Transitioning from school to the next phase of life can be challenging for any young person, but it requires additional considerations and support when the individual has autism and an intellectual disability. We share the story of Tyler, a twenty-one-year-old with unique needs, and his family’s journey in planning for his future. With the help of dedicated professionals and a personalised approach, they have found a way to navigate this life transition and ensure Tyler’s wellbeing and integration into their lives while maintaining a sense of flexibility.
Tyler relaxing at home with his colourful fidget ball.
Tyler’s Background and Characteristics
Tyler lives with his parents, Lee and Willie, and has a close bond with his older sister and his grandparents. Lee describes Tyler as a happy and curious young man who enjoys observing people and requires a safe environment. He has a preference for noise and physical activity, occasionally experiencing sleep challenges. Being non-verbal adds an additional layer of complexity to understanding Tyler’s needs and preferences.
The Importance of Communication and Safety
Understanding Tyler’s communication needs was a vital aspect of the family’s future planning. With their son’s safety being a priority, Lee and Willie needed to factor in ways to ensure Tyler’s wellbeing as they age. They also wanted Tyler to remain a part of the family while allowing themselves the freedom to pursue their own activities.
The Vision for Tyler’s Future
Tyler’s family eagerly anticipates the blossoming relationship between Tyler and his baby nephew. Establishing routines and safety measures with new caregivers will require time and effort. Once the foundation is set, the family plans to build connections within the community for Tyler. They also hope to enhance Tyler’s communication abilities through the assistance of TalkLink Trust and the use of a communication device.
Creating a Supportive Living Environment
Lee and Willie were able to secure a one-bedroom unit on their property to provide Tyler with a dedicated living space. With the help of Hayley, a community facilitator from Your Way | Kia Roha, they explored different supports and funding options. They combined Individualised Funding with three days a week of CCS Disability Action support, leveraging the flexibility of their arrangements. One of Tyler’s former teacher aides became one of his carers, ensuring a familiar connection.
Advice for Families on a Similar Journey
Lee and Willie emphasise the importance of seeking help and support from others on this journey. They acknowledge the significance of entrusting reliable and dedicated individuals who genuinely care about their child’s wellbeing. They encourage families to find approaches that work best for their unique young person, rejecting solutions that do not align with their child’s needs.
Tyler’s transition into the next stage of life is a testament to the power of careful planning, personalised support, and a strong family network. By recognising Tyler’s individuality, communicating effectively, and seeking the right assistance, his family has created a living arrangement that meets his needs while offering the flexibility they desire. Their story serves as an inspiration for other families navigating similar journeys, emphasizing the importance of advocating for their child’s best interests and embracing the right people to help shape their child’s future.
If you or a family member are navigating life transitions, A Tō Oranga Pai | Living Well Plan can help you to set goals and plan for the future.