Preparing Your Child for Thames

Here’s a list of skill sets that your child can start working on now.

The Thames Academy experience provides a new environment away from home which requires students to demonstrate a different and unique set of skills than they may have used in high school. Thames will help students practice these skills through intentional academics and social programming. However, it is important that families and students begin setting the foundation and practicing these skills at home before students enter the Thames Academy program.

Skills that we look for include:

Personal Care Skills
  • Do I know how to wash, dry, and fold my own laundry?
  • Do I shower daily?
  • Do I know how and where to buy personal hygiene products?
  • Do I know how to make a bed?

Basic Money Management
  • Do I know how to use an ATM?
  • Do I own a credit card for incidental charges? Do you feel comfortable using it?
  • Do I know how to write a check?
  • Do I have a budget of weekly expenses? Monthly?
  • Do I know how to check the balance of a bank account online?

Communication Skills
  • Do I have a communication plan for when/how often I will contact my family?
  • Do I have important family phone numbers and other contact information stored in my phone?
  • Do I know how to ask for help when needed?
  • Do I know how to say 'No' assertively and when to say 'Yes'?
  • Do I know what to do in the event of an emergency? (snow storms, medical emergency, accident)

Disability Awareness
  • Can I name and describe my disability?
  • Do I know my strengths/weaknesses?
  • Do I know what accommodations work best for me?
  • Do I know what assistive technology I need to use?

  • Do I know my social security number? Do I keep it in a safe place where I can find it?
  • Do I check my email accounts frequently?
  • Can I keep track of important academic and personal records? (medical insurance card, social security #, email passwords)
  • Can I keep track of internet account usernames and passwords?
  • Can I keep my room organized and clean?

Healthy Lifestyle
  • Can I wake up on time using an alarm?
  • Do I know how to make healthy food choices when selecting from a buffet?
  • Do I exercise regularly?
  • Can I go to bed at a reasonable time without being reminded?
  • Can I take my medication without being reminded?
  • Can I refill my prescription?
  • Do I know how to use my medical devices?
  • Can I set limits for myself on the amount of time I spend on the computer, TV, and video games?
  • Can I ask for help when I need it?

Basic Technology Skills
  • Do I charge my laptop and phone regularly?
  • Do I know my passwords for school and personal accounts?
  • Do I know how to print documents?
  • Do I have a list of important phone numbers and emails stored?
  • Do I have assistive technology installed on my computer?
  • Do I charge my cell phone and computer regularly?

We also expect students to have some experience living independently for incremental periods of time including school, sleep-away camp, and overnight trips.