What You Need to Know for Independent Living Success
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What You Need to Know for Independent Living Success

The following is a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the program’s website.

By Lauren Brewer, Independent Living Skills Coordinator

Independent living cooking at CLEThe road to adulthood officially begins for many teens when they graduate from high school, move on to a first job or college, and start living on their own. Everyone needs support in order to achieve successful independence, and the important thing is to know the type of support you want or need. This is determined by knowledge of your own abilities, skills, and interests. However, in order to avoid the confusion and uncertainty transition to independence can bring, it’s important to begin the process and lay the foundations for independent living early.

Laying the foundation for independence can begin as early as elementary school and can continue on through young adulthood. Below are three examples of critical skills students must learn in order to be successful living independently.

Advocating for Yourself

  • Understand and be able to share your strengths, skills, interests, challenges, and how you learn best.
  • Know your rights and responsibilities for getting accommodations either at a college or on the job.
  • Identify and reach out to others when you need help.
  • Actively participate in IEP meetings or other meetings that address your goals and future plans.

Learning to Manage Medication Independently:

  • Understand what medications you take and why. Learn the names and functions of each medication, as well as what the pill looks like and how often you take it.
  • Create a system for taking your medication. Using a Daily/Weekly Medication box is one great option. Make it a part of your Sunday night routine to get your box ready for the week.
  • Take over control of your medication from your parents. Make it your responsibility to set reminders, measure out doses, and take your medication on time. Try using phone alerts, or setting your medication by your alarm clock.
  • Learn about how to refill your medication. Research how often and what documentation is necessary to refill each of your medications.

Budgeting Your Money:

Independent living with bills

  • Start out small and save up for a new gadget, book, or game.
  • Open a checking and savings account, and learn how to check your accounts online or by using apps.
  • Practice writing checks, and get into the habit of frequently checking your accounts.
  • Practice handling cash, and work on spending cash for recreational activities.


These are just a few helpful skills to learn as you start on your path to independence. The foundation for your independent living success starts with small steps, courage, and a great attitude.


Newsletter Articles – August 2014

Michael and Danny1

Moving in with your first roommate is a chance for new experiences, and can be one of the most exciting times during your transition to college. Not only can you learn a lot from your roommate, you might also end up becoming close friends. Your college living experience can be a time of happiness that you are moving into a new stage in life, but it can also be a time of anxiety over what to expect.


Nothing is more exciting to a young adult than the thought of finally being able to leave home and embrace a new independent life of their own. This excitement though, is often paired with uncertainty and worry – especially for parents. This time is filled with unanswered questions such as “Are they ready to make it on their own?”, “Did I give them the necessary tools to succeed?” Parents worry “will my young adult be financially responsible?” Here are a few quick tips to help prepare your student for the responsibilities of budgeting.

Superheroes cookbook

If you’re as familiar with superheroes as I am, you’ll notice that a fair amount of them are college students or they work on a college campus. After all, that’s where all the cool research happens! But what do you think these superheroes eat? The first thing that typically comes to mind is pizza, instant noodles and soda. Many college students think meals such as these are the only way to eat quickly during their busy schedules. Unfortunately, not only is eating junk unhealthy but it can seriously reduce your superhero abilities. Fortunately, here are five tips for eating quickly and healthily on a budget.


Gaining the freshman fifteen is a common experience with today’s college students. Trust me, I once shared in the communal weight gain. I gained weight because like any other college student, my stress was high, my time was valuable, and my budget was small. Naturally, I problem solved by eating out regularly. However, I learned the hard way that eating out wastes time, money and eventually, can cause serious health impacts.

Nicolas with aspergers at CLE

I wake up one lovely summer morning. The sun is shining. Birds are singing on the rooftops. Overall, I feel on top of the world. As I saunter down to the kitchen for breakfast, I hear my parents’ voices. They say curiosity killed the cat, but I’m more of a dog person, so I approach them. Little do I know that today is the first day of the rest of my life.

The post What You Need to Know for Independent Living Success appeared first on College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future.