I first began to understand how to navigate my way around a city when I was 23 years old. Until then, I always had someone with me because of the potential to get lost or disoriented. I went to a program called The College Internship Program in Bloomington, Indiana. The staff there knew I was going to have to be taught my way around a city somehow. They figured out that even though I had difficulty with direction and spatial concepts, I could read and memorize names of the streets. Learning a bus route often took months. I would ride the same route over and over watching out the window at the stops and slowly, I would begin to memorize the route. As things started to make sense, it felt like waking from a coma after being on life support and having to be with someone, never traveling alone for so long. I felt free even as I would cross the street by myself which was also something previously off limits. It was like I had lived in this world all my life, but suddenly it took on new meaning and everything started making sense in a way it didn’t before.
The following resources are available through the IIDC Library:
Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum by Lynne Soraya (Book)
Life Planning for Adults With Developmental Disabilities: A Guide for Parents and Family Members by Judith Greenbaum, PhD (Book)
Explore Your Community curriculum (DVD, Student Guide, and Instructor’s Guide)