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How to Empower Your Loved Ones with Disabilities

Many families ask us what they can do to prepare their loved one for life at The Baddour Center or in some cases, how to create similar life experiences at home. While the experience of living in a community of peers independently from family can’t be replicated, there are ways to ensure your loved one is growing in autonomy, confidence, and building life skills that will help them in all areas of their lives - both at home and in a community for adults with disabilities. Let’s talk about how to foster empowerment for your loved one.

Jobs for Individuals with Disabilities

Many individuals with disabilities are gainfully employed. At The Baddour Center, we have the philosophy that through excellent employment opportunities and training, individuals with disabilities provide excellent service to customers. Individuals enjoy earning a paycheck, leaving their house on a routine schedule, being productive, and the pleasure of working alongside their coworkers.

The 2020 Annual Report on People with Disabilities in America from the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability noted that in 2019, the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities, not limited to IDD, was 38.9 percent. In contrast, the employment-to-population ratio of people without disabilities was 78.6 percent, slightly more than double that of people with disabilities.

When you empower individuals with disabilities with the proper training, they can realize their vocational potential, strengths, and limitations. This results in greater freedom to make vocational choices, making it possible to have the ability to make a decision regarding their work, instead of an assignment. It is important to find a vocation that fits the skills, personality, and capacities of the individual to help them thrive in their workplace.

With work comes a paycheck. Baddour residents receive compensation for all jobs that are set in accordance with the U.S. Department of Labor and either meet or exceed established guidelines. This allows individuals to have their own savings and the ability to make financial decisions. 

Expressions of Creativity in Adults with Disabilities

Everyone is creative - whether they express that through art, music, writing, dance, or problem-solving. People with disabilities need to navigate their day-to-day lives, but many have fewer resources with which to find solutions and solve problems. Exploring their creative side allows them to experiment with something they once thought they were not capable of, helping them develop their problem-solving skills.

Allowing people with developmental disabilities to grow in their creativity, with no judgment or competition, equips them with confidence in their talents and abilities. Fortunately, they often fear failure less and are quick to support peers in their creative endeavors. 

There are many ways to promote creativity. At The Baddour Center, we believe in the benefits of play. Having fun, building friendships, and taking part in spiritual, educational, and social activities are an integral part of the Baddour Center experience. The Community Life Division plays a key role in residents’ lives and is made up of programs through which residents have opportunities to enhance their social skills, be part of a team, and develop their talents in the expressive arts.

We also recommend at-home, hands-on arts and crafts projects to help stimulate the mind. We love these projects for rainy days.

Respect Persons’ Decisions

Like any of us, individuals with disabilities want to feel heard and respected. They need to view themselves as people who are valuable and deserving of respect. Caregivers can guide individuals to make decisions, involve them, and take their opinions into account. When there is a discussion involving a choice, whether it be their environment, leisure, activities, or vocation, include them in the discussion.

Sometimes it may take an invitation to involve them in a discussion; however, it is important to remind them not only to share their opinions but that you take their opinions seriously.

This empowers persons to not only know that they are valued by you but also equips them with the confidence for future scenarios where they need to make a decision for themselves.

The professionals at Baddour Center value each individual’s opinions and voice. We work with each resident to determine their preferences and adjust our support accordingly. 

Education for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Education is widely considered a pathway to independent living. The economics literature consistently finds about a 10 percent increase in wages/salary for each additional year of education. In 2019, 16.4 percent of young adults with disabilities had not attained a high school diploma, compared to 7.3 percent of their peers without disabilities, reflecting a less-than-high-school gap of 9.0 percentage points. 

It is critical that adults with developmental disabilities are given the opportunity to have an education that equips them to thrive outside of the classroom. Knowing that they have completed their education can empower them to be confident in their daily tasks as well as thrive inside of a classroom. 

At The Baddour Center, the Education and Behavioral Supports (EBS) division ensures that Baddour Center staff members have the skills and tools to meet the mission of providing model services in the areas of education, behavior support, and psychological services. The EBS Division is home to the SAIL (Skills for Achieving Independent Living) Program, which provides both classroom instruction and training in natural settings.

The skills taught include functional academics (i.e., reading, writing, money skills, basic math, etc.), social skills, self-care, home-making, cooking, computer skills, work skills, etc. To make sure these skills transfer into their homes and places of work, in the afternoons, SAIL staff members accompany residents into their homes and community. 

Empowering individuals with disabilities involves equipping them with education, fostering their creativity, respecting their opinions and decisions, and finding a vocation that utilizes their skills. Our extensive programs and services provide each individual with a sense of well-being and belonging. To learn more about how we help improve the quality of life for adults with intellectual disabilities, contact us today to schedule a tour.