All Kinds of News for November 08, 2017
Acquiring a greater sense of agency — the capacity of individuals to act independently and make their own free choices — is key to becoming an adult. Society holds young adults responsible for their actions regardless of the difficulties, disabilities or impairments with which they may have struggled. It is therefore incumbent upon the professionals who work with young adults to help them learn the skills to meet these challenges.
It can be difficult for professionals and parents to accurately assess the degree to which an individual can participate in the decision-making process. This assessment is key to everything from choosing the intensity and urgency of interventions to offering options for colleges and transition programs. In order to facilitate this process, the EDGE team diligently accumulates observations and data on each student's functioning. This allows parents and other professionals to operate from a position of knowledge and insight as they collaborate with the student to plan for the future.
Hope is a fundamental element, and when those working with a young adult (parents, therapists, consultants, educators) limit one's agency in a way that is based more on caregiver anxiety than careful assessment, it can curtail hope for a more positive future. Similarly, failing to provide enough support and structure to a struggling young adult can increase the student's anxiety and lead to life-altering consequences. The EDGE team helps young adults recognize how they can expand their options in life. The students learn to identify ways in which their lives become smaller when crippled by limiting thoughts, impulsive behaviors, and irresponsible or careless decisions. They also learn effective communication methods to describe their hopes, goals, needs, and preferences to their parents and other adults in their lives.
The philosophical foundation for this coaching is the belief that every person can live a better life through effective use of resources and a commitment to wellness. It is essential to help students learn how to be interdependent in a challenging world and create a process in which they can invest in order to create an environment that can lead to meaningful and lasting changes.
Recently, EDGE had the opportunity to attend the Young Adult Transition Association conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. EDGE Executive Director Jason Wynkoop participated in a panel discussion focused on inclusion of the young adult in the transition planning process. Educational consultants, representatives of wilderness programs, and therapists and staff of transition programs all shared diverse viewpoints.
"Several observations were made about how the struggling young adult is someone who, at times, needs to be led and directed, but then is also expected to develop skills and embrace the opportunity for change while being presented with few reasons to do so,” said Wynkoop. “Once we establish that the student is safe, the new imperative is to elicit buy-in and to increase the student's agency as much as possible based on his or her ability. Missing the opportunity to help the young adult understand why only certain options are on the table and how they can live in a world with more choices keeps that person 'stuck' in the very cycle that intervention sought to break. Having our Therapeutic Life Coaches working from a developmental framework makes sure we are always teaching and opening new options to students."
For more information on EDGE’s approach to supporting students toward greater autonomy in an interdependent world, visit edgelearningcommunity.com/approach/the-edge-advantage/.
About EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community
EDGE Learning and Wellness Collegiate Community is an accredited transitional living program located in Chicago, IL. EDGE offers therapeutically supported residential and non-residential options for post-treatment young adults. The participants, ages 18 -24, are striving to excel academically, while creating a life of balance, joy and wellness.