Giving more independence to a learning disabled adult – using Option Solving?”

A recent discussion with a friend revealed his dilemma with a grown son who was learning disabled, due to autism-Aspergers, and who lived in a sheltered home for people with special needs. Up until now his son was escorted by a house social worker while active within the local community. His son was now pushing to have more independence, which was creating a dilemma for my friend, his wife and the house staff.

After explaining the basis and advantages of option solving, it seemed appropriate to use the technique with my friend, his wife, the house manager, and a member of staff (who was most closely associated with the son).

So together they set about assembling the right question with considerations, using their rational thinking, so that they would be able to challenge their intuitive capabilities in an optimum way. This proved to be: “What is our best option for giving a Learning Disabled Adult more independence; considering he’s pushing for more freedom, he generally needs an escort within the community, it ties up staff resources, he desires more freedom to connect with females, and any SNAFUs would reap the wrath of local authorities?” Other considerations emerged, but they agreed to choose the roughly 50% most important ones.

With this in place, they were now ready to choose two outlier “bookends” that would create outer limit options for any range of ultimate options. They would also prompt more creative thinking when the time came to produce the most likely options. Those two outliers came to be: “Just ignore him,” at one end, with, “Allow him free rein” at the other. They have shown why these would probably not be a good idea in our Latest Example, even though they are still clearly options.

They were now challenged to produce at least five options, so as to stretch their creative thinking as far as is practicable. If they could come up with more, all well and good. You can view their best choices in our Latest Example. One of them happened to be: “Allow him monthly independent activities that are well prepared” – Option D. Can you come up with others?

Now they were encouraged to spend some emotional distancing time, in order to allow their intuitive minds to subconsciously chew over their five options and aid their coming up with an optimum choice. Since time wasn’t pressing, they were in a position to sleep on it and then exchange thoughts the following morning.
Once they agreed on a solution, then the manager and her staff member were able to develop an appropriate action initiative while the deliberations were fresh in their minds.

If you have an issue example of your own that you wish to be solved, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Dealing with Career Choices of Sons or Daughters?” We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger.)


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