“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.

What to do when you meet a sighted person–from Vision Aware

What To Do when You Meet a Sighted Person

People who use their eyes to acquire information about the world are called sighted people or “people who are sighted.” Legal “sight” means any visual acuity greater than 20/200 in the better eye without correction or an angle of vision wider than 20 degrees. Sighted people enjoy rich, full, lives, as they work, play, and raise families. They run businesses, hold public offices, and teach your children.

Sighted people cannot function well in low lighting conditions and are usually helpless in total darkness. Their homes are usually brightly lit at great expense, as are businesses that cater to the sighted consumer.

How Can I Best Communicate with Sighted People?

Sighted people are accustomed to viewing the world in visual terms. This means that in many situations, they will not be able to communicate orally and may resort to pointing or other gesturing. They may also use subtle facial expressions to convey feelings in social situations. Calmly alert the sighted person to his or her surroundings by speaking slowly, in a normal tone of voice. There is no need to raise your voice when addressing a sighted person.

How Do Sighted People Get Around?

People who are sighted may walk or ride public transportation, but most choose to travel long distances by operating their own motor vehicles, usually one passenger to a car. They have gone through many hours of extensive training to learn the rules of the road in order to further their independence. Once that road to freedom has been mastered, sighted people earn a legal classification and a driver’s license, which allows them to operate a private vehicle relatively safely and independently.

How Can I Assist a Sighted Person?

At times, sighted people may need help finding things, especially when operating a motor vehicle. Your advance knowledge of routes and landmarks, particularly bumps in the road, turns, and traffic lights, will assist the “driver” in finding the way quickly and easily. Your knowledge of building layouts can also assist the sighted person in navigating complex shopping malls and offices. Sighted people tend to be very proud and will not ask directly for assistance. Be gentle, yet firm.

How Do Sighted People Read?

Sighted people read via a system called “print.” Print is a series of images drawn in a two-dimensional plane. Because the person who is sighted relies exclusively on visual information, his or her attention span tends to fade quickly when reading long texts. People who are sighted generally have a poorly developed sense of touch. Braille is completely foreign to the sighted person and he or she will take longer to learn the code and be severely limited by his or her existing visual senses.

How Do Sighted People Use Computers?

Computer information is presented to sighted people in a “Graphical User Interface” or GUI. Sighted people often suffer from hand-eye coordination problems. To accommodate this difficulty, people who are sighted use a “mouse,” a handy device that slides along the desk top to save confusing keystrokes. With one button, the sighted person can move around his or her computer screen quickly and easily.

People who are sighted are not accustomed to synthetic speech and may have great difficulty understanding even the clearest synthesizer. Be patient and be prepared to explain many times how your computer equipment works.

How Can I Support a Sighted Person?

People who are sighted do not want your charity. They want to live, work and play alongside you on an equal basis. The best thing you can do to support sighted people in your community is to open yourself to their world. These citizens are vital contributing members of the community, real people with thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams, and a story to tell. Take a sighted person to lunch today!

 

“Not Tommy”: Smart and Safe, Part 1

Katie’s mom and dad were so proud of her. She’d gotten her own apartment, and was really happy about it. Of course, it’d only been a day or two since they finished moving her in. She was 24, and had collected a bunch of furniture over the past couple of years, so she was ready to make the big step of moving to her own place. Tommy and Rick, two other residents helped Katie and her dad carry in the furniture.

Katie’s favorite thing was to go out shopping to find the little toys that were her hobby and obsession. She was anxious and focused on getting to go shopping all the time. After just a day at the apartment complex, Katie, who had autism and tends to be too friendly, asked Tommy to take her to a nearby resale shop. Tommy took her to the shop and a nearby garden store, and then out to Wendy’s. Katie said later that she’d offered to pay for their lunches at Wendy’s, but Tommy insisted on buying.

Katie’s mom, Maggie, was a little surprised that Katie wasn’t home when she arrived at the apartment that afternoon. An older gent sitting outside the building said that Katie had gone off with Tommy for a while. They must be back, the gent said, because, “there’s Tommy’s truck. I imagine your daughter is up sitting with Tommy.”

Just a minute later, Katie came down from Tommy’s apartment, and he followed, carrying two plastic totes. Katie had told Tommy that she needed a couple of those totes for her toys and other things in the apartment. Katie’s dad wanted his totes back, the ones Katie had used to transport her things to the apartment.

