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Motivating Your Loved One with Disability and Overcoming Learned Helplessness

February 23, 2024

Your loved one with a disability can likely achieve more than you think.

However, the transition was not so smooth.

Picture this: During our first week together, Sarah would enter the kitchen in the morning and expect me to make her breakfast, and that was just the start.

I felt frustrated that she expected me to do everything for her.

Initially, Sarah showed signs of being unmotivated, especially when it came to tasks that she could do.

At first, I attributed it to laziness, but I soon realized it was something much deeper.

Sarah had developed learned helplessness; a belief that she could NOT do things on her own because others had always done them for her.

This was our story, and realizing this, I decided to change my approach.

Instead of dictating tasks, I empowered Sarah by involving her in decision-making and coaching her through the process. By providing choices and coaching, Sarah started to gain confidence and motivation.

Watch the video to learn more including strategies you can use with your loved one to overcome learned helplessness.

This simple shift in perspective and approach transformed her outlook on independence.

Today, Sarah lives in her own apartment, confidently handling her daily routines and tasks.


These two (2) strategies were instrumental in helping Sarah overcome learned helplessness:

  1. Provide Choices: Instead of telling your loved one what to do, involve them in decision-making. Offer options and encourage them to choose. This is key to building some internal motivation.
  2. Coach Through Tasks: Rather than doing things for your loved one, coach them through tasks. Break down activities into manageable steps and offer guidance and support.

    I invite you to try on these two strategies with your loved one. To learn more on helping your loved one build their capability and prepare for independence tap the link to get your free copy of my Life Planning 101 guide.


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