Mentor Tip: Supportive Environment

Send this message to the mentors only.

Subject: Mentoring tips on supportive environment

As we create a supportive environment for young people, consider the advice offered by successful individuals with disabilities.

  • Many small steps equal a mile. Don't just recognize people's miles; celebrate each "step of success." (adult who is blind)
  • Have patience. This will not be easy. You will have to learn a new language to communicate with teenagers. (high school student with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder)
  • It is important for them to have someone to talk to about what is going on in their lives and to receive encouragement when they lose confidence in themselves. (college student who is blind)
  • Don't create a relationship of excessive dependence. Teach all of your children to be independent from an early age. This will benefit them in their adult lives. (college student who is deaf)
  • Don't be so adult that children can't connect with you. Be available to talk about any topic, and be willing to both be serious and have fun. (college graduate who is blind)
  • Encourage children with disabilities to lead the most normal life possible. (retired counselor with mobility impairment)
  • Teach them the skills required to participate in a career. (college student who is blind)
  • Remind them of what they're capable of. Sometimes it's hard to see outside of yourself to know all of the possibilities. This is when feedback from respected people in one's life is critical....especially from mentors. (employee with a mobility impairment)
  • Support their dreams. (young person with a mobility impairment)
  • Help them get involved in their school. It can lead to new friendships and experiences. (college student who is blind)