Our story

Our experiences and services used for our special needs young adult son. Also a sister blog to our caregiving & caring for elderly parents.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Beautiful Article - I Agree Heartily!!

picture from MSN post

A wonderful post today on MSN: "I am not a scientist, but I am a mother — I know why my son has autism". Carrie Cariello goes through the theories behind why children get autism, apparently the latest being circumcision, the bonding, being told what foods to eat, etc. Her 5 year old son summed it up nicely - he was 'bornd-ed with it'. She was also approached by another mom whose daughter is in her son's class and bravo to this young lady - she heard another child tell him that he was weird but she came to his defense saying 'he is exactly the way he is supposed to be'.

That he is. He is what God intended him to be. I cannot go back in time to definitely tell environmental, genetic, food issues -- Will came to us at 2 1/2 years old, we were his 4th home. He was already showing signs of autism. We know a little bit of background: he was a premie (born at 5 1/2 months gestation at 5 pounds 6 ounces), his mom was doing drugs. Was this a cause?? Haven't heard much with the drug issue. His past foster homes were a variety of situations from abusive to no one paying attention to him (stuck in a playpen in front of a TV), to a another foster mom taking time to read to him and learn his alphabet.

I love the fact that Carrie goes through a list of what drives her crazy about autistic characteristics and what endears those features to her. I have my own list:

* From when he wakes up to when he goes to bed, the conversations about food never ends and it always is the same -- he wants either hamburgers or pizza and a salad and ice cream.

* He constantly focuses on vacation - when are we going and where. It use to be we could tell him the facts and it would stop the constant asking. Now it just promps him to continually show us (and anyone else who will listen) a calendar and write where we are headed (or where he thinks we are headed).

* He always talks about his CCD classes and when they are (even though it is on the calendar) as well as when we are going to church.

* Right from the dawn of day, he constantly talks about taking his shower and shaving even though he knows the time of day that usually occurs.

* He is always showing us a DVD he wants to watch. We tell him to put it on (he knows how to work the DVD player and the remotes involved) but he walks away to the computer and will come back when someone else is watching something to try again and again and again and again.

But then come the hugs, at times when you least expect them. Although at times, you know a hug is coming when he wants something (just like any other child). He will put away his clothes, clean off the table, put food away in the refridgerator, you guessed it - when he wants something. But he is who he is, just like any other child or 23 year old young man. He tests my patience every day, he tests my ability to finish what I am doing with his constant interruptions of the same thing. But when he is not here, after I enjoy some peacefullness and quiet, I do look forward to him coming home so the daily barrage of the same topics of conversation can start again - usually I try some other way to get through them like talk to dad, we'll figure that out after supper.

So Carrie, thank you for the wonderful article and insight. We can all relate, we can all add our own twist on this.

Friday, January 9, 2015

End of Year Financial Reporting.

I am not a legal or financial accredited person. I can only speak from personal situations. Please contact a local professional who specializes in these matters to help answer questions.

Well it is the start of a new year and the old year has to be accounted for. As guardians for Willie, we are responsible for his finances. I brought out all his paperwork which ranged from receipts to bank statements to pay stubs. The past few years I had been pretty well organized but quickly found out that this year, I am not so lucky. While I have been, literally, stuffing all this paper into an envelope (so everything is in one place - good!) I have not been balancing it all out, copying off his monthly statements. He had primarily a savings account; then I decided to open a checking account since with a ATM/debit/charge card attached to it, it would be easier to keep track of things. So when his SSI money started being deposited into the checking account, I closed the savings account with all intentions of making copies of his statements BEFORE the bank stopped putting them online. You can guess what happened -- I did not do that so now I am missing some transactions and have to go to the bank and have them help me out. Lucky them!!

So I write this with hopes of reaching someone reading this -- be more organized. Every month balance out the account, while it is good to have all receipts in one location, at least have them organized by month, have receipts written out for any money taken out for things like sitters (not respite), trips to the barber shop. I use a receipt book like you would use for rent receipts. Will likes to buy snacks at his day program so I send in money and they send a receipt.

Now to lay it all out, match it all up. Soon I will receive forms through the mail for Probate Court so I need all the information ready to go showing how his money was received and spent. Last year, mid-year, I received forms from Social Security
asking me to account for his spending so I need this information again because they will do the same. You can probably assume that one of my New Years resolutions is to be more organized, at least with Will's things, so I will try. My plans are to put all papers and receipts in an accordion folder, divided by month to make life easier.

While all this is good for guardianship for a special needs adult child, the same principles can hold for taking care of an elderly parent. They may need to get better organized as well, for YOUR sake, if you need to step in and take over or find a bill that needs to be paid while they may be just in the hospital or rehab for a period of time. As time goes on, you may need to step in as guardian or get Power of Attorney to handle matters. Start the talk with your parents, get information from a local professional. Be prepared!

Other resources you may want to check out for additional views: Friendship Circle, Families.com, Disabled World, Special Needs Alliance, Special Needs.com.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A new term for me with Will.

Will came home from his adult day program with a note on his iPad about a 'not-so-good-day' that he had -- apparently he was frustrated a lot and they saw a few incidents of 'Self Injurious Behavior' or 'SIB'. Now knowing Will is not violent or has ever exhibited any issues of what I thought was SIB, like head banging or biting, I got worried. Yes sometimes he balls his hand into a fist and will hit his headphones or chin lightly, or will dance and jump around and slap his thigh, I never realized this was SIB. Granted it was not a behavior I liked or endorsed and we were trying to stop it. So I decided to take a look into it and read about it. I have not found anything yet that specifically targets adults, just children but I guess most of what they write can be used for adults with autism. An ezine article, 'Treating Autism Symptoms in Your Child', by Craig Kendall tells of several reasons why your child might do this. One is that they might be overwhelmed or overstimulated and need to focus on something internal or external and pain does that. Second is that the child might need more tactile feedback. Third, if the child hits ears, it may be a sign of an ear infection. Lastly Craig states that it may be related to a specific type of seizure so contact your physician. He also states that when a child is non-verbal, there is a frustration of not being able to communicate. So besides the obvious of finding a communication method, we should also work on teaching the child ways to lessen the frustration like through diet, relaxation techniques, exercise, or deep pressure. We try to get Will to type out what he feels though this is hard for him to do. Of course, you can keep a record of what is happening that triggers this SIB that will help to stop it before it happens. In Will's case, he does it when he is happy or sad, when he listens to his music or on the computer or just sitting quiet. Of course, seek medical help if you are not sure what to do or talk to your child's teachers or therapists. Another article by Gary Heffner, "Introduction to Self Injurious Behavior" from Autism Help, states: 'It would make sense that the seriousness of the self-injury should direct the choice of treatment. A child's whose life is in danger should receive the most aggressive treatment. The choice of treatment needs to be up to the parent, of course. In some countries or states, there may be laws that limit the type of treatment a child may receive, however. These laws may require treating self-injurious behavior with positive behavioral programs and outlaw the use of aversives, even when the self-injury is life-threatening. Read how one parent described this approach: "Currently, there are 100's of autistic people being tortured by ineffective, tedious and ridiculous "positive behavioral programs" - Worse, even when these autistic people have repeatedly failed to respond to these conventional methods, several state laws have prohibited the use of mild aversive therapy, which - ironically is one of the most safe, effective and humane therapies used to protect a compulsive self-injurious autistic person-who has otherwise NOT responded to a plethora of conventional interventions. It's a crime to allow a person to continue injuring themselves...and the worst is the on-going practice of behavioral psychologists taking data - yes data - counting the number of times the autistic person smashes their skull with their fists, or rips their hair out... it's called a "functional analysis" - and this practice should be illegal. I never want any family or child to suffer the unbelievable hell we experienced dealing with uncontrollable self-injurious behavior. Families should know what the alternatives are to help their child. Skin-stimulus therapy is very effective in that small population of self-injurious children, who have otherwise NOT responded to other therapies. Many people do not realize that it's extremely complex to treat a profoundly-autistic or profoundly-disabled person's self-injurious behaviors - as they have limited cognitive abilities; hence don't respond favorably to ignoring, re-direction or pharmaceutical interventions. The skin-shock works best for compulsive self-abuse, as it acts like a nudge on a record player that keeps playing. It's like it "startles' the otherwise very distant autistic child into reality. It actually teaches them self-control. Some of these types of autistic children are on a very primitive level - and it's hard for others to accept that they simply don't respond to conventional therapies." (An anonymous parent). Try the non-aversive procedures first, but for those children whose seriously self-injurious behavior has not responded to these procedures, it may pay to look at aversive strategies as well.'

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Special needs or special talents to be discovered.

I have not been able to write much lately due to family issues but found I had to share stories I have been coming across. We hear and see stories about special needs children and young adults and challenges they face daily. Yes, it is true; they have a lot to overcome. Yet there surfaces stories about those who do overcome. They are happy in what they do and become very adept at their talents. Here are their stories.

From LifeNews: "Kyle Maynard is a motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur and athlete. Despite being born with arms that end at the elbows and legs near the knees, Kyle’s wrestled for one of the best teams in the Southeast, set records in weightlifting, fought in mixed martial arts, and most recently became the first man to crawl on his own to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa." Born with a condition known as congenital amputation, his parents set out to have him live a life a normal life. Kyle lives on his own, can type and eat without aids, drive with little adaptations. He was 'GNCs World's Strongest Teen', was ESPY Award Winner (Best Athlete with a Disability), was inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame; is a certified instructor of CrossFit - working with wounded soldiers adapting their fitness regime to their needs. Best of luck!

Here is Ben Jackson, born with cerebral palsy but has decided he would rather wrestle. He is working on competing on the international level. Keep up the good work!

Zachery Mackenzie was born with hypo plastic left heart syndrome which means that the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped. Doctors told his mom that should he be born live, he probably would not live a few days. Now he turns 19 and just graduated high school. Surgery and prayers got the family through the hard times when he was growing up. Where you headed now?

Congratulations to Natalia, Natty, Goleniowska for winning a spot in the back-to-school ad for a store in the United Kingdom, Salinsbury. What's really the big deal? Natty has Downs Syndrome. As the Downs Syndrome Association states - Downs Syndrome children are a part of everyday life and therefore should be included in advertising and that Natty was a delight to work with. Way to go!

Chris Koch is a dedicated farmer at Apricot Lane Farms in California doing just about anything that other workers are doing, including driving a tractor. Please watch his amazing video. I hope to learn from his undying tenacity.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A mom's ingenuity!

(pictures from Daily Mail/Mail Online) From the mind of a mom whose son has cerebral palsy - a walking harness, an 'Upsee'. Debby Elnatan's idea was put into production by a company in Northern Ireland, Leckey. This support harness, as you can see by the picture, has the child attached to an adult and so he/she can 'walk' with them. Today was the global launching of the 'Firefly Upsee'.
The harness attaches to the adult's waist and the child's legs move in step with them to get training to walk. Hands stay free. From Claire Canale, Firefly's clinical research manager and occupational therapist: "Short-term, the Upsee improves special needs family participation and quality of life, while research suggests it has the potential to help with physical and emotional development in the longer term. It has been humbling to see the progress and happiness the Upsee is creating; watching children to do simple things for the first time such as kicking a ball or playing with a sibling is wonderful for everyone involved, but especially the families.' You can check out the Firefly website here. This company and Leckey offer items for disabled and special needs children. Leckey covers mobility, bathing & toileting, sleeping, early intervention, etc.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Almost the 2 week period after starting adult services.

