When building a Circle of Support, the most important thing is trust. First and foremost, those in the Circle of Support should be people the young adult trusts. Some of the obvious examples are parents, guardians, siblings, immediate and extended family members and close friends. Others might include mentors, employers, health care and/or community service providers, social workers or religious community members.
Circle of Support members need to have the best interests of the young adult in mind. Safety and security are certainly important, but so is supporting the young adults to make their own choices and advocate for themselves. Choosing members for the Circle of Support should be something the young adult is actively engaged in.
Although a Circle of Support is not a formal “team,” it works like a team. We all have a Circle of Support; we may not identify it as such, but we have one. For young adults with disabilities, it is important that they can identify their support team.
Supports Members Can Offer
The Circle of Support should be there to ensure the young adult’s quality of life. This does not mean that Circle members will do things for the young adult, but they can help make things happen. A Circle of Support offers assistance and guidance to the young adult, serving as a safety net throughout the transition process. Having a support team can mean the difference between success and failure for your youth or young adult. One person can’t, and shouldn’t, be expected to provide every kind of support needed. Instead, you and your youth/young adult can build a network of support that reflects their varied interests and activities.