Ability Blog

Ability Blog

This blog is reserved for disability-related topics and resources. Please feel free to comment and share!

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Apps for Autism

Posted on January 19, 2017 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (39)

It’s no secret that many individuals with Autism have an unbreakable attachment to technology. Tablets, computers, phones, and other devices serve as recreational outlets and learning tools. My brother and his tablet are inseparable! I'm sure that many of you who are reading this have a loved one who is attached to their tech tool in the same way. So why not use them to engage your child in learning? It's a win-win...they get to continue to interact with a tech tool that they love while also learning and practicing skills! As one can expect from a former special education teacher, I believe in maximizing strengths and embracing learning opportunities. I cannot stress the importance of using technology to teach.

I have listed some suggested iOS apps below. Some apps will require full parent involvement as the teacher and others will allow your child to learn independently. And don't worry, many apps for working with individuals with disabilities are made for parents.  As always, please comment and share!

For kiddos:

Autism iHelp Play

Autism iHelp Comprehension

Autsim iHelp WH Questions

Autism Therapy with Mita

Articulation Station

For parents/adults:

Social Stories Creator and Library

Autism Tracker Lite: Track and Analyze


Note: I did not create any of these apps and I am not being paid by their creators/developers to advertise for them. I just think they are share-worthy.:)

 

What to do When Your Child is Diagnosed with a Disability

Posted on November 30, 2016 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (5492)

Finding out that your child has a disability is life-changing. If you have never worked with or cared for an individual with a disability, you may be flooded with questions and concerns. As a sibling of an awesome individual with Autism and a teacher and counselor of individuals with disabilities,  I have picked up a few tips for coping with the diagnosis of a disability. 

1. Do not blame yourself
As a parent, you feel totally responsible for everything that happens to your child.
Accepting responsibility for the presence of a disability is too heavy of a burden to carry.
Quite frequently, practitioners are unaware of what influences the presence of certain disabilities and there is a likelihood that
it may not be directly linked to any actions of the parent at all. 
2. Seek guidance
Guidance may come from spiritual resources, such as church or religious groups.
Now is the time to speak freely with your pastor, a minister, and/or individuals in your church who are willing to join you and
your family (spiritually) in your journey and to join your family in prayers for guidance. Guidance may also come from a therapist.
Family therapists with rehabilitation counseling backgrounds or who are trained to work with individuals with special needs and their
families can serve as an asset to your family. In addition, parents may want to seek individual counseling sessions and couple's therapy,
and children may want to seek out indivudal counseling services or sessions together without parents.
If financial limitations are an issue, find out if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
3. Channel your support system
Family members and friends are so essential in this moment. Try not to let guilt and shame prevent you from talking about
your child's exceptionality. These people will serve as partners in your journey as a parent of a child with a disability.
Trying to hide it only feeds the perspective that the presence of a disability is negative.
Not many parents plan to have a child with a disability; however, once a child is diagnosed with a disability it is so important
that parents take on a positive perspective--even regarding things that are seen as negative to others.
Sure your teen with autism may not have a large social circle, which means that they spend a lot of time at home; however,
this also means that you have the opportunity to have a large part in their growth and progress.:)

4. Develop a family narrative

This can be established during family therapy or through conversations at home. Siblings may be extremely confused about what it

means to have a disability, characteristics of a particular disability, and how they can establish a relationship with their sibling

despite the presence of a disability. Parents should work to develop an understanding of their child's disability.

Then, based on age and ablity to understand, parents should provide clarifying information to children about the disability

(if it is helpful). More importantly, parents should help children understand how to interact with their sibling. Parents should provide

children-- some children are bullied because of their siblings disability--with a platform to discuss concerns and questions (

when parents are emotionally prepared). Please DO NOT EVER blame siblings for the presence of a disability!

5. Seek local and national resources

Feel free to talk to your child's special education teacher. Meetings can happen at any time during the school year, not just when

the new IEP is developed. Many states have conferences for educators, employers, and family members of individuals with special

needs. There are also many national organizations that offer online resources (webinars, yay!) for families of individuals with

disabilities. When your child is in high school, start looking into local vocational rehabilitation agencies. Your child's special

education teacher should be able to help with this process.

 



Tips for Coping with Caregiver Stress

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (36)

 

Being a caregiver of an individual with a disability is a rewarding, yet difficult job! It can become stressful and overwhelming. Sometimes you just want to give up and other times you're upset with yourself for thinking about giving up. Below, I have listed coping skills for dealing with caregiver stress. Please take what you need and comment your thoughts!

 

Pray

 

Meditate

 

Hire an interim caregiver occasionally

 

Exercise

 

Get enough sleep

 

Repeat positive affirmations daily

 

Talk, talk, talk--Talk to a friend or family member about what you're experiencing

 

Continue to engage in your hobbies

 

Consider counseling services (counselors are not just for mental health services, they can assist with goals and planning)

 

Join a peer support group (in person or virtually)

 

Adapt healthy eating patterns

 

Journal (use stationery or via cell phone)

 

Counter negative thoughts--when a negative thought about your responsibilities comes to mind, replace it immediately with something positive

 

 

Remember, you have an extremely important job! Yes, it's stressful, but you're not alone :)




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