One of our participants has had a story published in the Michigan Family Connections Newsletter. You can read it below!
I’m going to tell you about how I got started as a retailer. It all started when I was about three years old. My mom had gotten some plastic animals for me. I played with those animals a lot, and since I’m blind, the animals helped me to understand what real animals looked like. And since I have autism, my collection of plastic animals has become my passion.
Now jump forward to the year 2015. At this time I was standing in a little toy store in Jackson Mi. I was looking at some plastic animals they had displayed there on the shelf. In previous years, I had seen these figures advertised at Michael’s, and other craft stores. Yet, as I stood there, looking at them then, I started thinking “I wonder where these toy store people get these figures from? I wonder if I could carry these things too?”
And so, my business began. I started selling and ordering in 2016, but for a while before my first order, I had to scrape together $100 in order to make my very first order. Now, my dream has always been to work in a storefront, but that will probably be delayed for a time, perhaps forever, because my autism gets in the way. But in spite of all this, my business has really been the best part of my life.
The Girls’ Social Group will meet on April 5 and 19, and May 3 and 17. Thursday evenings, 6:30 to 8 PM.
Every state has a housing development authority. In Michigan, it’s the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Start with MSHDA here: webapp.mshda.cgi-bps.com/Default.aspx For help finding an apartment, start here: michiganhousinglocator.com/Portals/mshda/Default.aspx (but not sure this listing service show correct information about Spectran paratransit in Lansing.)
Word of mouth–It could take as long as 3 years to get to the top of the waiting list. When/if you do get to the top, you have to take what is offered anywhere in the county or else go to the bottom and wait again.
Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) are the most desirable subsidy because, as the name implies, you can choose to live anywhere (in theory). The government reimburses the landlord for what you cannot pay. You can find out more at MSHDA.
Lansing Housing Commission (lanshc.org; 517-487-6550) is another portal to some of the same opportunities. Do you own property? Would you like help to turn it into a low-rent opportunity? Lansing Housing Commission, or any local housing commission, is probably your best bet to speak to a human being rather that only view a website.
Affordable Housing Online has quite a bit of information about different kinds of subsidized housing, but I wondered if some spam I got was because of them. Two unsubscribes and the spam was over, so I think it’s worth spending time there and maybe signing up for their info. You can sign up for email alerts for the state you live in. These folks also have some “guides” that tell more about housing options, if you scroll to the bottom of the screen. (affordablehousingonline.com) You’ll be shocked by some info, such as “This county’s waiting list was last opened in March 2014, and it’s not known when the waiting list will be open again.” It’s clear there’s a housing shortage for people with disabilities who need reduced rent.
Intentional communities are a throwback to the 60s commune lifestyle, but designed so that families and friends can encircle and support individuals who need extra help to live independently. Check out these in Michigan: Lansing Intentional Communities (LINCS; http://linc2linc.org ), Intentional Communities of Washtenaw (intentcom.org), Saline Maple Oaks (www.salinemapleoaks.com)
A good basic question when exploring housing is this: How do you feel about having a roommate? This is a crucial piece of information when searching for housing.
Good luck and post your tips. Forward this to others who might want to get some help on the journey. You can email Lydia at email@example.com.
PACER Center is a taxpayer-funded national parent information center in Minnesota. Wow, I wish I lived there, or better yet, that PACER was in Michigan. Here’s a great opportunity through the internet, or as my sister says, that inter-webby thing.
Assistive Technology that Supports Independent Living for Young Adults with Disabilities
We’ll be meeting for the Girls’ Social Group on March 1 and 15, and then every first and third Thursday through May. We meet at 1981 Eden Road in Mason. We meet from 6:30 to 8. Put a comment below if you want to ask questions.
Is there someone you’d think might like to know about our social opportunities for girls and young women with autism or other social issues? Send them the link to this webpage, and encourage them to join our list. Helpful resources only go as far as our mailing list members!
Next time: What we’re finding out about housing, summer opportunities for blind youth, and other useful thoughts about transition to adulthood.
But how do kids who have developmental disabilities like autism spectrum disorders learn these skills? It might take more practice, or more explicit instruction than is needed by kids who are developing typically. Before learning the appropriate ways to interact socially, a child might bring out negative reactions from other people, including parents.
Any child can bring tears to a parent’s eyes, and for lots of different reasons. Sometimes we have happy tears after seeing one of our children accomplish a herculean task.
Some behaviors might trigger a very response from a parent. I’ve gotten angry when I was embarrassed by the actions of one of my children. I’ve gone away deeply saddened by misunderstandings between my child and others.
No matter how our kids’ social skills impact our own lives, we just keep on teaching them how the social world works. My own child with autism learns a lot from her sisters, and I have to smile when I hear her laughing with them and their friends.
But it’s hard to laugh with friends if you don’t have very many to get together with. Do you know a young woman who wants to make new friends? The participants in our social group often get together with other participants outside of the group time.
We’ll be meeting on the first and third Thursdays of every month through May. Email Lydia at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment below if you want more information.
Have you visited GotTransition.org? Got Transition aims to improve transition from pediatric to adult health care through the use of new and innovative strategies for health professionals and youth and families.
For many young people with disabilities or other health care related issues, the transition to adult health care systems can be quite a challenge. Our daughter, at 25, just saw her behavioral pediatrician for the last time! She’d already successfully been managing her doctor visits for everything else, but it’s hard to part with the doctor who has walked through autism with us!
Our next group meeting for young women is on Thursday, February 15.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from the brilliant folks at PACER Center, the national parent information project. And be sure to visit their website http://www.pacer.org/transition/ to see all the great information. Then linger a little longer to explore the rest of the PACER website. This is funded by your tax dollars, so why not take advantage of it?
Challenging Behaviors & Transition Planning Strategies for Success
We’re looking for an apartment for our young adult child who has several disabilities. She has a very small microbusiness, which is the best thing in her life, but essentially, she lives on SSI. That’s poverty, friends. So we’re looking for options for inexpensive housing that can also be somewhat supportive.
We’ll be sharing our strategies for apartment hunting, but we thought we’d give you the chance to share your ideas first. So how do you find a place for your child or friend to live? Tell us all about it in the box below.
Photo by Adriaan Greyling from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/snow-covered-wooden-house-inside-forest-749231/
The Girls’ Group will take place on the first and third Thursdays of every month through May, starting on January 18. We meet at 1981 Eden Road, Mason, MI 48854, from 6:30 to 8 PM. We’ll be talking about short term and long term goals for the first few meetings, with lots of time for talking, laughing, and fun. The group is designed for young women ages 12 and up, but our current group has more older girls (17 and up). We’d like to have another day of the week for younger girls (middle school up through high school only), so if you have a younger girl, call or email Lydia first. 517-676-4621 email@example.com.