LIFE - Learning Independence for Future Empowerment - serves young adults with physical disabilities make the transition to greater independence by providing new skills and hands-on opportunities for growth and development.
The program provides participants with a learning environment to expand their social and professional skills while practicing the daily responsibilities of adulthood. Participants learn new skills through a combination of Life Skills Workshops, Transit Training, and Social & Recreational Outings.
The LIFE program is ten-weeks long, and runs four times per year, with each session able to accomodate ten to fifteen youth.
LIFE is designed to adapt to the needs and interests of its participants, who provide input and set goals at the beginning of the sessions. Along with the instructors working with the participants, they select the program components that will benefit them the most. Goals are evaluated at midpoints and at the end of the sessions to determine the extent to which the participant's goals were achieved. Participants also receive a binder of information on local organizations and resources they can access in the future.
Participant goals may include:
- Improving mobility and the ability to manage their own health
- Moving out of the family home
- Enhancing employment or volunteer potential
- Making new friends
- Learning how to take transit
- Improving financial literacy
Along with the fun and adventure, participants will experience some challenges. Indeed, the very purpose of the program is to help find untapped resources within yourself and within your group, to help you discover that you are more capable than you know. The complimentary components of the program will foster independence within the individual.
- Goal Setting
- Coping Skills
- Budgeting & Banking
- Living On Your Own: What to Consider?
- Healthy Relationships
- Technology & Assistive Devices
- Volunteering & Employment
- Health & Wellness: A Healthy Body & Mind
Social & Recreational Outings
One of the components of the disability management program are opportunities for real-life application in the community will be encountered during the Social & Recreational Outings. These Outings take participants into the community for activities like bowling, visiting parks, hiking, going to lunch and a movie, participating in organized sports, shopping, banking, and many others.
All people have a basic ability to take in, enjoy, and respond to music. Benefits include:
- Personal development
- Exploring and resolving personal issues
- Increasing self-expression, relaxation, mobility
- Improving communication, learning, social skills, motor skills
- Developing or maintaining, cognition, memory
To decrease reliance on heavily stressed door-to-door accessible transit services, participants learn to plan and take accessible transit routes during private and semi private lessons with the program instructors. There’s also a certain amount of problem solving to overcome unexpected boundaries in the physical environment.
Participants are taught skills and techniques to help them overcome the challenges of their disability – neuroplasticity allows patients to find new ways of doing things. They learn how to apply these strategies to their everyday life, becoming more independent
Each applicant must:
- Have a disability
- Be able to direct his or her own care
- Have goals related to increasing independence
March of Dimes Canada has operated successful LIFE programs in Toronto and Mississauga for several years. In 2017, we launched the program in Calgary, and are planning pilot programs in Vancouver and Halifax in 2019.
* If financial circumstances limit an applicant’s ability to participate, assistance may be provided.
Select a LIFE program near you for more information:
SPACE IS LIMITED - REGISTER NOW!
The LIFE Program is sponsored in part by: