Independent Young Person

About the program

Over the years of completing various disability employment related assessments, it became apparent that there was an existing gap for domestic education/training for young people transitioning from their family/supported home into independent living or sharing a house with housemates. Empirical research shows that, often, young people (usually between 16 and 22) obtain a job, start to experience an increased level of independence with their finances and other activities of daily living, and then take the next logical step of moving away from the highly supportive family home into their own home. Unfortunately, 6-12 months down the track, the worker’s mood may decrease and their personal presentation standards and fitness may significantly diminish. Discussions with these young people, their employers and their support workers suggest that this could be directly related to the move into their own home and away from close support.

WHR Allied Health has developed a program, The Independent Young Person, to work with clients to ensure that this major move to independence in housing does not mean that other areas of their lives are negatively impacted. All of our Independent Young Person supports are facilitated by one of our OTs. We start by working through the goals and ideas that the clients have for support plan and determine how these can be positively/negatively impacted by the transition into their own home. We identify the client’s current level of domestic/household management experience and skills and use this as a baseline for their program, working with the client to develop these skills. The Independent Young Person program can be completed in anticipation of a move or once the move has already occurred.

Finally, we relate the newly obtained skills directly back to the client’s initial goals and have them identify the link between the impact of one on the other. Individual sessions are always held in the client’s home to ensure appropriate use of the equipment they have in their home. Group sessions can be arranged (for Disability Services, High Schools or Youth Groups for example). However, these sessions will focus more on theory than site specific practical tasks. Small groups (no more than 3 people) can be arranged, provided that at least one of the clients is happy to allow the other members of the group into their home. The laundry, kitchen and bathroom will all need to be accessed.

Depending on the previous experience, learning capacity and engagement of the client, Independent Young Person interventions may comprise a one-off block assessment of 4 hours, followed by ongoing weekly engagement with one of our therapy assistants. The goal of the program is to ensure the client feels confident with the skills they have learned and have demonstrated a capacity to complete the skills independently. By the end of the program, clients will have accumulated various customised resources that they will be able to refer to as required.

We work with a broad range of clients, including those living with disability, those who have housing security issues or are homeless, those who may lack support in the aforementioned areas in the family home, as well as any others who could benefit from a review of their domestic skills.

Skills Sessions Include

  • Bathroom Management
    • Cleaning the shower, basin, bath, toilet, toilet brush, bin, basic dental hygiene.
  • Bedroom Management
    • Changing the linen, making the bed.
  • Kitchen Management
    • Which pan? Burnt pots, kitchen dangers, cleaning the cleaners, labelling.
  • Laundry Management
    • Which detergent and when? Cleaning the cleaners, sorting and washing, following labels.
  • General Household Management
    • Cleaning windows, vacuuming, mopping, door/window frames, seasonal cleaning tasks, keeping the landlord happy, dangers of cleaning products.
  • Yard Management
    • Taking care of the garden, mowing/whipper snipping, refuelling, growing your own, composting your waste, reporting issues to the real estate.
  • Cooking / Nutrition Management
    • Cooking skills, basic meal preparation, special meal preparation, how to find recipes, importance of understanding what a balanced diet is, portioning, using the freezer, using the microwave, food safety.
  • Shopping and Budgeting
    • Shopping online, organic/imported/local what does it all mean for me? Working with a budget, planning meals for the week.
  • Pet Management
    • Food for pets, saving for the vet for check ups, keeping your pets fit.
  • Social Situations
    • Nervous is normal, what do I say? Keeping some things to myself, Is this a date? Respecting choices.

Program Success

The success of the program is not only measured by demonstration of a level of independence in tasks at the completion of the course but also through follow up reviews with the client and self-assessment of their independence. It is understood that the positive impacts of the course will extend to increased levels of self-esteem through the process of achievement and the experience of skill development.

Please note that whilst this program is specifically targeted at young people (16-25), we are open to providing this education and training to others by request.