Graphic: The LifeCourse domain icons stacked

The icons on the left represent the different life domains that everyone, including families and people with disabilities or special health care needs, experiences.

Life domains are the different aspects and experiences of life that we all consider as we age and grow, such as daily life, community living, healthy living.

Everyone (whether they have a disability or not) has to figure out: what they are going to do during the day– go to school, volunteer, get a job; where they are going to live; how they are going to stay healthy and safe; and so on.

LifeCourse Legend

See below for a short description of the life domains as well as which topics and issues fall into each.

Daily Life & Employment

Daily Life LifeCourse icon

What a person does as part of everyday life– school, employment, volunteering, communication, routines, life skills.

During the early years, the focus is getting a child ready for school.  During the school years, the focus begins to turn to getting ready for adult life – working toward a vision of what the person will do after school ends, what kind of job they might have, and what their day-to-day life might look like.

Community Living

Community Living LifeCourse icon

Where and how someone lives– housing and living options, community access, transportation, home adaptations and modifications.

When a child is young, they usually live with their family. As they leave school, the young adult and/or their family may want to change their living situation, perhaps attending college and living in a dormitory, or getting an apartment with a friend. Learning skills and having responsibilities as a child will help to prepare for living life as an adult in the way the person and their family envisions!

Safety & Security

Safety & Security LifeCourse icon

Staying safe and secure– emergencies, well-being, guardianship options, legal rights and issues.

It is important to find a balance between helping someone stay safe and enabling them to make their own choices and decisions, and even learn from making occasional mistakes! You don’t want to give a person so much support and protection that they are unable to have any control of their own life. There are many skills that can be learned and practiced by children and adults that will assist them in being safe, secure and supported while being as self-determined as possible.

Healthy Living

Healthy Living LifeCourse icon 2.0

Managing and accessing health care and staying well– medical, mental health, behavior, developmental, wellness, and nutrition.

Living a healthy lifestyle and learning healthy habits begins early and continues throughout the life course.  Health and wellness is very important because it can positively or negatively affect other parts of a person’s life, such as their ability to go to school or work, live as independently as possible, go places and participate in the community, and associate with family and friends!  As children begin to transition to adult life, they begin to start taking control of their own health care to the best of their ability. This may mean making healthy choices in what to eat or exercise.  It might also mean taking control of or more actively participating in medications, doctor’s visits, and other health care decisions.

Social & Spirituality

Social & Spirituality LifeCourse icon

Building friendships and relationships, leisure activities, personal networks, faith community.

Having friends and personal connections in one’s life is key to having a happy and successful adult life. Friends and connections that children make during early and school years – at school, in community activities such as scouting or sports, or in their faith community – have an impact on their adult life. Those school or neighborhood friends may end up being future employers, neighbors, business owners, and most importantly, friends in adult life!

Citizenship & Advocacy

Citizenship & Advocacy LifeCourse icon

Building valued roles, making choices, setting goals, assuming responsibility and driving how one’s own life is lived.

Being known and valued in one’s community gives a person a sense of worth and of being a contributor and a good citizen, not just someone who needs assistance. Learning to make choices, set goals, and knowing how to speak up for wants and needs leads to being more self-determined in life and essential to becoming an advocate for yourself or others.