by Adria Nassim
Sometimes, parents and professionals will ask me, “What had to happen to make it possible for you to live independently?” First off, I let them know it took a lot of planning and research, not just in my young adult years, but beginning in young childhood. We knew by my teen years, a driver’s license would not be an option for me. Therefore, by the time I finished college, which in itself required extensive support, we knew I would need a community that was largely accessible via an active public transportation system or one that was very pedestrian friendly.
We also wanted a community that was open minded and accepting of people with differences including different abilities, cultures, religions, races, and lifestyle choices. I grew up with two very involved multicultural parents: my mother, Cynthia, an American pediatrician and my father, Bahman (Ben), a retired professor of organic chemistry with Indiana University Southeast. My father came to America from Iran to attend college and then married and built a life here. I have multiple diagnoses, so we wanted to find an open-minded and accepting community. Even when it came to politics, my parents always hoped that the community I settled in would be politically liberal. They are both Democrats, and I had grown up in a largely Republican, conservative area of Southern Indiana where I graduated high school. When I registered to vote at 18, I also registered as a Democrat and wanted to find a place in a community that valued intellectualism, science, and the pursuit of knowledge. I wanted to be a part of a community that valued a life of dignity and justice and provided a living wage for all people.
A home with amenities nearby
For me to thrive, we also knew I would need access to amenities such as grocery shopping, fitness and wellness options, medical facilities including a hospital, primary care physicians, and mental health services, restaurants, coffee shops, and positive social outlets that fit my interests. We also wanted opportunities for intellectual stimulation such as a public library or bookstores within walking distance or a short bus ride or Uber trip away.
Since I partner with my service dog Lucy, we also looked for a location with access to things such as good walking trails, veterinary care, and housing facilities with ample access to green spaces that were located a short distance from pet supply stores, and so forth.
These are just some of the important factors my parents and I considered in finding a community for me to settle in as a young adult with disabilities. I am happy to say that today, I am thriving and loving life as an independent and successful adult. However, I understand that the choices my parents and I made may not be right for every young adult. They may also want different amenities when it comes to a living environment. It is important to consider your young adult’s lifestyle, interests, needs, and desires when choosing a community for him or her. Keep in mind that what works best for one individual may not work or be the best option for your young adult.
Thanks for reading!