Well, it has been an interesting 2 weeks. Willie has seemed to settle in relatively well with the facility. It took some time for him to get used to the new location -- new faces, new noises, new schedule. They let him get comfortable by letting him stay on the computer for a while each day (which he loved). Then they decided it was time for him to get to work. He gave them some grief, but after I suggested they put his schedule on his iPad, he would be fine (it might take a couple of days) but it would work. I had alredy set up a general schedule they just broke it down accordingly. He has seemed to settle in well with that. They also had an issue with him when it came time to leave. He would see others leaving and he was still waiting and would cry. We put a time in his schedule when he had to 'wait for a ride'. That seemed to pacify him.
The biggest problem we have had has been with transportation. He was approved for RIde and all along we have been pointing out their vans/small buses as his future transportation mode. Well, what I did not realize was that if there was no available van/bus, he would be going in a taxi!! I rode with him the first day (which was my plan all along) - in a taxi. He seemed Ok, said he wanted to go by himself. Then I tried him alone -- some days good, some days not so good. He was getting upset, crying, tried to open the taxi door at one point, while it was in motion. Got a call from the company -- now we have a safety issue so he has been temporarily suspended from the program. So the case manager and I are putting our heads together to find a solution - right now I drop him off and pick him up everyday. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind it but we are trying to give our young adults independence and teach them how to get around and how to deal with people outside the family. We will not always be here. But the trip is about 80 miles a day (round trip 2 times a day). Yes Will and I picked the facility!!! We tried a more local facility but they were not taking names at the time. This place is wonderful with a great reputation. The people are great and have been very patient and understanding. I can call at any time to talk to someone.
Anyway - one travel solution was for a family friend to take Will a couple times a week (we would pay for his/her time); the other is to meet up with the facility's own van they use to pick up more local clients, maybe at a halfway point. This way he can ride with his peers in a vehicle he is more familiar with. So now we wait to see which way to go. We are too far for their own van to come and get him. Then we can work Will into a RIde vehicle after he has settled in more, if we need to. Anyone out there with suggestions??

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Musical success for a boy without arms.

(picture from LifeNews)
Meet Jamir Wallace from New Jersey. Born without arms, he watched his sister play the piano and decided he needed to choose an instrument to learn. He picked the trumpet and has never stopped playing. His family and music teacher encouraged him and found someone who was able to make a special stand for his trumpet, which he plays with his feet. Jamir's classmates, teachers, and of course family all push his strengths and what he can do, especially playing in the Green Street Elementary School Band. The story might seem familiar - remember Tony Melendez, who plays the guitar with his feet. Just to add, Jamir is also learning to play the guitar and was able to spend his 8th birthday with Tony at a concert in East Brunswick, NJ. Jamir is being mentored by a local high school senior, Dan Servantes, who will be attending Berklee College of Music and says Jamir has a gift for music. The can-do attitude will get him far in life, as they don't look at themselves as being disabled, as we should not. To watch his video, click here.


Department of Rehabilitative Services:

Updating the family calender, I am reminded of Will's IEP/transition meeting coming up in January. Seeing that, I have to go through his file of 'stuff' I have already started to apply for and/or need to update - to bring with me so I can find out what the next steps will be. He leaves school this next December - on to bigger and better things.

I find in the handouts from the transition seminar, information on our Office of Rehabilitative Services (ORS). The national website is under the Department of Education. The office offers career planning for students with disabilities, they help prepare eligible people to prepare for and obtain employment. Each person is assigned a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor who helps the individual and his/her family to make good choices in their planning.

The VR counselor offers assistance in a variety of ways: *providing career information
*assisting in choosing employment goals, services, and training
*develops an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)
*provides information on programs and services for transitioning
*helps with guidance and counseling
*vocational assessment & community job trials
*on-the-job training

You need to apply to ORS. Ask your child's teacher who from ORS is assigned to your school and a parent or guardian MUST attend the meeting if the child is under 18 years old. If the counselor determines that a vocational assessment is needed, arrangements may be made through school and done during school hours. The results will be shared with family, school personnel, an evaluation team and the counselor - all can help the student develop career goals.
ORS may even help pay for post-secondary training, certification, license, or college degree, books, supplies, specialized tools - you get the picture. It may even go as far as helping to pay for bus transportation and gas. Assistive technology can possibly be included or software if needed for a computer to complete assignments.

