Transitioning from Teenage Years to Adulthood | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 7/15/2012
At this year`s North Dakota Youth Transition Conference teens are learning how to be leaders and speak up for themselves. One of the ways they conquer their fears is through a little bit of acting.
"Teaching through theatre is great because it hits a lot of different intelligence types. It hits auditory learners, it hits visual learners, aesthetic learners, everyone is really involved," said Julie Janus, CLIMB Producer of Excellence in Teaching.
In one scenario, David Booth, 16, has to walk across the circle while his peers place obstacles in his way. The catch? He has to keep his eyes closed while someone gives him verbal cues where to walk. It`s a lesson in both leadership and teamwork.
"I wanted to connect with a lot of autistic kids and really get to express my story, you know, and being able to talk to them I feel like welcome at home here," Booth said.
Some of these teens have lived in foster homes or have special needs. Others, like Katie Eick, 20, are serving as youth leaders.
"I think it`s good to have people who are the same age so they`re not intimidated by like an older adult coming and trying to get them active."
Because some of these teens have specific medical needs, leaders say the young adults have to pay more attention to their bodies compared to many of their peers. Program leaders say it can take some teenagers longer to adjust.
"If they have to have a special condition that needs medical care have them prepare what questions they have for the doctor so they`re getting used to asking the doctor their questions that they have and simple things like maybe they have to reorder their prescription. Help them do that so that when they become an adult they know how to do it," said Carlotta McCleary, executive director of the North Dakota Federation of Families for Children`s Mental Health.
Booth said, "I`ve been trying to lean away from aide`s help from school, you know, and just focus more on doing my work independently like I`ll still have their help but I`m just continuously making myself work harder and more independent."
David says he`s already become more independent at home, taking on more chores like cooking and feeding the dog.
The conference ends Monday. There will be a panel discussion Monday led by teens on how to prepare for college.