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 showed that often-young people (usually between 16 and 22) would 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 workers mood may have decreased and their personal presentation standards, and fitness would often have significantly diminished. Through speaking with the workers, their  employers, client’s support workers this could be directly related to the move into their own home and away from the close support this had provided.

WHR Allied Health has developed a program, The Independent Young Person, to work with clients in ensuring that this major move to independence in housing does not mean that other areas of their lives are negatively impacted. All our Independent Young Person supports are facilitated by one of our OT’s. We start at the beginning, working through the goals and ideas that the clients have for themselves, and 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. It 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 clients initial goals and have them create 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 that they have in their home. Group sessions can be arranged (Disability Services, High Schools, Youth Groups) however these will focus more on theory rather 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 (laundry, kitchen, bathroom will all need to be accessed)

Depending on the previous experience, learning capacity, and engagement of the client, The Independent Young Person interventions can be a one-off block assessment of 4 hours, through to ongoing weekly engagement typically supported with one of our Therapy Assistants, until 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 that may have lacked support in these areas in the family home as well as any others that could benefit from a bit of a freshen up on their domestic skills.

Skills Sessions Include

  • Bathroom Management
    • Cleaning the shower, basin, bath, toilet, toilet brush, that little bin, basic dental hygiene.
  • Bedroom Management
    • Changing the linen, making the bed.
  • Kitchen Management
    • What pan? burnt pots, kitchen dangers, cleaning the cleaners, labelling.
  • Laundry Management
    • What detergent 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 clients demonstrating a level of independence in tasks at the completion of the course, but also by follow up reviews with the client self-assessing 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.