Differences Adult / Child

Potential Social and Emotional difficulties experienced by young people with disabilities and the differences between adults and children

Adult Child
Greater potential for mental health issues.

Personal circumstances may change during early adulthood with regards to living arrangements.

Support needs to be given when moving out of the family home etc.

Due to the nature of disability young adults can experience prolonged post-adolescent stage.  Appropriate support maybe required during this time.

Tend to be socially and emotionally delayed.

Lack of confidence and self-esteem. Individual living circumstances and lack of support can lead to social isolation.

Understanding age-appropriate behaviours can lead to problems in managing relationships.

Developing awareness of sexuality and gender-related behaviours can again lead to difficulties establishing appropriate relationships.

Society and the expectations placed upon adults can be challenging for young people with disabilities.

New relationships, i.e. partnerships, marriage, parenthood can lead to new challenges.

Less potential for mental health issues in early childhood.

Children are more likely to have a stable family environment and a supportive family unit.

Children tend not to experience changes in hormones until late childhood.

Children may also be socially and emotionally delayed, however, school and family support should be equipped to deal with any issues that may arise.

Children are more likely to behave more age appropriately or the behaviours they display will be more socially acceptable.

Issues relating to sexuality and gender will not really be a problem until adolescence.

Relationships tend to be more stable with the family unit being the predominant figures in a child’s life.

Potential Cognitive difficulties experienced by young people with disabilities and the differences between adults and children.

Adult Child
Possible memory or recall problems.

Communication strategies usually well established in adulthood.

Young adults can sometimes have a lack of understanding or acceptance of their own ability leading to self-esteem issues.

The effects of any associated problems are usually more prominent.

Careful consideration needs to be given to motivators and the difference between motivations and ‘blackmail’.

Activities and plans need to be more goal-orientated. Need to have meaning and be useful.

Young adults need the opportunity to express their individuality.

Age related expectations of society can be very different to the actual ability of the young adult.

Adults have an increased responsibility for their own development.  Support from their carers’ and family is still important but they need to have ultimate responsibility for looking to the future.

The relationships between adults and professionals is different and based upon respect rather than authority. This relationship needs careful nurturing.

They are able to make their own choices.  Sometimes support is needed to encourage them to make the best choices.

Children are still developing their understanding of the world, they need to gain experiences, learn to play, learn movements, daily living skills, social basics etc.  They need to be taught ‘Why and how’.

Flexible approach to Communication.

Young children, if in the right school environment are supported to focus on what they can do rather than what they can’t do and are therefore more likely to be unaware of the potential limits of their disability.

Extrinsic motivators are more effective when working with children.

Children are motivated through the curriculum and there tends to be more motivators available.

Children have more support to develop their cognitive needs and access to a broader balanced curriculum.  Positive input from parents is needed to ensure that children are able to transfer their Conductive skills into the home environment.

Professionals are a more powerful authority.  Children are more likely to accept this authority.

Children need initially guided in making choices.

Potential Motor difficulties experienced by young people with disabilities and the differences between adults and children.

Adult Child
An adults’ motoric condition tends to be static and more stable and will sometimes involve contractures.

Associated problems known and possible strategies put in place to address these problems.

Emphasis is usually on maintaining physical skills. Any physical skills are likely to be done in very small steps.

Adults will have more aids and equipment.

Associated difficulties with the natural ageing process have be taken into consideration as well as difficulties linked to their disability.

Adults living in an assisted living environment may not have the support from trained staff to support them to be physically independent in the home environment.

Potentially dealing with the side effects of surgical interventions.

Chronic pain and fatigue can affect their involvement and level of engagement in activities.

Children’s physiology is still changing as they are still growing.

Associated problems maybe yet unknown as children are still developing.

Children tend to have more potential to gain new skills. Aspirational goals can be set in terms of motor development.

Children will have fewer aids and less equipment. The emphasis is still on trying to gain new skills with minimal aids and equipment.

Children have the parental support to continue their physical development in the home environment. This support is imperative to ensure that the child is transferring their conductive skills into the home environment.

Children may also have to deal with the side effects of surgical interventions.

Potential issues associated with Self-Care activities and Assisted Daily Living (ADL) experienced by young people with disabilities and the differences between adults and children.

Adult Child
The expectations placed upon adults with regards to self-care must be age appropriate and relevant.

Motivators need to be considered when facilitating adults to engage in self-care related activities.

Age appropriate activities/tasks are essential; the following should all be addressed:

Money management and home management including banking, paying bills etc.

Information given relating to knowing a person’s rights/guidelines and benefits.

Appropriate household tasks including cleaning, washing, cooking etc.

Health management including medication and their side effects.

Opportunities to express their own individuality need to be provided and facilitated.

Consideration must be given to gender issues and awareness.  Staff will need to support young adults effectively with these issues.

Young adults need to be taught to consider and understand the rules of society and citizenship.

Self-care activities build into the daily routine. They can be built into the curriculum in role play type scenarios.

There maybe times where children are not encouraged in their home environment to engage in self-care activities/tasks, due to parents over-helping their children.

Professionals need to promote and encourage families to provide children with the tools to engage as actively as possible in self-care activities.

Citizenship will form part of the PSE curriculum in schools.

All tasks linked to home management will usually be carried out by people from the children’s family unit.