When I was a little girl, one of my favorite books was the Sesame Street book People in My Neighborhood. It featured all the different parts of a neighborhood such as the grocery and toy store, the doctor’s office, and the iconic Sesame Street characters to go with them. Part of teaching children and young adults to advocate for themselves is to allow them to get to know the people in their neighborhoods such as teachers, students at school, cashiers, and people from their church or religious organization to name a few. Building these types of relationships can help your child become more widely recognized in the community and have people to turn to if they should ever need help or have questions.
Some tips on how to build a safety net for a child or young adult:
• Help your child think of five people from different areas of the community whom he or she knows well and trusts in which they can go to if they want to chat, need help with something, or have questions.
• I chose my five people based on how long I have known each of them, how they have reacted when I have asked them for help in the past, or based on their personality.
While I am looking for a friend, I may also be looking for someone that has the qualities of a good mentor or caregiver because I know my disability makes life challenging in some areas, and I may need some help at one point or another. I want the people in my neighborhood to be kind and compassionate as well as fun to be around.
The following resources are available through The Library at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community:
BE SAFE: Teaching Edition Movie and Companion Curriculum By Emily Iland, M.A.
Lessons, Activities, Games, and Materials to Teach Teens and Adults How to Interact Safely with The Police www.besafethemovie.com
Bobby and Mandee’s Too Safe for Strangers (Book) By Deputy Sherrif Robert Kahn