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Life Skills are NOT Learned in a Day Program

March 20, 2021

Here’s how you teach your loved one with developmental disability life skills easier and faster than ever before…

By following these three (3) steps, you’ll help your loved one prepare for more independence:

1. We Need To Change As Caregivers: In order for our loved one to develop life skills, they need the opportunities to practice. This requires a change in our mindset as a caregiver and a change in how things are done in your household.

2. Life Skills Are NOT Learned in a Day Program: Day programs, teachers, and paid supporters often fail at teaching your loved one life skills because they aren’t taught and used in a real environment, like at home!

3. Provide Real Opportunities to Learn: A better way to support our loved one to learn life skills is to give them real opportunities, in real environments with the right level of coaching.

Curious to know more about these strategies? Check out the video below where I went deeper into each point, sharing insights and examples that can really help your family. Click below to watch now, or read the transcript below.

P.S. Looking for more strategies to nurture your loved one’s independence? Download my free “7 Strategies for More Independence” guide.

Download My Free Independence Guide

Written Transcript of the Video:

Hi there, I’m Eric Goll, and today I want to talk to you about a better way to support your loved one with a developmental disability to learn life skills—or what we might call independence. What I’ve realized, working with families (including my own), is that just by changing the way we think, we can make a lot of progress in supporting our loved ones quickly.

Some of you may have joined the free ‘Life Plan’ workshop that I ran just before that course. One of the insights that hit me during that time was around changing our thinking and focus, which I discuss in both the free workshop and the course.

I talk about an ‘inner and outer’ model. Let me explain it quickly for you because I think it’ll be helpful. There are two areas where we can focus—on the outer things (tools, resources, best practices, supports, finances, funding, etc.) and the inside things (our fears, mindsets, attitudes, beliefs, and thinking). As family members, we often focus on the outside stuff, but the key is, if we don’t focus on the inside stuff, on ourselves and how we think about life skills and independence, our loved one can’t make progress.

So, how do we often try to support our loved ones in learning life skills? We look at the outside stuff—programs, teachers, and support. But the challenge is, even if our loved ones go through these programs, it doesn’t often translate into much because of the inner work we need to do as family members.

For example, if our loved one learns how to cook in a program but doesn’t get the chance to practice at home, real progress won’t happen. This requires us to change our thinking and provide opportunities for our loved ones to practice at home, changing our patterns.

Here’s an insight: a better way to support our loved ones is to give them real opportunities, focusing on the inner work. We need to shift from the outer to the inner, working through our fears and providing real opportunities for our loved ones.

Progress, not perfection, is crucial. No program or outer thing can change this—it’s all about how we think as family members. Independence for our loved ones starts with us. We need to internalize it, not externalize it.

If you found these strategies helpful, consider subscribing to my channel for more valuable resources. Additionally, for those seeking further guidance on fostering independence in their loved ones, check out my “7 Strategies for More Independence” PDF guide. I’m Eric Goll, and together, let’s take a small step forward toward an awesome, ordinary life.

  • Thank you Eric. We’ve found this to be true, after supporting our Son as he lives independently. His independence skills have really grown. It was so fun to hear his comments as he spent each Friday night doing his own laundry! Keep reminding us! Patricia

  • Watch, will surely like more Video of this kind would like to teach my daughter cooking, laundry, not much enthusiasm.

  • Thanks Eric. Yes I welcome more videos. I enjoy listening to your calm voice and it helps to put things into perspective – how simple we can make things just by changing our way of thinking and giving opportunities. Small steps, small steps.

  • Thank you for doing that video. I definitely would like to see more videos like this one. Take away today was to change MY way of thinking: progress not perfection. So, my 22 yo son does know how to do laundry, yet every week I feel like I am “dragging” him through the process. I need to know how to motivate him and get him to do this life skill on his own! He just started working 12 hours a week (3 days) and that seems to take a lot out of him. At the same time, he needs clean clothes and to change his bed regularly! I know I need to change my thought process that it is easier for me to do it myself rather than argue about it, but if only that argument would end once and for all! Thank you, Eric!

  • Please more videos on this topic. What we find is that we can engage our son in the concept of learning the skills or performing the skills but he doesn’t really engage when it comes time to learn something or to carry out a skill in a timely fashion. Maybe something on setting reasonable expectations?

  • These videos are wonderful! I can not afford the program but any advice from you is welcome to help support my son to become independent and have the best possible life he can have! Thank you!!

  • Yes please to more videos like this Eric! This is really confirming to the changes we’ve made in thinking with our son on learning life skills. Most of us do think they’ll just learn them in a class or by osmosis somehow, but when we noticed that it wasn’t translating over time we made a concerted effort to teach more things at home. And now I have more time because the upfront investment in teaching skills at home has paid off in his now doing his own laundry, keeping room tidy, bathroom (work in progress :), making his own breakfast and lunch. Since covid his support person comes into our home, and is also part of the teaching team. This switch from being out in the community all the time to focussing on in-home skills has really paid off in a relatively short amount of time!

  • Hi Eric…even though we are still working through the last PMF course, I find your short videos very valuable to remind us of key points to helping our son, our loved one, moving forward and making progress…and how it starts with our own mindset! Thanks so much for the reminder for each of us to keep working on our ‘inner work’! Please keep up the great work!

  • For years I did everything because it seemed easier than
    taking the time to teach how to do things. Now I can see we ought to have let our child do things at her own pace and now she would be much more capable. Her sister always said things weren’t fair so she wouldn’t do anything. If both had been trying the same task at the same time they each would have learned things at their own speed and I probably wouldn’t be as burnt out as I am now. Since starting your course I am definitely working on “wins” now. I even find her
    sib is helping me to teach her the life skills she needs and we are finding she is very capable.

  • I really like this perspective! I am a parent myself and I also work with other families with a loved one with a disability. I’ll be sharing this insight with them as well as reminding myself 🙂

  • Thanks Eric, fantastic and timely reminder – video was a great “reset” especially in current times as we have been and continue to deal with many unexpected adjustments. More videos like this would be tremendously helpful.

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