Continuing to be at the forefront of innovative research, education and services for individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism, the Training, Education and Research Institute (TERI), Inc. today launched a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive online training program aimed at creating a pool of Life Coaches to assist this special population and their families.
With autism now estimated to touch as many as 1 in 91 children in the United States, the question of how to address the needs of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities as they grow into adulthood has reached critical mass. In order to tackle this concern, the online Academy of the TERI-led International Association for Life Quality (IALQ), www.ialq.org, was created to offer education and a full range of programs such as the Special Needs Life Quality Coach curriculum.
"This is an entirely new career path for individuals desiring to work with families of children and adults with developmental disabilities as they plan for their immediate and long-term future," says Cheryl Kilmer, chief executive officer and founder of TERI. "This is a ground-breaking program offered for the first time, not only in the United States, but now throughout the world via our online university."
The world's first specialization coursework in this niche focuses on training individuals to work one-on-one with families as a Special Needs Life Coach, taking on various roles such as adviser, advocate, mentor, and even a second pair of eyes when family members can not be present. As individuals age, this role can continue well into the future, easing one of the biggest concerns parents have for their special needs loved one; what happens when I can no longer care for my adult child
"Current demographics show there is a huge need for Special Needs Life Coaches and, unfortunately, the numbers are not decreasing. As more of our special needs population comes of age, they will need support services," says Dr. Krysti DeZonia, Director of the International Association for Life Quality, co-founder of TERI, Inc. and creator of the Academy curriculum. "This career path presents a unique opportunity for someone to start their own business in a new, specialized field with high demand. In our current economy where many people are looking for a new career path, becoming a Special Needs Life Coach could be the answer. And let's not forget the most important factor, the rewarding aspect of making a profound impact in the lives of others."
The 16-week program is available to professionals, caregivers, parents and individuals who are interested in furthering their expertise or starting their own career in this field. Coursework is designed to teach students about the services and resources that are available to families of special needs individuals, guide them through disability law in the U.S., as well as provide strategies for working directly with children and adults who have developmental disabilities. This includes how to assess needs, set goals, write action plans, and support families during difficult times. Additionally, students are assigned practical experience outside of the online class environment, as well as training on how to effectively establish and market their own practice.
"The goal of the Academy is to further enhance the opportunities for individuals to receive support and services, such as life coaching, throughout their life span and to help them lead happy, quality lives - no matter where they live," says Luanne Hinkle, mother of a young man on the autism spectrum and publicist for IALQ. "A Special Needs Life Quality Coach can be the catalyst that helps ensure a quality life actually happens."
In addition to the online Academy venue, IALQ offers free memberships, comprehensive news and research by subject, and the opportunity for interested people to focus their attention on lifespan issues that impact this population. The IALQ will also host an annual summit as well as launch a community networking forum in the near future.
For 30 years, TERI, Inc. has developed model programs and support services to improve the quality of life of children and adults with a wide range of special needs, and those who care for them. What TERI has learned through experience and research is now available to families across the nation and the world.
More information about Special Needs Life Quality Coach training is available at www.ialq.org or by calling 1-760-721-1706.
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