Thinking About Independence

Choice and Self-Advocacy
Our team spends A LOT of time learning,
doing professional development, talking to individuals about what they want, and spending time with others from around the world who are offering the highest level services in the most respectful and impactful ways. Plus, we are always building new relationships and connections right here in our own beautiful community. We love hearing about what is working well for others and where they experience challenges or lack of services. We want to share things that may be useful to individuals, caregivers, professional support workers, or ANYONE who wants to have continued growth.

Helping others often comes from a place of love or caring. However, one thing we continue to hear loud and clear is that many individuals feel they are not given enough opportunities to do things for themselves. So how do we change this? We know caregivers, family, friends, and support professionals may have concerns around safety or time constraints. This can lead to us doing for others, what they can do for themselves. What message are we sending when we do this? Are we taking away the feeling of accomplishment, a chance to build confidence, the opportunity to problem solve and be resilient?

We believe support should be a shadow NOT an eclipse. What are you doing to “help” another person when they could be doing it themselves? This doesn’t mean we can’t support with guidance or assist where it is truly needed, but stop and ask yourself what the reason is. We know you can’t just tell somebody to cook a meal without extensive work on meal planning, knife skills, stove safety, fire safety, food safety, and so on. We set goals and make plans to break tasks into small steps. These steps build until the individual has the confidence to do a task independently or with support in the shadows. Try taking a moment to evaluate if you are doing something another person could be doing themselves and see where you can start making changes in your own life.

Sara Clarke

Program Manager

Branching Out Support Services