Growing up and moving on is something everyone does, to the best of their ability. The journey to having an independent life relies on each of us achieving a set of life skills that will underpin getting to our destination. This process starts even before we begin school where we start to learn how to socialize. For instance, a very early skill is turn-taking and understanding societal expectations and cultural norms for behaviour. But the key to all this is communication, as an AAC user and with a hearing impairment then this contributes daily to my journey through life.
What became clear as I started to write was that my learning is a lifelong process. There is not a point when I have said that’s it, I know it all. As a result of life evolving every day I am still learning, there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t learn something that helps my communication. My formal education might be over but now I need additional life skills to lead my team and live independently. In this section there are 3 pages:
- Focuses on lifelong learning and my experiences of the normal UK ages and stages of primary, secondary and higher education.
- More lived experiences can be found in the transitions in education section which includes reflective tips on how these might be managed based on what Mum and I learned along the way.
- The learning styles page includes my journey as a visual learner. I’ve also a condition known as synaesthesia. Both of these impact my communication and understanding the impact revolutionized my university learning.
I hadn’t thought much about leadership skills, and what was needed, until I was suddenly first faced with managing my own team at university. These are another set of life skills which most people don’t get training in. Definitely, I’ve had to learn along the way. I’ve broken my leadership journey into two sections:
- On the leadership skills page I talk about the life skills I’ve discovered are needed to lead a team and gaining practical knowledge and experience.
- Then on the managing my own team page how I’m achieving this, which is definitely a step-by-step, day-by-day approach.
I don’t really know what I expected when I moved to first living independently. I definitely had rose-tinted spectacles that all would be well and somehow life would just be easy. My lived experiences have shown there is definitely more I should have known and prepared for:
- It is fundamental for everyone to know your rights. I’ve kept this very basic as there is plenty of other material out there on specifics about things like benefits so I’ll leave that to the experts.
- The second part is around having an accessible environment to live in, I’m lucky to have built an accessible lifetime home to meet my long-term needs so this explains the processes we went through.
- The third area of focus is around what I believe are essential independent living skills. Specifically what additional life skills I’ve needed to learn. And, some of it is based on definitely having a few hair-raising moments.
- Finally, life never stands still so this is a section on transitions in life and planning ahead. Interestingly when I got to the end of this I realized how much of life is cyclical and how this brings us back to the importance of training your own support team.
These are all my own experiences, I’m definitely not trying to advocate the way I have done things will be right for everyone else. My aim is more that the content provides you with food for thought to explore your own path through life. Enjoy!