonderful meaningful future for my 3 children who all have disabilities.
3. Networking with professionals. I know this is obvious but it is so very important. I met several professionals from various places who came not to sell anything but because they really want to help kids with disabilities becoming adults be valuable parts of society. They come hoping to give us information and maybe even help us get a new service like I found a 2 week long course teaching my son the value of work, teaching him things about being on time, transportation, taxes, relationship building, how to handle bosses and so much more which I even got to apply for a scholarship for!
4. Ideas. I thought I knew everything. I thought I knew how to help my children transition. Wrong! I learned all about things that inspired me to change my thinking about my younger children and gave me ideas to help them even while they are in middle school.
5. Transition starts earlier than you think. I never knew that I was preparing my now 11 year old for her transition to adulthood. I never knew that giving her a savings account, making her do chores, helping her join clubs she loves or even buying her toys could help her so much later. I wish I knew everything I learned from the workshop I went to before my children were old enough to talk and walk. If I knew I would have started chores, bank accounts, trips to places to learn, and so much more earlier! Every step of the way the things I do will help the kids come to learn what the employment experts called soft skills. Soft skills are things we all need to know and should learn while growing up. Not all kids learn them and it can cause problems later.
6. Learn to think outside the Box. The successful business owners showed me that any hobby or fun thing my child loves could turn into a job that could sustain them for life. I saw chicken coop owners, flower shops, restaurants, and even paid researchers! Maybe your child loves animals or can paint or loves libraries, so you need to get out there and learn about those businesses
7. Learn more about soft skills and ideas on how to teach them. Going back to the soft skills lessons. I never really thought much about the chores my kids do, the volunteer work I make them do or even the money they get for their birthdays and the connection to working. Learning to get up on their own is a skill. Paying a bill is a skill. Communicating with other people is a skill. There are so many things we learn as a child that help us when we join the workforce. Attending this conference made me realize where I need to work more on helping my kids get the skills they need so they are ready. There are things I can do and am doing to help them. I have a lot of influence on their future, so I need to learn what I should be teaching them.
8. Networking with other parents. I never feel more empowered and in control than when I meet with other parents and get a chance to share a successful story. Sharing my stories with others helps me to feel more capable of handling whatever comes in the future. I also love hearing what other parents have done as it gives me ideas. Plus in this environment less people judge and more people understand. It is often said that you cannot understand someone until you stand in their shoes. At this kind of workshop the people have usually gotten as close as they can to my shoe size! Every person and every story is a little different but it all has some basic things that are similar which can help so much!
9. Help with getting organized. During the workshop I went to I received a really nice file that included space to put things in pockets for future use so I can find them easily. I have learned the hard way everything needs to be organized so when I need it I can find it. I now organize all my kids’ medical information, important information, school things and more in a organizer. This file folder allows me to get ready for the meetings I know are coming!
10. Resources. I am sure I don’t have to explain this but will anyway. Have you ever wondered if your area has something someone else has mentioned? I always gather tons of informational brochures, flyers and even applications to programs. I usually look at it all later when I have time. I also like to file it for the future so when I need it I can find a program or a business card to use it for my child or to give to a friend. You can never have too many! If there is one thing I learned in my journey, you never have too many resources!