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Housing: Starting the Journey

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Housing: Starting the Journey

Will you be ready when the time comes for your son or daughter to move to a place of their own? Most parents aren’t sure how to begin planning for this transition, but this video will help you get started. Viewers will receive an overview of the housing and services options that are available and the person-centered planning concepts to help your son or daughter develop their vision for independent living, housing, and services.

  • Duration: 5 minutes
  • Date Posted: 9/8/2014
  • Topics: Housing, Person-Centered Planning, Independent Living


Will you be ready when it's time for your son or daughter with a disability to move to a place of their own? The time to start planning is now.

Hi, my name is Susan Shimota, and I'm the housing project coordinator here at PACER center.

PACER is a Minnesota nonprofit organization and a national parent center that provides information, training, and assistance to parents of children and young adults with all disabilities.

I have a 25-year-old son with autism spectrum disorder and a mental health disability.

If you have a child with a disability who is 14 or older, it's important to start thinking about housing now.

I'd like to talk to you for a few minutes about two housing-related points you need to know.

First, why is it important to start thinking about housing now? And second, what is person-centered thinking and planning? First, why is it important to start thinking about housing now? Most parents expect their kids to grow up and move out of the house.

For parents of children with disabilities, the young adult's transition into a place of their own usually takes more thinking and planning.

We recognize that every child has different abilities and needs for support and that most parents have to be involved in that process.

We also believe that starting early will lead to better outcomes for your son or daughter.

This leads me to my second point; what is person-centered thinking and planning? One of the first steps in person-centered thinking, which starts before person-centered planning, is to consider where your son or daughter might want to live on their own.

For example, you might think your daughter would like to have a roommate and live within walking distance of a library and a park.

Notice that I didn't ask you what type of housing you want your daughter to live in, but rather what type of housing you think she would want to live in.

This is person-centered thinking.

Then you might want to have a casual conversation with your son or daughter and ask the same question.

When you grow up, where do you think you would like to live and work? Talk to them about the places they like to go, the activities they like to do, and the people they like to be with.

These questions encourage person-centered thinking.

I'd suggest that you revisit that subject with your son or daughter on multiple occasions and you could also have discussions with relatives and friends if they are not able to actively participate.

The important thing is now to shift your thinking and put your son or daughter in the driver's seat, so that they are at the center of the planning process.

That's where the term person-centered planning comes from.

Person-centered planning is a process that is driven by the unique likes and dislikes of the person and his or her family.

What are your son or daughter's unique hopes and dreams? What is important to him or her? I had a parent tell me recently that her son was determined to live downtown so it was convenient for him to attend sporting events.

Although the parents were concerned about safety and supports downtown, they were exploring the possibilities for him.

I also spoke to a young adult named Joe, who told me that he and his friend Steve wanted to rent an apartment together.

One of the most important things to them was being near a coffee shop.

This might not be at the top of your list or mind, but for Joe and Steve this was important and that is what really matters.

Not only is this person-centered approach a more positive way to plan for your young adult's future, it is also supported by law.

So to recap, when thinking about housing for your son or daughter, first start the conversation now and second, ask questions that encourage person-centered thinking with your son or daughter.

It is an exciting time and we encourage you to move forward with these important first steps.

I also encourage you to visit our website at pacer.

org/housing or call us at 952-838-9000.

You will find helpful information there, wherever you are in the housing journey.

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