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  #41  
Old 14.02.2020, 09:50
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

I would say if you are really well of financially and you put your son in the best school here then why not. What does your son think? After all it mainly revolves around him. You have had your life . He is just starting.
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  #42  
Old 14.02.2020, 10:49
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

The hardest language requirements are for being accepted the 1st year of University. Language requirements relax as the program advances because bachelor graduates should be proficient in English. At least for ETH and EPFL, the ones I know.
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  #43  
Old 14.02.2020, 10:53
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

Well he can also do an everymans apprenticeship.
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  #44  
Old 14.02.2020, 12:55
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Thank you everyone for your thoughts and advice, especially concerning what a move at the age of 15 might mean for our son. This is something to consider much more in our coming days and I appreciate that you lending me your perspective. Although we are not wealthy, we are very, very lucky to have financial and social resources in both countries. My children have that gift, too. Seriously: how lucky for them! From the responses, I see that ageism and a general lack of inclusiveness seem to be problems everywhere and that is very sad and worth noting. I will keep looking for someone who might have first hand knowledge of accessing the adult disability services in both countries, which may not be on this forum. Thanks very much.

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Well he can also do an everymans apprenticeship.
Yes, we are having conversations about this. The truth is, none of us in my family or my husband's have taken a direct route with our education but have gone on to do wonderful things. As an american, I greatly admire the apprenticeship system.

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Welcome to the forum.

As for inclusiveness this may depend on individual circumstances, but my observations are that people with disabilities whether they be physical or otherwise are not as included in daily life as they are in other countries. Many live separately from their families in special homes where they may also have work facilities so do not mix that much with others. They are more segregated than is the case elsewhere. It's changing slowly, but you may find it not as welcoming as you expect. There is this organisation which may also be helpful to you

https://allspecialkids.org/
Thanks very much. We are very aware of the banking situation and will need to think more about this.

Interestingly, because so many replies cautioned that Switzerland may not be that inclusive despite our observations, I went searching for data! What I found is that Switzerland outperforms the US in every major indexes regarding disability inclusiveness. It is not at the the top of the list -- but well above the US. Very interesting to see measured like that.

Last edited by roegner; 14.02.2020 at 13:53. Reason: Please use the multiquote button? Next to the quote button
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  #45  
Old 14.02.2020, 14:16
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

The Organisation of Swiss Abroad (ASO) has information on returning to Switzerland and also on the Swiss education system:

https://www.aso.ch/en/consultation/back-to-switzerland

https://www.aso.ch/en/consultation/e...in-switzerland

This Swiss Federal government brochure on returning to Switzerland might also be worth reviewing:

https://www.eda.admin.ch/dam/eda/en/...hweizer_EN.pdf
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  #46  
Old 14.02.2020, 15:27
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

Christine, an organization that might be a good resource for you as you investigate services for the disabled is Pro Infirmis:

https://www.proinfirmis.ch

And Autismus Deutsch Schweiz:
https://www.autismus.ch/veranstaltungen.html

In talking to these folks, and with every organization, bureaucrat, social worker, counselor you speak to, stress that your son is a Swiss citizen.

Again, all the best.


ETA with a heads-up:

When speaking to Officialdom about finding resources for your older son, it might be best to turn that over to your husband. A Swiss citizen, speaking perfect German or even better Dialekt, is likely to get farther faster than you would. Come to think of it, the same is likely true when it comes to exploring education options for your younger son.
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  #47  
Old 14.02.2020, 15:41
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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Christine, an organization that might be a good resource for you as you investigate services for the disabled is Pro Infirmis:

https://www.proinfirmis.ch

And Autismus Deutsch Schweiz:
https://www.autismus.ch/veranstaltungen.html

In talking to these folks, and with every organization, bureaucrat, social worker, counselor you speak to, stress that your son is a Swiss citizen.

When speaking to Officialdom about finding resources for your older son, it might be best to turn that over to your husband. A Swiss citizen, speaking perfect German or even better Dialekt, is likely to get farther faster than you would. Come to think of it, the same is likely true when it comes to exploring education options for your younger son.
Thank you so much! We were in touch with ProInfirmis yesterday and have started a dialog. I will look into the other organization. That's a good tip about what to stress and who to let do the talking. Thank you.
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  #48  
Old 14.02.2020, 16:29
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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As for inclusiveness this may depend on individual circumstances, but my observations are that people with disabilities whether they be physical or otherwise are not as included in daily life as they are in other countries. Many live separately from their families in special homes where they may also have work facilities so do not mix that much with others. They are more segregated than is the case elsewhere. It's changing slowly, but you may find it not as welcoming as you expect. There is this organisation which may also be helpful to you
You’ve said this before I think but that is totally not how it is here.
These things may vary depending on the canton as is the case with so many things here but in Neuchâtel at least the aim is for people with disabilities to be integrated into normal life as much as possible.

