A Life of my Own was created in response to a widespread community need. Neurodiverse young adults have often concentrated their effort into being a student. Once they graduate from high school, are a college student, or are out working, they may now be ready to work on or apply their independent living skills. These young adults need opportunities and guidance to find a life of their own. There is no societal framework, no standard practice to follow. There is minimal support available for achieving true self-reliance.
Community-based Independence Coaching will provide a bridge of opportunity for developing
A Life of my Own.
Becky Gardner comes to A Life of my Own with a holistic, collaborative approach created from a unique and varied background.
With a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, which has its roots in purposeful, meaningful work to increase independence in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), she brings a student-focus and student-driven approach to this work.
Having a deep Social justice / Neurodiversity core belief system brings a focus of self-determination and self-advocacy. This was further developed during work at Bellevue College’s Disability Resource Center, determining individualized accommodations for students with disabilities so that they may have equal access to course materials.
Operating from a strengths-based educational model, developed and enhanced from working in and around the Autism Spectrum Navigators program at Bellevue College since its conception, brings emphasis in student empowerment and nurturing their belief in their own self-efficacy.
Having experience working through her own disability / executive functioning deficits, and having two neurodiverse adult children, brings an understanding of the day-to-day events and efforts that go with these experiences.
Working with college, high school, and middle school students at varying stages on the continuum of independence, brings rich and varied experience to this work.
Continuing Marci Muhlestein’s vision at A Life of my Own is the natural culmination of this prior work and life experience.
Becky is excited to offer her skills and experience to a wider group of young adults to improve their understanding of what independent living looks like, and increase abilities in necessary areas leading to independence – and a life of their own.
Marci Muhlestein is the founder of A Life of my Own. For years she searched to find a reasonable and practical way for adults with learning differences to obtain their independence. Community-based coaching for independence was developed after much research and conducting informational interviews with young adults, families and community members. This model includes core values for forming a strong community, and utilizes best practices to increase the number of young, self-reliant independent adults.
Marci came to “A Life of My Own” with a specialized degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Puget Sound. In addition, Marci earned her MBA and had over 15 years of experience in the public school system. This experience included specializing in assistive technology, sensory-motor skills, and working with students on the autism spectrum, as well as expertise with students 18-21 years of age whom most have achieved levels of independence.
During the last ten years, she developed and enhanced a higher education program for individuals with learning differences which resulted in 85% of graduates employed, and 30% achieving upward mobility. Throughout her career she implemented specialized programming in independent daily living skills with an emphasis on individual and small group coaching. Through A Life of my Own, she hoped to assist many young adults and their supporters to capitalize on their strengths and become self-reliant adults.