Katie would sometimes feel like everyone was correcting her and scolding her. She tended to overreact when corrected by family members, so Maggie talked very gently with Katie after Tommy left to go back up to his place.

“Katie, how did that happen that you went out with Tommy? How did you know if it would be OK?”

And Katie replied, with her characteristic naivete, “I asked him to take me to the resale shop. When I got in his truck, I asked Tommy if he was the kind of person who might hurt me or try to make out with me. And he said no, he is not that kind of person and wouldn’t do that.”

“But Katie,” Maggie asked, “What if he were that kind of person and you asked that question, I mean, not Tommy, but someone else?”

Katie was a bit naïve, but she understood. She replied, “Well, I guess a person who wanted to hurt me might say the same thing Tommy said.”

“Not Tommy,” Maggie said, “But someone else. You’re right, a person who intended to hurt you might say the same thing, that he wasn’t going to hurt you. It’s hard to know when it’s the truth.”

Maggie didn’t want to keep Katie from meeting new people, and didn’t want Katie to get frightened of the mostly very kind people around her, including Tommy. “With someone else,” Maggie said, “not Tommy, of course, but with anyone else, you need to be very careful. And your dad and I want to have the phone numbers of your friends. And we want you to have your phone with you.”

Still, Maggie was a bit worried about Tommy. Although she said “not Tommy”, she was thinking, “maybe Tommy.”

straight hair girl from back

Stay tuned for the rest of the story in a few days…

adult aged black and white close up

Photo by Mircea Iancu on Pexels.com

Join us on Thursday, April 19 for the LINCs meeting…one of the best things going on in Lansing for young adults with disabilities!

LINCS Meeting Notice
View this email in your browser
LINCS Educational Session for Families

THURSDAY, April 19, 2018
6:30 p.m.
Pilgrim Congregational Church
125 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing, MI
FOCUS on:       DNCAP
Disability Network Capital Area

Knowing what resources are available in our community and knowing how to navigate them can be overwhelming. Disability Network Capital Area (DNCAP) assists with connecting individuals with disabilities and their families to community resources–by directly providing services and/or through linking to other service providers. DNCAP, formerly known as Capital Area Center for Independent Living, was established in 1976 and has a rich and long history with the Greater Lansing Area serving families in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham and Shiawassee counties.

We are pleased to welcome DNCAP’s Executive Director Mark Pierce and Resource Development Manager Diana Maddox to talk to us about this important community resource.  They will give us a bit of their history and cover the range of services and programming they provide at their center and throughout the community.

These monthly sessions are a great way to learn more about supporting loved ones who
are living with developmental disabilities and to
meet people with
similar interests.

Whether you are part  of Lansing Intentional Communities
now or are just looking for more information,
you are most welcome.


About
LINCS

Our mission is to
integrate adults with
autism and other
developmental
disabilities into
their communities
while maximizing
independence and
positive outcomes.

LINCS, and all individuals associated with LINCS, cannot
provide transportation, childcare or emergency services for attendees. 

Please note that attendees are fully responsible for their own safety and well-being.

HOW I GOT STARTED AS AN ENTREPRENEUR — Anna Schuck

Anna Schuck June 2016

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.

Meeting Thursday 3/1 in Mason

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.

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.

 

June 6 Girls and Young Women meet for social time

Girls and young women who have autism or other social challenges, disabilities, or just needing to make a new friend can join us on June 6 at 6:30 PM in Mason (near Lansing), Michigan. Lydia Schuck, a transition-to-adulthood specialist, facilitates this group. Our goal is for every girl or young woman to be able to say, “I am going to hang out with my friends tonight.”

Girls join in a short social skills activity and then have time to talk together. Any girl can bring their own craft to do, drawing, whatever, but we also have crafts available, so that girls don’t have to talk a lot if they don’t want to.

Moms and Dads can stay or go, drop off or stay to talk with other parents. We have a good setup for parents to talk in a space that is just far enough to talk freely, but close enough for you to be sure your daughter is thriving at the meeting.

Over the years, we find that the group members are very kind to each other and that they form lasting friendships. You can see our contact information at the side. Please follow the site to get announcements and helpful resources.