Getting Started

Kiri Lifelong Learning was initially created to provide resources specifically for adults with special needs. I (Kristen) have been providing behavior consultation to a caseload of mostly adults who receive services through the Medicaid Wavier in North Carolina since 2014.

Prior to having multiple roles as a behavior analyst, I was a special education teacher. Kirsten, also a former special education life skills teacher as well as a tutor, shares my passion of developing resources to promote lifelong learning for adults with special needs.

We dove in to creating resources but encountered some challenges. First, we realized that the skill area we were initially trying to develop lesson plans for was a bit complex. We were quickly getting bogged down in the details of those initial teaching plans and losing sight of our larger goal.

Image by by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Finding Our Why

In addition to failing to see the forest through the trees when creating our initial learning resources, time quickly become our second challenge. Kirsten traveled to her parents’ home to help her father prepare for an upcoming back surgery and immediately realized that her parents needed more support than she expected.

What was supposed to be a 2 week stay just to assist before and after her Dad’s surgery ended up turning into multiple stays to help her parents with basic tasks around the house.

Kirsten’s situation brought to light the striking similarities between the life skills adults with special needs must learn in order to increase independence and the life skills older adults must continue to perform well in order to maintain independence.

Image by Andy Fitzsimon on Unsplash

We came to the realization that there are essential life skills that are unavoidable in order to be an independent adult. These are activities that, if you can’t or don’t do them for yourself, someone else has to make sure they are taken care of for you.

This means that, in addition to doing your own “adulting,” you may be placed in a position where you’re also having to tackle the adult responsibilities of another person.

And, let’s be honest, managing our own activities of daily living can be more than enough to handle at times, so shouldering those responsibilities for another person can leave us completely overwhelmed.

Why Choose Kiri?

There are wonderful resources available to teach many of the life skills we’re talking about, and for people who have the time to locate those resources as well as build goals around them, they are a great fit.

Kiri is for the adults that we know. The parent who has two young adult children with special needs, works full time, and plays an active role on both her children’s home-based service teams as well as her daugther’s IEP team.

The single mother who simultaneously cared for both an adult child with special needs as well as coordinated nursing home care for her aging mother.

The service team who wants to create meaningful goals for an adult with special needs but doesn’t have the time to scour the internet to assemble it piece by piece.

And the son or daughter who, like Kirsten, finds herself in the position of traveling to provide greater assistance to their parents.

There’s no manual for adulthood. Each of us faces difference challenges and has different needs. If you find yourself struggling to balance both your own day-to-day adulting as well as the added responsibility of making decisions and managing the activities of another young or older adult, we’re excited to share strategies and resources to help.