What’s laughter got to do with it?

How do you learn social skills? Most of us learned as we grew up, a little at a time, and our parents and friends told us when we did something that was socially incorrect. We probably did things wrong again, but slowly adjusted and got it right.

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 lschuck51@gmail.com, or comment below if you want more information.

Got Transition?

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.

Challenging Behaviors and Transition Planning — PACER Center Webinar

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

Web Streaming Event Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Parents of teenagers with behavioral health challenges play an important role in transition planning throughout the high school years. This training will cover the role of special education and Section 504 in promoting post-high school success. Parents and others will learn strategies to increase youth participation in the transition planning process and ways to promote individualized planning, goals and services when working with the school.
Live:Web Streaming Availible

How do YOU find housing for a friend with disabilities?

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.

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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/

Girls’ Social Group Starting for 2018

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 lschuck51@gmail.com.

The Sound of Music — Join in!

Musical opportunities to look into, here in Mid-Michigan

Community Music School, Michigan State University

Opportunities for music education and music therapy are available to people of all ages with special needs. Through music programming at CMS, individuals with special needs have found joy, new friendships, and have made progress in the acquisition of motor, verbal, communication and social skills through music.  http://www.cms.msu.edu/el/special/index.php

All Faith Ministry for disABILITIES

“Harmony-us”  Music Therapy Group at the Okemos Library located at 4321 Okemos Road in Okemos. Free for All Ages and All Abilities and limited to 15 participants. Led by Denise Travis, a Board Certified Music Therapist. Please RSVP to Cathy Blatnik, Program Director at 517-381-1410 http://disabilitiesministries.org/

Elderly Instruments

Why should you go to Elderly Instruments for a little winter “field trip”? Because Elderly is an established music store (in business since 1972) with a real showroom and employees who like music, play music, and really know the instruments they sell. Your curious questions will be welcomed at Elderly! 888-768-9834 http://www.elderly.com

 

Younger girls, too — Meeting in 2018

Our girls’ group has become a fairly steady little group, but it is mostly girls who are out of high school. Sometimes we meet someone with a younger daughter or friend, and maybe they don’t want to bring a 12 year old to our group with older young ladies.

In February, we’ll start a monthly group for girls ages 12 to 17. Of course this is flexible, since girls develop at different rates. Generally, older girls are talking about living, learning, and playing in settings away from family. Younger girls are still very much thinking of themselves within family and school building contexts.

Older girls will enjoy goal-setting for adult life, while younger girls would rather talk about getting through high school. Which girl is your daughter, granddaughter, or friend? Watch this space for announcements of meetings in 2018.

If you aren’t following us yet, sign up. You may be receiving our occasional emails, but those who follow the blog get all of the announcements and resources we have to offer.

 

Partying on the 14th

The Girls’ Social Group meets on Dec. 14 at 6:30 for our last meeting of the year…we’ll be exploring some sensory delights as we celebrate being friends and starting a new year together. Come on over! 6:30 PM (or earlier if you like) 1981 Eden Road, Mason, MI  48854

We’d like to know if you have an idea for our meetings in the new year. What would you or your daughter want to learn about becoming an adult? What fun activity would you like to share? Tell us below if you have an idea. And be sure to follow the site!

Things to know and do in Lansing

I grew up outside of Chicago, with great transportation, lots of interesting people in my school, and a beautiful lake about a mile from my house. Here in Lansing we have good transportation, lots of interesting people in the schools, workplaces, cafes, and colleges, and the same big lake, well it’s a couple of hours from here…but we have lots of little lakes around!

If you are a young adult with disabilities or a parent, you might be looking for things to do in Lansing. Here are few I found recently.

517 Living (Lansing Area Living) is a calendar that connects Lansing Area adventurers with unique, life-enhancing events and activities hosted by local businesses and organizations. You can post your events there, and sign up to get a weekly list of what’s happening. We’ve even advertised the Girls’ Social Group there a couple of times.

Abrams Planetarim Sensory Friendly Shows on the third Sunday of every month at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. These shows will run with the lights up, the sound down, and the theater doors open so people can move about as needed.Their ordinary shows are pretty cool, too.

The Library of Things service at the Capital Area District Library supports lifelong learning and creativity. Adult cardholders can borrow these practical, hands-on items to learn new skills, explore areas of interest, or help with everyday tasks. The loan period is either one week or two weeks, depending on the Thing. All Things have an option to renew for an additional week, if no one else is on hold. You’ve got to browse at the link above…you will be surprised at the things you can borrow from the library. Theremini or Bocce Ball, anyone?

Share this post with your friends through social media, and be sure to sign up to follow this feature on Things to Know and Do in Lansing.

 

 

 

 

First Steps into Adult Life

It can be very challenging to take your first steps into adult life.

If you are a young adult with a disability that makes it difficult or impossible to find work, you might try going to college. But if you also find it difficult or impossible to attend college right now, there’s probably very few options of things to do to fill your days. It’s not that you don’t want to do something productive, it is just not working out right now.

Your parents long for you to be fulfilled, to be happy, to be living the life you want to live. Sometimes it’s hard to even figure out what life you want to live.

So what are you doing with your time?  One thing you can do is join the Girls’ Social Group on December 5th and 14th for a time of learning and fun.

Another thing you can do is form a network of friends who will encourage you. In the past, young women who attend the Girls’ Social Group have made friends and followed each other on social media, kept in touch by text, did things together, and were really happy to see each other at every meeting of the group.

On December 5, we’ll meet again in Mason, 1981 Eden Road, from 6:30 to 8 PM. We’ll be talking about making those first steps into adult life. We’ll be planning some new activities for the new year. Come join us!IMG_2286