Skills for adulthood
As you get older, you need to know how to keep yourself safe and live more independently. This page gives you information about developing those skills.
The Preparing for Adulthood Toolkit can help you make plans for the transition into adulthood.
- Keeping myself safeIndependent living
It is important that you look out for your own safety, as well as looking out for friends and family. You can keep yourself and your friends safe by following some simple advice. For more information about staying safe as an adult (when you are 18 or over), contact Care Direct.
Use this guide, produced by the home Office, to help you to keep safe, and remember these tips:
- When you’re out with friends, always stick together.
- Always tell a parent or carer where you are going.
- Tell someone you trust if another person is making you feel scared or unhappy, even if the person who is making you feel unhappy is someone who is part of your family.
- Report any suspicious behaviour to a trusted person.
- Don’t take shortcuts, always stick to your normal safe routes.
- Only give trusted friends your personal details.
- Never accept a gift from someone you don’t know.
- Never get in the car with a stranger.
Sometimes, people with learning disabilities have so-called ‘friends’ who may exploit them. When someone pretends to be your friend but treats you badly, this is called Mate Crime. You can report this to the police.
The Barnado’s app – Wud U? gives advice and guidance on how to avoid being sexually exploited and stay safe.
How do I deal with emergencies?
Depending on how independently you are living, you will need to know how to respond and deal with emergencies or how to contact someone for help.
- Always tell someone who is close to you where you are and where you are going.
- Try and remain calm – it really helps in an emergency.
- In an emergency, where life is in danger, people are injured, offenders are nearby or if immediate action is required, call 999.
Staying safe online
Lots of young people use the Internet. It can be a fun thing to do but there are dangers that you need to be aware of to keep you and your friends safe from harm. You can find out more about how to stay safe by visiting the Devon Safeguarding Children’s Board website or using this guide to staying safe online produced by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.Social and community skills
How do I manage living independently?
Depending on how independently you are living you may need someone to help you manage your living accommodation. You will need to learn skills of daily living, such as keeping yourself safe within your home, managing bills, planning your meals and organising your household chores.
If you are 16 or over you might be entitled to claim benefits and allowances in your own right. For eligibility and application process please see the links below:
- Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Personal Independence Payments (PIPs)
- Working Tax Credits
If you are unable to manage your benefits someone can become an appointee on your behalf.Setting goals
How do I access transport?
Devon offers an Access Wallet which helps people with communication difficulties or disabilities to access transport. The access wallet does not give you free or discounted travel. If you are over 60 or disabled you may be entitled to free bus travel in Devon with a National Bus Pass.
Disabilities which qualify someone for a National Bus Pass are those which are considered permanent, or which are likely to last at least 12 months. Such disabilities should have a substantial effect on the applicant’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
There are seven disability categories:
- Blind or partially sighted
- Profoundly or severely deaf
- Without speech
- Severe difficulty in walking
- Without arms or has a long-term loss of the use of both arms
- Learning Disability
- Unfit to hold a driving licence.
How can I join in with leisure and social activities?
You can use Pinpoint to find out about social groups in your local area. There are a range of youth services and community facilities which you can access and will support young people with different needs.
Devon Voluntary Action (DeVA) can help you to volunteer locally. DeVA want to make becoming a volunteer as easy as possible for everyone, no matter who you are, what your age or background is or where you come from.
What help can I get to access social opportunities?
A Personal Assistant (PA) is someone employed to help a person live independently and achieve the activities they want to do. Devon Choice and Support Services for Independent Living can help you employ a Personal Assistant or an Enabler. This could be funded through Direct Payments.
You can go online and use the internet or social media, but make sure you stay safe online and protect yourself against cyber-bullying and exploitation – look at the ‘keeping myself safe’ section for more information.
As you become more independent, you will need to think about setting some goals.
Think about the following questions:
- What do want to achieve with your life?
- Would you like to go to college? Further education? Would you like a job? What knowledge and/or qualifications do you need to do this?
- Do you want to volunteer some of your time to a good cause or get involved in local events, politics etc.?
- How would you like your home life to be in the future?
- Do you want to develop your skill in a certain sport or other physical activity?
Now you can make a (SMART) plan to achieve your goals:
S – you will need to have a specific goal in mind.
M – measurable is about how will you know when you have reached your goal?
A – make sure you set a goal that is achievable.
R – your goal needs to be relevant and realistic. If you are looking for a skilled job you will not be able to achieve this without the relevant qualification or experience.
T – set yourself time limits to reach your overall goal or individual milestones.
You will need to learn to manage your work and leisure time well in order to achieve your goals.
You need to know the difference between what is urgent and what is important. The Priority Matrix, from skillsyouneed.com, can help you decide what you need to do straight away and what can wait until later.