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Quality of Life Indicators

Instead of depicting a future that is bleak and hopeless for Christopher, as the first speech therapist had done, Lisa Ruble and Nancy Dalrymple wrote this article that puts his future into perspective. I really like this Quality of Life chart that they came up with. I think the things that are mentioned here apply to just about everybody, not just persons with disabilities.

Quality of Life Indicators to Consider in Judging Outcomes for People with Autism

Participate in activities with family members or close friends (e.g., travel, eat out, shop, favorite games or activities, church, dinners).

Included in family/close friendsí events and passages (e.g., holiday gatherings, weddings, funerals, births, birthday celebrations, illnesses and accidents).

Contact with family members and friends as frequently as desired (e.g., make and receive phone calls, write and receive letters, send and receive cards , visits, invitations.)

Active and comfortable in familiar community:
* Ride transportation, walk, ride with family or friend, ride bike;
* Shop for groceries, clothes, gifts, cards, crafts, needed equipment, personal items;
* Choose movies, videos, places to eat out, ordering in;
* Go to special events: sports, circus, shows, concerts;
* Participate in the YMCA, bike club, or other interest or philanthropic clubs.

Work at a valued job to earn money:
* Like job and feel good about doing it;
* Supported by people on the job;
* Can do job competently;
* Know performance is good.

Learn about the world through successful experiences with supportive people:
* Opportunity to try new activity;
* Opportunity to meet new challenges;
* Opportunity to meet new people.

Opinions and choices are considered valid and important.

Take responsibility for personal and home chores to the greatest extent possible and take pride in doing this through recognition and contributing to the family:
* Bathe, wash hair, shave, style hair, and get hair cut;
* Cook, clean, take care of clothes, pick up after self;
* Health and wellness - nutrition, weight, medication.

Has own special possessions and personal space to keep as desired and has time and space to be alone when desired.

Makes choices about purchases and manages own money to the greatest extent possible.

Receives enough information to make valid choices and not have to refuse them because of lack or information, lack of experience, or lack of support.

Now I am sure that some people will see this Quality of Life Indicator chart in a negative light. I do not feel that it puts limits on my child's ability, it just gives me the direction that I need to aim for. Sometimes when dealing with the ordinary little crisis that occur from day to day, I tend to lose sight of the "BIG PICTURE." To test this chart, compare it to your OWN life. This is what "normal,""average" people do, and yet we tend lose sight of these things as we are rearing our children.

In other words, I don't want to be the one who has limited Christopher's ability to have a good outcome. Sometimes it seems easier to just let things "go" than to have to make the plans, write the social stories, draw the maps, etc., that allow him to be included in such activities, but if I don't make sure he is included in those activities now, how will he ever learn how to be included in those activities later?

Web Page Author: Janet Lawrence
Snail Mail: 878 Osborne Road, Hazel, KY 42049
Updated: 8/9/98

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Email: tjlawrence@kih.net