There are at least 10 people with obvious difficulties ( Down’s syndrome, autism, other learning difficulties, leg brace etc) of some kind working in the large coop here for example.
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  #49  
Old 14.02.2020, 17:18
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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You’ve said this before I think but that is totally not how it is here.
These things may vary depending on the canton as is the case with so many things here but in Neuchâtel at least the aim is for people with disabilities to be integrated into normal life as much as possible.

There are at least 10 people with obvious difficulties ( Down’s syndrome, autism, other learning difficulties, leg brace etc) of some kind working in the large coop here for example.
As you say it varies. I can only go by what I've seen around here. We have a home for people with disabilities in our village and also there's a place in Marly where they both live and work in the same building.

As said, things are changing. Switzerland is moving more towards getting them out into the world, living and working on their own if they can whereas when we first moved here over 20 years ago that simply wasn't the case.
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  #50  
Old 14.02.2020, 18:50
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

I'd like to add something specifically about your 15-year-old.

If you ask him to imagine the move, to fastforward to various ages: the first 3 weeks, the first 6 months, the next 2 or 3 years, and when he's 20 (and a real man with his parents not pushing him around anymore... sorry, from a teenage perspective), then does he think Switzerland or the USA would be a better option for him, and what are his reasons? Naturally, he might not be able to assess the situation accurately, but how he fares here will depend to a large extent on his own willingness, or lack thereof, to be here and do improve his German and to figure out how to do things the Swiss way.

Some think such a move, at this phase of his life, would be too disruptive, and that may be the case.
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I absolutely would not do this to your 15 year old. ...
If you are desperate to move now, put him into a private American school when you get here.
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I do agree that 15 is a very difficult age to come here and would only really be feasible if he went to an International school.
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Especially for the 15 y.o. one, what a shock it will be. From all possibilities to very few.....hmmmm, I wouldn't do that to him. Seriously, a lot of parents overlook what it really means to uproot their children. Children adapt, true, yet one never knows if they will thank you later or deeply resent you. If I were OP, I would make sure my child and I! understand what is being asked from him, what are his options in the new education system, will he be happy with maybe going to a different path than planned etc. etc. Lots of questions to be answered when taking this decision, and each family member's interests to be taken into consideration...IMHO.
I'd like to pick up on something of greenmount's post, about how children can grow up to resent their parents' decisions, and to point out that it can go both ways. There's also the possibility of the 30-year-old son looking back asking: "Why on earth, when I was 15, didn't you at least let me have that chance of trying out life in Switzerland? How could you not have given me that opportunity?!"

A lot can depends on the teenager's assessment of himself and upon his own determinatoin. If he himself thinks that he's always wanted to spend more time here getting in touch with this half of his identity, if he thinks it'll be exciting and a great chance to seize opportunities he does not have where he lives now, if he thinks this is an amazing thing that he has this possibility to live on the European continent, in short, if he wants to try out life in Switzerland, and if he has understood that this will involve, at least to start with, quite a lot of hard work learning German and acculturalising, then... he has a good chance of making it work.

I venture to say that because I can count a number of people who arrived between the ages of 14 and 18, who were absolutely determined to learn the local language (I deem this to be essential) and did so, and to figure out the Swiss system and who achieved that, and who were willing to put in the extra hours to adapt and get on with it, and who are now successful in their work and careers. But ya gotta wanna. And you, your husband, and your 15-year-old need to try to know this about his inner attitude and vision.

Another aspect is to list, very clearly, the opportunities he has where he is now, and to determine whether he would lose these irrevocably if he left now, or whether, if Switzerland doesn't work out for him, he could return to the USA and re-build his life there.

