Young adult with mild development delay has social needs I can't fulfill
June 25, 2016 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Our daughter, age 23, has what might be called a mild developmental delay. She seems to relate to others like an 8 year old. She can do many things such as travelling alone, shopping and self-care. However she lacks good judgement and often, common sense. If someone befriends her, she'll be at their door several times a day, not respecting social boundries.

She's obviously unable to make friends with peers her own age (she latches on to friendly older adults). I can't seem to find any place where she can get involved in recreation with other young adults like her. I've found intellectual delay groups but it's for people with lower IQs and they won't accept her after reading her psych report.

She enjoys the company of autistic and ASD people but I can't find any such group for young adults. In the meantime, I'm hoping to get her visiting seniors at a home nearby but I worry that she may say or do something inappropriate there and lose that opportunity.

I'm looking for suggestions on what type of searches I need to do online. Can anyone think of any other way to get her involved in social activities?
posted by Coffeetyme to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You might be looking for lower-cost activities, but have you considered hiring a babysitter? Someone to hang out with her for a scheduled period during the day.
posted by tooloudinhere at 1:40 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

You might be looking for lower-cost activities, but have you considered hiring a babysitter? Someone to hang out with her for a scheduled period during the day.

It's summertime--do you live around a university where you could put up flyers for this? I've seen similar ads looking for university students in psych or social work to provide one on one companionship a few hours at a time for high functioning (i.e. no special skills required) kids on the spectrum, etc.
posted by blue suede stockings at 2:15 PM on June 25, 2016 [6 favorites]

Is there a special recreation association serving your community? This is exactly what they do. (The link is to the one near me, but it should give you a general idea about what to look for.)
posted by SisterHavana at 2:16 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

United Way will have a directory of groups who could rise to offer services to your daughter. You may need to pay to access, there may be funding your daughter can access. You should also look at independent living, a great way for your daughter to pick up skills and reach having her own place or a monitored place with semi-privacy.
posted by parmanparman at 3:50 PM on June 25, 2016

Would it be worth including volunteering in your searches? Some volunteering opportunities are flexible and understanding enough to host people who are not neurotypical, and can lead to friendships, or at least opportunities to socialise.

I also once knew a guy who was coming out of a bout of serious mental illness (sorry, I know that's not the same - but at that stage in his life, he was also a reasonably capable adult who was socially non-typical and needed people around him who would accept that). He would go to church social groups to re-socialise himself. He wasn't normally a churchgoer, but they were spaces where people were motivated to welcome whoever came their way, and make an effort to understand and accommodate their differences.
posted by penguin pie at 3:51 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Perhaps look into social skills groups or classes for young adults? They are usually run by a psychologist. There would be an "intake" appointment, usually about an hour long, where the psychologist would learn more about your daughter's wants and needs and maybe the areas she needs to focus on. You might have some input, too! Often these groups are geared towards people on the autism spectrum, but that's not exclusively the case.

The psychologist would then put her in a social skills group of other young women that meet about once a week. They'd get the opportunity to role play and practice social skills with gentle guidance from the psychologist. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is usually a component. Such a group would have a couple of benefits ... first, it would help teach appropriate boundaries, and second, your daughter would be among other young women that she could relate to. Perhaps some friendships would develop from that group.

Maybe check into the local YMCAs as well. They never turn anyone away, and they have many opportunities for people with disabilities. My local YMCA employees people with disabilities and also has fitness, swimming, and nutrition classes geared towards those individuals that need a little extra help.
posted by Ostara at 4:01 PM on June 25, 2016

Does it have to be in person?

My bright but socially challenged oldest benefitted enormously from me starting and moderating an email list designed to relate to his interests. He blossomed socially in that environment in a way he had never done before and he was permanently changed for the better. He still has social challenges, but they are a lot less OMG and he is generally more functional, though he still has bad days where he wants me to go shopping with him because talking to the cashier is too much. It is still way better than it used to be.
posted by Michele in California at 4:21 PM on June 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

My autistic older brother(age 50) has trouble with social boundaries, too. He's been involved with Best Buddies for the last year and has really enjoyed it. You might see if there's a chapter in your area?
posted by magstheaxe at 5:57 PM on June 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

In my community, I'd recommend that your daughter contact the local brain injury organization. You might see if there's an age appropriate brain injury group she can be part of--even if she doesn't have an official diagnosis of that.

The public library may also be able to point you in the direction of other organizations or services--I know our librarians are very hooked in to our local community.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:20 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Some people suggested I advertise at a university for a "companion". Well I'm going to search among my friends for a suitable person. Just wanted to add this modified response for anyone who may be researching this question.
posted by Coffeetyme at 8:15 AM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

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