Girls’ Group Meeting Friday October 25

Yes, it’s that time again. Join us at Bestsellers Books and Cafe in Mason on Friday, October 25,  for the second weekly meeting of the Girls’ Social Group. We’re looking for young women who are 16 and over to join us to learn and share about what it means to be a community. If you can’t come tomorrow, join us next week.

Do you know about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act? It’s a law that is producing all kinds of opportunities for young adults, whether they are still in school or are out of school. Contact Michigan Rehabilitation Services or the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons to find out more. WIOA Pre-Employment Transition Services include Click each item below to view details:


If we were having coffee right now…

… we might be at Bestsellers Books and Cafe. You might be the parent of one of the girls in the social group meeting in the next room. I’d be talking with you and other parents for a few minutes about your news and resources you might need.cup of coffee orange

If we were having coffee right now … your daughter might be in the next room, talking with friends she just met, or someone she met the last time our Girls’ Social Group met. And tomorrow, she’d be in school, telling her teacher or classmate about what her friend said last night. Her friend! (Sometimes kids with disabilities only have adult friends.)

If we were having coffee right now … I’d walk away so that I could go join the Girls” Social Group participants in the next room. I’m the facilitator. I really enjoy teens, and  my own daughter with disabilities is long past the teen years. Over the years, I gathered a lot of information and, dare I say, wisdom, about ways to make the transition to adulthood easier.

If we were having coffee right now … the girls might be having their own girl-time, while I come back to chat with you. I’d show you what the cup of coffee tealgirls talked about … maybe “what is a community” or “how do I join the community of adults as I grow up”. The group would have talked about places in the community where they go with or without parents.

If I were having coffee right now … the day before the girls group happens … I’d be hoping that you will be there tomorrow, October 18 at 6 PM, at Bestsellers in Mason.


Girls’ Group Meeting Again in Mason, MI

The Girls’ Social Group will be meeting again! birds of different colors

We’ll be meeting for a 6-week long weekly series, starting on Friday, October 18 at Bestsellers Books and Cafe in Mason Michigan. It’s easy to access for wheelchair users, and there’s room for parents to meet, too, if they want to stay to talk. We’ll meet from 6 until just before 8, when the cafe closes. Arrive anytime between 6 and 6:30. That will be an informal gathering time, followed by our official meeting at 6:30.  These meetings are for young women age 16 and up. If you have a younger daughter, please indicate your interest in the form below. If we can have at least 2 regular attendees, I will start a group for younger girls.

After our 6-week series, we’ll take a break until February, and then have another series of 6 weeks.

Fall Girls’ Group Series Flyer



Back to School–It’s a different experience every year

colored pencil pointsLots of families have their kids in new school settings, or in the same ones as last year, but let’s face it, every year IS different.

Parents can really encourage each other through all kinds of situations. You might be surprised at the Facebook groups related to specific special education or medical diagnoses. I’ve seen one for the blindness-related syndrome ONH/SOD, another for albinism NOAH, another for CHARGE syndrome, and many for autism. Michigan has a group called Michigan Autism/Special Needs for Adults 18+. These are great places to find out who is in your area and what they need. Or go to those groups to ask your questions. Many of these groups are closed, and only members can see the posts. That is for the members’ privacy, not to keep visitors out. Ask to join and then get involved.

housing · Parent · transition to adulthood · Uncategorized

“Not Tommy”: Smart and Safe, Part 2

Read “Not Tommy”: Smart and Safe, Part 1

Katie was visiting Tommy at least once a day most days. Maggie and Katie’s dad worried a little, but didn’t want Katie to worry. After all, this was her first time having her own place away from her parents. Maggie and Jim, Katie’s dad, were also enjoying the time with Katie’s younger siblings. Everyone was breathing a little easier, having some space from each other.

One evening, Katie called, sounding upset. “Mom, he insulted me so much. I mean, he was trying to get me to stay in his apartment when I decided I better leave. He was kissing me and touching me on my bottom and on my breasts and saying silly things.”

“Who?” asked Maggie.

It was Tommy. He’d been drinking, and with his self-control impaired, he decided to try to take advantage of Katie’s somewhat diminished capacity to make decisions. But, when she tried to leave, he hugged her to make her stay. She was determined to leave, and he insulted her by trying to make her stay, Katie said later.

Maggie went over to Katie’s apartment and talked it all out. Maggie knew that whatever else had happened, Tommy had committed assault when he tried to keep her from leaving against her will.

“I even went back up there after I called you, Mom, just to yell at him and tell him he couldn’t do stuff like that and that he insulted me.”

By now, Katie had told her mom a lot of details, and Katie’s mom had called Katie’s dad to tell him the details. They all agreed that Maggie would stay over at Katie’s place, just in case. In the morning, Katie told her story to the management of the apartment complex, who called the police.

Katie was very open with the police officer, who was quite respectful to her. This surprised Maggie, because Katie is naive and seems younger than her 26 years. Still, the officer treated her like an adult. Maggie had a chance to thank him later.

The case was turned over to the prosecutor’s office, who decided not to press charges. Of course, Tommy had his own version of the events.

Grown-up kids have grown-up problems. No parent would wish this situation on a young adult child, but Maggie was reassured that Katie could manage herself in a tight situation, could recognize when it was time to get out, and could communicate clearly when asked to relate what happened. This was just about the best thing Maggie could ask for…no one can protect their kids from every problem, but all parents can help kids learn to speak up for themselves and take charge to leave a bad situation.


Transition services in school: What is required by IDEA law and regulations?

TRANSITION SERVICES [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1401(34)]
Transition Services means a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability designed within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities is based on each student’s needs, taking into account the student’s strengths, preferences and interests, and includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation.

How this might be done for your high school age child with disabilities

Ask that a transition assessment be performed to determine her current strengths, preferences, and interests. Have a discussion of those results at the IEP meeting. The coordinated services mentioned above can be provided by anyone, for instance, several of my daughter’s were provided by us, her parents. Depending on the age of your child, strengths, preferences, and interests should be driving course and program choices. Teachers (and parents and anyone else) can find information at the National Technical Assistance Center for Transition, NTACT. NTACT Website
Some districts choose to use a class setting to do many assessments and career awareness stuff, but that is not a federal requirement! If your child has to miss time with a therapist or specialized instruction because a transition “class” has to fit in the schedule, you probably need to find another solution. These are often classes that waste a lot of time, time that kids with disabilities don’t always have.
employment · Lansing · Parent · transition to adulthood · Uncategorized

How can I explore a career if I can’t go to the place where people work?

Here’s a link to Exploring Careers Virtually, a presentation that is full of resources and connections for young adults with disabilities and their families. It came from Youth Career Connect, a project of the US Department of Labor. It covers the topics listed below:

  • How to connect students to the workplace virtually to learn about careers.
  • How to navigate the CareerOneStop, Get My Future portal (structure and uses).
  • Other platforms (free platforms; state-focused platforms; subscription sites)

What do you think? How can a young person explore a career like lab science, or office management, or welding, without going into the place where that job happens? Tell us about it.


tribune building - Copy