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  #51  
Old 14.02.2020, 19:28
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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... it can go both ways....
Absolutely. And thank you for framing this a little bit differently. It is such a layered and nuanced decision. And all that you mentioned about personality and willingness are so, so important. For everything in life, really. For us it isn't just about educational opportunities. It is about proximity to family -- We are getting older and our children have no living relatives in the US. That is a big draw for my son. But also, if we stay in the US my younger son may have more worries in the future if his parents are no longer around and his brother's needs are not being met, as they are not now. Sometimes -- most of the time -- you have to pick which variable you solve for and do your best for the others.
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  #52  
Old 14.02.2020, 19:59
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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I venture to say that because I can count a number of people who arrived between the ages of 14 and 18, who were absolutely determined to learn the local language (I deem this to be essential) and did so, and to figure out the Swiss system and who achieved that, and who were willing to put in the extra hours to adapt and get on with it, and who are now successful in their work and careers. But ya gotta wanna. And you, your husband, and your 15-year-old need to try to know this about his inner attitude and vision.

Another aspect is to list, very clearly, the opportunities he has where he is now, and to determine whether he would lose these irrevocably if he left now, or whether, if Switzerland doesn't work out for him, he could return to the USA and re-build his life there.
Yes, this is exactly what I also recommended - to find out exactly where the younger son stands.
I know a couple of families with older kids who went back to their home country. Kids had a difficult time trying to adapt. I have friends whose older daughter wants to live with her grandparents back home (parents' country). She doesn't like the school, her colleagues, she doesn't like it here... It is not the language, she's perfectly fluent in German and Swiss German. It might also be a "teenager thing", who knows. Switzerland can be tough, especially if you don't have any relatives here, or a nice circle of friends etc. which is not the case for OP. That really can change everything!
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  #53  
Old 14.02.2020, 23:08
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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I'm curious about your thoughts about disability in the US. Have you had the experience of living here? I'd be curious where, if you don't mind telling me. We live in a fairly small city -- but one with 2 universities -- and the long term situation is very depressing.
I will try to answer and address some of your issues re. disabilities. Of course there are all different types of disabilities and different experiences, but here goes. In my mother's small town in usa there is a number of disabled adults that are integrated in the society, i. e., they are at the fourth of July parade, at concerts in the park, and some work at mc Donald's. They are involved in all aspects of the local community. Here in CH, I have never seen the same. Often you will see a disabled adult with a very elderly parent, alone. I've never seen any at social gatherings or concerts etc., and never as part of the usual workforce. Although I must say, first time last month I found a wheel chair bound employee at sportxx, which is an absolute first in 25 years in ch, so maybe things are starting to change. Further, a village acquaintance worked at an institution for disabled children here, so disabled children are often still institutionalized and also sent to separate special schools. In USA, most are now integrated in the normal schools with extra help. That is rare here and schools are just not set up or adapted to integrate special needs kids. Thus, I find, probably as a result of this separation, society here is not so accepting and believes disabled people are different and should remain separate. Further, again its gradually changing, but there has been no legal requirements here to give access to disabled persons like in USA. Only in the last few years have some buses and trains been adapted for physical handicapped, and still many public buildings, restaurants, shops, etc. are not adapted.
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  #54  
Old 15.02.2020, 00:31
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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.... In USA, most are now integrated in the normal schools with extra help. That is rare here and schools are just not set up or adapted to integrate special needs kids....
Thank you! I suppose this is why I wanted to follow up on my observations -- they can definitely be deceptive. I've been working as a Statewide advocate for inclusive education for the past 10 years, so I'm very well versed in the statistics and can tell you that only 37% of autistic children are, in fact, included in a classroom with their non-disabled peers. Most are in "special" settings. Also, I found a study from 2019 that measured inclusiveness indicators globally and it suggests that Switzerland, in fact, out performs the US by a pretty significant degree. This is all probably more than you wanted to know but I live and breathe this stuff and have for a long time so it could be that you and I just notice different things. I do appreciate your taking the time. I value hearing your perspective!
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Old 15.02.2020, 00:59
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

Christine,

Just like in the US, in Switzerland so much is local.

Countrywide stats can be pretty much meaningless because the services available will depend on where you live. Town X may provide all the bells and whistles, while just down the road in town Y it may take constant blood, sweat, toil, and tears on your part to access even the bare minimum.

Do you know where you will likely live? If you haven't yet decided, make sure you understand not only what is available, but also local attitudes.

An example: The trains out here recently installed an audio warning signal that doors are opening and closing, an accomodation for blind travelers.