ORS offers a lot of help and direction for those getting ready to transition out into the work world. Make sure you contact your local office or school for any information you may need.

Michael Garcia

Three Cheers for Michael Garcia!!!

(Milo's picture from 'Today Moms' website)

I came across a story on "Today Moms" about a waiter in a restaurant in Texas who defended a 5 year old boy with Downs Syndrome. Milo was at the restaurant with his family, who are regulars, and was showing off his new words and telling Michael Garcia, the waiter, about his birthday. At another table nearby was another family who are also regulars. They asked to move away from Milo's family and a man sitting there said 'special needs children need to be special somewhere else'. To which Michael replied 'I am not going to be able to serve you Sir.' YES!! Good for you!!! More people should be like you Michael.

Michael was afraid he would lose his job but more people have been turning up at the restaurant to shake his hand. There have been lots of postings on the restaurant's Facebook page. The family has been going there for so long, Milo and Michael even have a special way of going to their table when the family arrives -- Michael always carried Milo.

As many other families, they have had their share of stares and parents pulling their children away from Milo when out, like on a playground. We too had something similar happen when Will was young. He was about 4 and we went to a family type of restaurant, sat down next to a party of 4-5. Will, who is autistic, is non-verbal and back then had no way to communicate except to make a noise (AH-AH or similar) when he wanted something. A woman at that table told us we should leave him at home and that she too had special needs children and they would never act that way when out. My mother got on her 'grandmother high horse' and told that woman if she didn't like the noise, feel free to move to another table on the other side of the restaurant - her grandson is fine and that's the only way he can express himself whether she liked it or not!! The wait staff kept on serving us and was attentive to Will. We're going back probably 16 years ago, so keep doing what they were doing was probably comparable to a member of the waitstaff standing up to a customer.

They stayed put but were not happy and the evil looks continued.

We can only hope that this ignorance will someday disappear. As Milo's mom puts it “Maybe next time they’ll think twice before they utter those words or say something derogatory about somebody else.”

iPad Communication

I attended an iPad workshop that Will's teacher had told me about. It was given by a local company, Tech Access, that evaluates and gives special needs students communication devices to use while in school and to take home during this time as well. There were only a few of us there but this seems to be a useful tool for those specializing in Speech Therapy and are teacher assistants working with special needs students (one other person was a parent).

While the instructor went over all the basics of how to set it, use it, make folders, delete icons, etc., we did touch upon some apps that are good for special needs. Going through the App Store can take time - as he said - you really have to be specific or you get thousands of results. There are free apps and those with a small fee, as well as those that can cost upwards to $200.00 (US dollars). The program we use for Willie is called 'Assistive Chat' which I think was about $35.oo US dollars. Others at the workshop were using 'Proloquo2Go' which runs about $200.00 It depends on what your child can do -- "Assistive Chat" is more for someone who can type and knows words; Prologuo has pictures that you can use along with words. One way to help with this dilemma is to go to AppShopper. This is NOT connected to Apple. There you will find a lot of apps for iPads and iPhones as well as Macs, along with their price changes (if applicable), new apps, app updates. Check it out - great site!! One drawback, even on the 'iTunes store', is that the majority of apps are for younger children, not high school. Even though he does work like a younger student, the pictures and manner of presentation is too young for him. So if you have a pre-schooler or elementary aged child -- you are good to go!!

One good one for those who like to 'see' the results of an action -- 'Songify'. Speak or breath into your Android device and the app will turn the action into a song.

