Mentor Tip: "Don'ts" when Mentoring Teens

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Subject: Tips on "don'ts" when mentoring teens

Successful individuals with disabilities offered the following advice as part of an electronic mentoring community discussion.

  • Don't disregard their beliefs or feelings. Be supportive of kids' beliefs. (college student with mobility and health impairments)
  • Don't let children sit and feel sorry for themselves. Find activities of interest that they are able to take part in. Find community partners to take them places if they are unable to go on their own. (college student with cerebral palsy)
  • Don't polarize disabilities and abilities. They are not two ends of a spectrum. For example, my deafness gives me access to sign language and typing skills that I might never have learned if I had not gone deaf. So in many ways the disability (if you call it that) is an ability. At the same time, my physical disability gave me an opportunity to do dance. Something I NEVER did as a nondisabled person. It's as important to identify parts of life as a disabled person that give us skills as identifying other abilities/disabilities. (adult who is deaf and has a mobility impairment)