THE INDEPENDENT YOUNG WOMAN

THE INDEPENDENT YOUNG WOMAN

As a result of the success of our Independent Young Man program, we identified relatively quickly that there was value for us creating a parallel program for some of the young women that we worked with. Many of the programs core skill development areas remain the same, with the primary exception being the supports around sex and sexuality and the physical development stages that young women experience. The Independent Young Women’s program is implemented by our female OT’s and female Therapy Assistants. The focus remains on addressing some of the gaps that may exist in relation to domestic education/training for young women transitioning from their family/supported home into independent living or sharing a house with housemates. 

Like with the young men, empirical research showed that often-young women (usually between 16 and 22) would obtain a job, start to experience an increased level of independence with their finances and other activities of daily living and then take the next logical step of moving away from the highly supportive family home into their own home. Unfortunately, 6-12 months down the track, the workers mood may have decreased and their personal presentation standards, and fitness would often have significantly diminished. Through speaking with the employers, client’s support workers and the workers themselves, this could be directly related to the move into their own home and away from the close supervision this had provided.

WHR Allied Health has developed a program, The Independent Young Woman, to work with clients in ensuring that this major move to independence in housing does not mean that other areas of their lives are negatively impacted. All of our Independent Young Woman courses are facilitated by a female allied health professional – because we were once fresh out of our own supportive homes with not too much of an idea!  We start at the beginning working through the goals and ideas that the clients have for themselves, and how these can be positively/negatively impacted by the transition into their own home. We identify the client’s current level of domestic/household management experience and skills and use this as a baseline for their program, working with the client to develop these skills. It can be completed in anticipation of a move, or once the move has already occurred.

Finally, we relate the newly obtained skills directly back to the client’s initial goals and have them create the link between the impact of one on the other. Individual sessions are always held in the client’s home to ensure appropriate use of the equipment that they have in their home. Group sessions can be arranged (Disability Services, High Schools, Youth Groups) however these will focus more on theory rather than site specific practical tasks. Small groups (no more than 3 people) can be arranged provided that at least one of the clients is happy to allow the other members of the group into their home (laundry, kitchen, bathroom will all need to be accessed).

 

Depending on the previous experience, learning capacity, and engagement of the client, The Independent Young Woman interventions can be a one-off block assessment of 4 hours, through to ongoing weekly engagement until the client feels confident with the skills they have learned and have demonstrated a capacity to complete the skills independently. At the end of the program clients will be provided with a customised reference text that they will be able to refer to as required.

We work with a broad range of clients including those living with disability, those who have housing security issues or are homeless, those that may have lacked support in these areas in the family home as well as any others that could benefit from a bit of a freshen up on their domestic skills.

The Independent Young Woman skill sessions can include any of the following:

Bathroom management

Cleaning the shower, basin, bath, toilet, toilet brush, that little bin, basic dental hygiene.

Bedroom management

Changing the linen, making the bed.

Kitchen management

What pan? burnt pots, kitchen dangers, cleaning the cleaners, labelling.

Laundry management

What detergent when, cleaning the cleaners, sorting and washing, following labels.

General household management

Cleaning windows, vacuuming, mopping, door/window frames, seasonal cleaning tasks, keeping the landlord happy, dangers of cleaning products.

Yard management

Taking care of the garden, mowing/whipper snipping, refuelling, growing your own, composting your waste, reporting issues to the real estate.

Cooking/Nutrition management

Cooking skills, basic meal preparation, special meal preparation, how to find recipes, importance of understanding what a balanced diet is, portioning, using the freezer, using the microwave, food safety.

Shopping and Budgeting

Shopping online, organic/imported/local what does it all mean for me? Working with a budget, planning meals for the week.

Pet Management

Food for pets, saving for the vet for check ups, keeping your pets fit.

Social Situations

Nervous is normal, what do I say? Keeping some things to myself, Is this a date? Respecting choices.
The success of the program is not only measured by clients demonstrating a level of independence in tasks at the completion of the course, but also by follow up reviews with the client self assessing their independence. It is understood that the positive impacts of the course will extend to increased levels of self esteem through the process of achievement and the experience of skill development.
Please note that whilst this program is specifically targeted at younger females (16-25), we are open to providing this education and training to others by request.

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