Well, at one end of the line most passengers could be overheard remarking on what a wonderful addition.

On the other end of the line the majority were complaining about the noise, dramatically covering their ears and muttering about starting petitions.

The train line spans about 30 minutes - and a few centuries in local attitudes towards tolerance and inclusivity.

I take it you'll have a temporary place to stay on arrival? That's good, as it will give you time to do real in-depth research into the communities you are considering for your longer term housing.
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Old 15.02.2020, 01:12
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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Christine,

Just like in the US, in Switzerland so much is local.

Do you know where you will likely live? If you haven't yet decided, make sure you understand not only what is available, but also local attitudes.

An example: The trains out here recently installed an audio warning signal that doors are opening and closing, an accomodation for blind travelers.

Well, at one end of the line most passengers could be overheard remarking on what a wonderful addition.

On the other end of the line the majority were complaining about the noise, dramatically covering their ears and muttering about starting petitions.

The train line spans about 30 minutes - and a few centuries in local attitudes towards tolerance and inclusivity.

I take it you'll have a temporary place to stay on arrival? That's good, as it will give you time to do real in-depth research into the communities you are considering for your longer term housing.
Yes, I agree that it is hard all over for marginalized people and so much is dependent on individual circumstances. We are very lucky to have a flat available to us for as long as we like in a small but convenient village in the canton of Aargau. We will be there starting in June this year and will begin seeing what is available.
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Old 15.02.2020, 01:34
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

Christine, what would you think would be the ideal situation for your elder son? If he could have the kind of setting that would be just right for him, what would that look like? What would he himself like to see, and what do you, your husband and younger son (and possibly professionals involved with your elder son, now) think? For example: home/education/work/social/therapy/treatment/health and care/sport/hobby/entertainment?

I think (but admit I haven't gone back to re-read) that you wrote that you are his full-time carer. And this next question is asked very gently, but... why? Why is that so, when he clearly has at least some competencies, if he's been the one enabling the communication between you and your mother-in-law. What does he need to support him, that you provide? What can he learn? Could you envisage his having support from others in addition or instead of you? Please note that these are not questions I mean your replying to here, in the sense that I'm not at all challenging that position, nor am I suggesting or recommending that you try to discuss his life here in public.

I've asked, though, since you are involved in the work around "inclusion", and since you know your son, so I feel sure that you must have some hopes, some ideal, less-than-ideal, must-have, no-go, dreadful-disappointment, good-enough, lovely-bonus attributes about ways he could live safely.

The other posters are completely right to point out that things differ a lot, not just from Canton to Canton, but even from municipality to municipality. This forum's users are all over the country, so if you tried to describe something along those lines of what you seek for him, or hope to build up, then perhaps someone here would recognise something similar and be able to tell you in which region such support might be had.

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Old 15.02.2020, 02:11
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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Christine, what would you think would be the ideal situation for your elder son? If he could have the kind of setting that would be just right for him, what would that look like? What would he himself like to see, and what do you, your husband and younger son (and possibly professionals involved with your elder son, now) think? For example: home/education/work/social/therapy/treatment/health and care/sport/hobby/entertainment?.
Yes, thank you. I really appreciate this line of thinking and your taking the time to ask the questions you did. These are all things we want to explore and begin to articulate. Where we live now he is incredibly isolated, with no chance at the moment for any kind of services or programs when he turns 18. He is on a waiting list and we know, sadly, many who have been waiting more than 10 years, still living at home with their parents with no regular social interactions. We hope to find a situation where he can *at least* try to live semi-independently and have access to social and sporting activities. He is a cyclist, a hiker and a swimmer so we want him to have be able to participate in these activities with people other than us as we age. We want him to have a sense of belonging and self-determination.

Because my SIL (swiss) is disabled, we have some family expertise in the area to help guide us. A lot is yet to be determined and I'll no doubt come back to this forum with much more specific questions in the as we move forward. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what we discover and what is possible.
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Old 15.02.2020, 07:19
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

Okay, that's something to go on. Since, as you say, you already have some family expertise, perhaps some of us from the forum might link to things you already know about. But let's give it a go, just in case someone mentions something that you and your SIL (sister-in-law (?) or is it son-in-law, as, in... do you have a third child who is already married?) haven't yet come across.