Also, he mentioned a website called 'Moms with Apps'. While this site will include all sorts of apps for all varieties of skills and needs, it also invites app developers to share their programs -- see "App Friday". I checked out 'App Resources for Special Needs', went to 'Mashable article on iPads and disabilities' and not only found apps for children but a couple of them for seniors: one memory practice one that was created by someone who's mom has Alzheimer's and two for medication reminders (though one was NOT available in the US store). You can check out a previous post regarding 'Tech Items for Seniors' that had ideas from 'Senior Savvy' regarding the same.

Of course YouTube has everything!!! The instructor was talking about different types of a stylus pen for people who cannot type and have a hard time holding onto a pen - type device. Of course you can buy one but you can also make your own. Check out a variety of YouTube videos to make one. TechAccess also has instructions.

Spend some time in the 'iTunes store' and the 'AppShopper'. Check with your child's teacher and speech therapist so see what will be good. Find a workshop in your area. Time well spent!

Will's New iPad for Communicating.

We picked up an iPad for Will this weekend and downloaded 'Assistive Chat' for him as his communication program. There were 3 choices for a voice output, so I played each for him and let him choose - one was male, one female and one 'mechanical' for lack of a better word: Ryan, Kenny and Heather. He chose Ryan.

There were choices for the voice output to 'speak' every letter, word or sentence when done - we chose the latter. As a person types, there are predictive words that come up, so you really do not need to spell the entire word - just tap the appropriate tab.

As per usual, Will has attempted NOT to use it - this is his usual M.O. When something is new, he puts off using it, especially when he feels there is no need. "Mom knows what I am talking about!", I am sure this goes through his head - which I do but a lot of people who don't know Will's version of sign, have no clue what he is saying and THIS is what he needs to be prepared for.

I think once he gets to school and can see the other ones that are being used, he'll get into it. He is also more apt to follow his teacher's constant request to use it, rather than ours.

Getting Excited About Communicating the 'i' Way.

Today we had our transition meeting regarding how things stand for Will - what we need to do, who we need to contact, etc., since he will be done with school in December of this year. It seems we are on-track, no additional school testing needs to be done, unless some social service agency needs it. Right now, we wait to hear from one agency; we are not sure if we need it since he has been given a case worker at another one similar in mission. Vocational assessment will probably be done in the summer.

Anyway - I spoke with his teacher and asked about an iPad for Will to use instead of his current communication device. (See older post - "Communication Devices"). She was all for it; he had experimented with another student's a short time ago and Kerry said it went well - he learned it quickly and handled the touch screen keyboard nicely. So we will be getting one soon.
(picture of Will's teacher's book)

Kerry also gave me a book to look at in the meantime. I figured we would be going with the app "Assistive Chat" but "Sentence & Question Builder" looked good too, maybe a nice sister app. The book she gave me is called "Apps for Autism" by Lois Jean Brady M.A.,CCC-SLP, , 2011 by Future Horizons. You buy the apps from the 'iTunes' store. The book has over 200 apps that help improve communication, behavior, social skills, etc.

(Steve Jobs picture from iPad Wikipedia)

The book covers A LOT of information. Lois discusses how technology is changing so fast. As she puts it: 'New mobile technologies for people with autism are creating new opportunities at an exponential rate. The message is that we can create tools that can make profound differences in the trajectory of people's lives and in education in general'. 'Thank you Apple! Finally, devices that support communication, scheduling, academics, social interactions, video modeling, and leisure time are wrapped up in hand-held, super, cool packages. Individuals who cannot use a mouse or keyboard can use the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch because there is no disconnect between the screen and the keyboard/mouse.' As she also states, there is a big difference in price between the older communication devices (which can run $8 - 10,000 dollars and take months to come in after ordering) and the new Apple products that run more or less around $500 and have apps that you download and use right away. Yes - there may be a charge for some apps, some are FREE. Still, it's a whole lot LESS money. I would suggest you speak with your child's teacher and speech/language person to discuss good options.


