Skills for Life Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to go to Ivy Street to participate in SFL?
No, you do not have to be a student or alum of Ivy Street School to access Skills for Life services.
How old do you have to be to participate?
We work with young adults ages 16+. Our current clients range in ages from 16-33 years old.
What geographic regions do you service?
We provide services to the greater Boston and Providence areas. This means we will see clients 40 miles from either Boston or Providence.
What populations and profiles do you work with?
We work with variety of profiles including but not limited to young adults with ASD, behavioral health diagnoses and neurological diagnoses.
What can OTs do? (“I thought they worked on handwriting, in hospitals, with hands, with sensory integration, etc.”)
It is a common misconception that OTs work only on handwriting, fine motor skills, or sensory skills, but in fact OTs have a long established history of supporting people with independent living skills and engagement in meaningful occupation.
Here is some additional information from our national organization, AOTA:
“Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.
Occupational therapy services typically include:
-an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals,
-customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and
-an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.
Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.” (AOTA.org)
Why is the SFL approach different?
Our Occupational Therapists:
-Are specialists in transition to adulthood
-Have a comprehensive approach to supporting families in transition to adulthood
-Work in collaboration with clients and their families
A parent perspective:
“My young adult has a complex profile and one that cannot be easily pigeon-holed or readily addressed by any single program. The personal understanding of her needs that our Skills for Life Occupational Therapist has developed is much more effective than looking for “just-the-right-fit” program, which likely does not exist.
The most important goal for my daughter is to learn to be as independent as possible and to learn necessary life skills, while following a process to acquire them.
With Skills for Life, my daughter is supported in organizing and prioritizing smaller steps to learn independence. Together, she and her OT have created a matrix that is organized around short and long-term goals in various areas of her life. This matrix is not only a reference tool each week, but it also helps hold her accountable.
Additionally, my daughter and her clinician have developed a strong bond of trust. She feels she is able to discuss her challenges and she then accepts the reinforcement that she can overcome many of them if she develops a plan.
When problem solving, my daughter is helped to realize there are life skills she will need to utilize. She is supported to identify practical and feasible solutions. This collaboration also helps reduce anxiety or fear of failure.
I believe that our Skills for Life OT acts as a true ‘life coach’ for my daughter. Together they have candidly explored what she envisions for herself as an adult. She is supported while trialing pragmatic solutions to meet her own expectations so that she will follow through on her steps to attain her dreams.
For parents, Skills for Life is invaluable notably because it diffuses tension between parent and child. These tensions create obstacles to progress. Our Skills for Life OT is highly organized and creative in their planning.
Finally, our clinician’s extensive knowledge of the many resources that are available to clients and families is immeasurably helpful.” – SFL Parent 2019
What are some of the goal areas you have helped clients meet?
Goal areas are identified by the client, with support from the OT. Examples of goals previously addressed include:
-Managing expenses and executive functioning: “I have an easier time setting goals and completing them and I am doing better at keeping track of my expenses. I have also become more organized, making daily list and keeping to them” – SFL Client
-Home management and accountability: “Being able to do my laundry myself between visits. I can’t say enough about how much you coming helps me do what I need to do.” -SFL Client
-Employment, financial literacy and community access: “I’ve been less nervous at work interacting with clients because of the written strategies my OT has provided. I’ve become more comfortable paying with cash (i.e. making change) instead of relying on my debit card all the time. I’m not as afraid driving as I was because of the car safety manual we have written together.” – SFL Client
“Skills for Life is unique in that there are no limitations on what the focus can be from week to week, and we meet in our home. My adult child has worked on computer skills, money skills, organizational skills, social and leisure time skills; all the things that are important for a happy adult life.” -SFL Parent
How long will we work together?
The frequency of services and the duration of services is considered on a case-by-case basis. Some Skills for Life clients have been working with their clinicians for 3+ years and continue to find new goal areas to address.
It is possible that Skills for Life may be able to lend support for the short-term, such as over summer break, in preparation for a move, etc.
How do we get started/What happens during the free consultation and intake?
The first step is to reach out to Jane Hannafin or (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Brooke Howard (email@example.com) via email or by phone 617-879-0305 to connect.
Next, a time to meet in person or to chat over the phone is scheduled. This is our free, 30 minute consultation where we will discuss your priorities.
If it is decided that we will move forward with support. an intake will be scheduled where information will be collected about interests, needs and challenges. During this time, goal areas will also be identified and prioritized. These areas inform the next step, which is weekly or bi-weekly intervention.
What credentials do SFL providers have?
Skills for Life Occupational Therapists are licensed in MA and/or RI and are board-certified and registered OTs. Our staff has experience working with youth with complex profiles and all care is individualized and collaborative. Our aim is to meet clients where they are and we work towards solution-focused outcomes.
How do I learn more?
For more information, please call 857-352-1701 for a free 30-minute consultation.
Program Director: Jane Hannafin, MS, OTR/L
Clinical Director: Brooke Howard, MS, OTR/L