One of the aspects I've found remarkable about Switzerland, is that if you happen to knock on the door of a government department, or of a non-profit organisation, or an advice bureau, and they don't happen to be offering exactly what you need, they may very well take the time to point you towards other services. They're often surprisingly well networked, partly because Switzerland is a very, very small country, divided again by languages, so within any field as the staff go on further training, or change jobs, they keep meeting one another. Therefore, if one of the links here doesn't seem to apply to your situation, remember that those people might be able to open the door to a next organisation.

Just as members of the public can have a coffee in the café of a hospital or clinic, so too some "homes", and organisations, have a section which is open to the public, and/or open to people who used to live there, or who are considering living there, or just as a social club. For example, I knew someone who grew up in a children's home, and then afterward, as a young adult, used to hang around there with the other kids on a Friday evening, watching a movie... this was particularly designed to help keep a connection to those who had fallen out of the system on account of having turned 18.

Sport
https://www.procap.ch/de/angebote/re...-inklusiv.html

https://kek.zh.ch/internet/gesundhei...lolympics.html


Autism Assisted Living, by Canton
https://www.autismus.ch/adressen/sonstige/heime.html but even if you're not looking for assisted living, perhaps worth enquiring for your other needs


Courses to learn skills needed for independent living
https://www.sebit-aargau.ch/
Here's an article about them.
This is to help people who have been in some sort of home/institution, or in an assisted living facility or shared accommodation guided by a social worker, to learn the various skills necessary to be able to live independently. It is, (or was?) geared towards people with coginitive deficits... but please remember what I said about asking at what is slightly to the left or the right of your son's actual needs.
Unfortunately, here it says that to be admitted to the sebit course, it is a pre-requisite that one have a Swiss Disability Pension.
See, at https://www.sebit-aargau.ch/downloads/, "Wie geht das mit den Kosten....?"
Rules in Switzerland are kept, strictly, procedure is adhered to, and most especially the "oldies" want to get a sense that the newbies are making every effort to learn the local language, and to understand the Swiss culure. People who are judged to be swaggering or demanding are not appreciated or accommodated. Even so, sometimes people are willing or able to bend a rule a little, especially if it is clearly for a very good reason which is in line with the main purpose. Always worth asking. Best ask for advice, what they would recommend, etc.

Living without Parents
https://insieme.ch/leben-im-alltag/e...eltern-wohnen/


Social contact
https://portal.autismus.ch/veranstaltungen
Scroll down to, for example, 18.04.2020 and 25.04.2020, and dates beyond that

https://www.autismus.ch/informations...estaltung.html
contains a list of links to other organisations which offer/organise social events and activities, including sports, theater, scounts and art. These are aimed at families, and also for single people.

Last edited by doropfiz; 15.02.2020 at 13:00.
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Old 15.02.2020, 08:47
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Re: Moving/Retiring to CH

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Yes, thank you. I really appreciate this line of thinking and your taking the time to ask the questions you did. These are all things we want to explore and begin to articulate. Where we live now he is incredibly isolated, with no chance at the moment for any kind of services or programs when he turns 18. He is on a waiting list and we know, sadly, many who have been waiting more than 10 years, still living at home with their parents with no regular social interactions. We hope to find a situation where he can *at least* try to live semi-independently and have access to social and sporting activities. He is a cyclist, a hiker and a swimmer so we want him to have be able to participate in these activities with people other than us as we age. We want him to have a sense of belonging and self-determination.
You understand well that it is the way it is done here, for people without difficulties, too. How it is done is often viewed negatively by newcomers. It can be quite drastic, those who are trained to be independent are on their own. Detaching so they could learn their independence. Kids walk to school on their own at the age of 4, in the dark. It is how it's done and nobody organizes that. People with disabilities are trained the same way. Inclusion is only done and possible because overall people have gone through years of detaching and independence. It is inclusion in real life but because they are not really treated with special measures. Facilities are available sometimes, it is expensive for the system, most is organized by family. You can train your child to be independent, and should, imho, not wait for the system to provide groups or support facility.

Your other children might have tougher lives because of this, but over all, young people adapt well and welcome change, better than us. If family and relatives is what you are after, maybe children will find their own circles here (than those you chose for them), I think they will, I see it every day. They will be very independent and include themselves where you do not expect it, usually. I like it here for that, it is a very "let live" culture.

Good for you embracing change and getting out of comfort zone. Hope it works and that it doesn't leave you exhausted, organizing everyone's independence. Think of yourself, too.
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