5 Ways Pathways Helps Build Confidence in Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

At Pathways, we help to empower our students to work toward and achieve their educational and personal goals. Whether a student wants to learn how to read or how to meaningfully help others through volunteer work, our curriculum is custom-designed to meet their needs and desires for their own lives. Our students are creative, capable, determined individuals that make us proud each and every day, and here are just a few of the many ways our students are able to build confidence within our program:  

1. Volunteer: When our students have the opportunity to serve, it’s a major boost of confidence because they like being helpful, and it gives them purpose. Whether students are volunteering out in the community serving the elderly or indoors making encouraging cards for service members, making a difference in the lives of others is important to them and as an added bonus, it also gives them an opportunity to apply skills they learn in class! And our students get to make an impact on the lives of others and play an integral part of the strengthening of our community as a whole.

2. Education: Our students are life-long learners, and at Pathways, we are constantly finding ways to keep them engaged in lesson plans by having our classes be interactive and incorporating lots of fun. Just like during Geography class when students have the opportunity to learn about a different country while learning to make food-related to that location. Students provide input about what they want to learn, and we are thankful to have the flexibility to incorporate their requests into our classes.

3. Fitness: Our variety of fitness classes encourages our students to participate and focus on their fitness goals while also finding new fitness activities they might be interested in, like Zumba or how relaxing going on a walk can be. Working toward fitness goals and competing in Special Olympics helps students to challenge themselves and to be proud of their accomplishments.

4. Emotions class: Our emotions classes at Pathways are essential because they help students have a safe place to recognize, express, and process their emotions. We want to instill confidence in them to advocate for themselves and understand how to healthily express their own feelings while also recognizing and understanding the emotions of others. By practicing these skills, students are able to become more skilled self-advocates and feel more confident in navigating their relationships with others. We love to see our students put what they are learning about emotions into action, like our student Brett who has learned to communicate his feelings by drawing them and choosing the ones he feels. This gives him the freedom to know that it’s okay to share how he feels.

5. Life skills: Our life skills classes help our students know how to be independent at home and out, from learning how to create a list for the grocery store to include easy-to-make healthy eating options to practicing good hygiene, from keeping themselves safe to independence skills to give them more autonomy at home, and more.

To learn more about our visit, pathwaysok.org/program.