I just want to mention some of the categories in the book and some of the apps. The book gives current app prices (prices may change over time) and gives website addresses for each app so you can look it up. I checked out a few. One I could not find, nothing came up, but the others looked great.

There are 12 categories in the book, each with plenty of apps to choose from. I'll just list a few -- apps to get the word(s) out; sign language; articulation; concept development; hygiene & pre-vocational; graphic organizers & visual supports. Apps are: autism shapes, small talk letters, numbers, colors; idress for weather; uzu; body language; is that glutten free?.

I highly suggest you try to find the book ($29.95 US if you want to buy it). I think Kerry said you can find all the apps on the iTunes store if you have an account and they constantly add more. I can't wait to try Will's!!! Our work is set out for us this weekend. I would love to hear from anyone out there using these already - give me/us your feedback -- please!!!!!

Robots help kids with autism.

Robots Help Children with Autism:
There is a school in England using robots to help reach their students with autism. The robots vary in style but researchers are finding that over time, the boys and girls are opening up. The researchers find that the children feel comfortable around these robots because they are predictable since autistic people have a hard time understanding facial expressions. These children also have a hard time with touching - some of the robots are covered in silicone patches to feel like skin. There is another version looking more like the traditional robot that moves and dances. Researchers are also hoping to increase communication and social skills.
In the case of the robots looking like children, some of the students are imitating its responses. A scientist controls the robot and will make it laugh, frown, blink, or wave its arms. Some children are starting to react to its movements by saying what it is doing - like 'happy' or 'sad' when they recognize a facial expression. As well as things are going, they are warning that parents should not rely on these robots totally since autistic people still have to deal with the real world. Also there needs to be more studies on how this will work over time.You can read the following stories from a variety of locations regarding this great idea.Now Dancing Robots to Teach Autistic KidsRobots'>http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41967936/ns/health-mental_health/t/robot-teaches-autistic-kids-interact/">Robots Teach Autistic Kids to InteractRobot'>http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/09/robot-helps-autistic-kids_n_833321.html">Robot Helps Autistic Kids

Transition and work

As I continue to do the paperwork and contact the appropriate agencies for help, I am also looking at agencies that help find work. There are several. There are companies that hire people with disabilities; my list is for those looking for something else.

I also think of an agency that interviews the person, their family and friends to see what he/she might be interested in doing on their own. I like that idea. This started me thinking, my husband would say 'look out' or 'I could smell that smoke', about possible types of jobs that could be considered a business that they could do, work from home or a family business. I understand they cannot make a lot of money due to SSI regulations so it would be part-time/on a small scale. These can also be done using a mentor. There are agencies that have folks who want to mentor a challenged child/adult or use a Best Buddies person.

Here are some possibilities - just ideas I toss around in my head especially after I leave a place or talk to someone who owns a business:

*bake cookies or cakes to sell to friends or family (this one came up during a seminar - someone's son was doing it and loved it);
*walk a dog/take care of a pet for neighbors or family;
*work with a local small business -- we go to a local car repair business, I think a small 'stand' could be set up selling coffee and snacks, on a Saturday for instance. After visiting mom at the nursing home and hospital, how about working with a local gift shop setting up a place on the weekends selling some items or take some items from the hospital gift shop around to some floors and help sell. The young businessman or woman keeps a percentage of what they sell. At nursing homes, they can sell on weekends or family nights;
*collect scrap metal, cans and/or bottles and sell them. They would be helping the environment as well;
*if they are artistic do some art work and place it in local businesses;
**this one I had started trying to work out a plan to do for Will and maybe a few others in his group (or for his work group in school) but due to family illnesses and my work gearing up I did not get far. I still think it is viable. The idea came from my mother actually -- she was commenting on how she has a hard time getting to the cemetery to put flowers on family graves. So what about a business where people can go for them? They advertise in churches, funeral homes; they charge a straight fee to order either fresh or artificial flowers or a flag; who goes can clean the stone a bit and maybe say a prayer. Take a picture to show their client what it looks like.