Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nov.1,2010-COMMUNICATIONSHUTDOWN.org !!!!!!!!!!! ! !!!!!!!!!!





Hi-5!


We support COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN!

We are raising Awareness and $ for Autism.

COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN
for Autism Awareness and $

Charities around the world and people who support individuals with developmental disabilities, are joining
COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN!

People on the AUTISM Spectrum need your support.
Commit to logging off of all social media sites just for today.
This means, you will not enjoy your daily dose of:
  • blogging
  • sharing
  • tweeting
  • stumbling
  • youtubing
  • finding a friend
  • texting
  • buzzing up
  • linking in
  • digging
  • uploading
  • downloading
  • posting
  • fb-ing
AND
ALL THE OTHER GREAT, FUN, ENJOYABLE WAYS OF SOCIAL NETWORKING.

JUST FOR TODAY - Monday, November 1,2010

We know you can do it!

Support AUTISM - no social networking on 11.1.10

Today, we have logged off of social networking sites to support our son.

Our 5 year old boy enjoys the internet.  He enjoys sharing and tweeting.  He enjoys youtubing the most!

But, just for today, our family is enjoying another way to support AUTISM Awareness and raise $ for global charities helping autism spectrum efforts.





Go to COMMUNICATIONSHUTDOWN.org  COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN - no social networking on 11.1.10!  for more details.

Also, to view our original post about COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN, go to Wednesday, October 27, 2010 post and see more details about why and how you can help AUTISM efforts.

Remember, you can go online for business, donations, trainings, information, tv, and things like this.

But, today, we ask you to join us in logging off of social networking sites, just for today 11.1.10 to raise Awareness and $ for  AUTISM.  Thank you.

ENJOY!

Note:  This blog post was prescheduled to post on November 1, 2010.  So we ain't bloggin folks!


http://www.communicationshutdown.org/
aha moment VOTE for 'Just the way he is.' Jimmie of Baton Rouge,LA loving dad 2 kids to win commercial about son with Autism.
aha moment VOTE for 'Just the way he is.' Jimmie of Baton Rouge,LA loving dad 2 kids to win commercial about son with Autism.

Friday, October 29, 2010

aha moment - VOTE for 'Just the way he is.' - Jimmie-Baton Rouge,LA





Hi5!


aha moment - VOTE for
'Just the way he is.'  
Jimmie_BatonRouge, LA
inspiring father of 2 school-age kids 


CAST YOUR VOTE FOR JIMMIE at aha moment - Just the way he is. Baton Rouge,LA - Jimmie Smith,Jr.
or vote for Jimmie at 

Vote!
The finalists!
You've cast your votes and picked your favorites. Congratulations to the 25 top vote-getters who are one step closer to being included in Mutual of Omaha's 2011 TV campaign!
Until October 31, you can select the 10 aha moments that will be featured in our TV campaign. Vote now for your favorites!

Our friend Jimmie is a loving father of 2 school-age sweetie pies!

In Jimmie's  aha moment, he shares his desire to raise his children with wisdom, understanding and mostly love.

Aha Moment (Mutual of Omaha)
      VOTE FOR Jimmie_Baton Rouge,LA
     ‘ Just the way he is’



ENJOY!

Below is our story of Jimmie.  It is always a good thing to show appreciation.


October 29, 2010

Re:  Aha Moment (Mutual of Omaha)
      VOTE FOR Jimmie_Baton Rouge,LA
     'Just the way he is’

Greetings,

We are the Cosse' Family and we encourage you to vote for the Smith family.  Both families are raising a child on the Autism Spectrum.  Autism is considered a developmental disability and a neurological condition which affects communication, socialization and behavior in the lives of those touched by this diagnostic group. (CDC.gov)

Please vote for my friend - Jimmie Smith,Jr. for the Mutual of Omaha Aha Moment! 

Cast your vote  Jimmie_BatonRouge,/LA ‘Just the way he is’  (about loving his son diagnosed with autism) at: http://www.ahamoment.com/pg/voting?momentSeed=1288371749

This is the link to Jimmie’s original aha moment:
 Jimmie_Baton Rouge 'Not hopeless.' at  http://www.ahamoment.com/pg/moments/view/12387

Let us share about why you should VOTE for  Jimmie_Baton Rouge,LA-  AHA MOMENT.

Jimmie is a great dad of 2 wonderful kids.  Jimmie is a good friend, as well.   Jimmie is a committed advocate.  Jimmie's dedication to independence, integration, inclusion, self-determination.  Sharing a moment with Jimmie is life changing as I have seen him across Louisiana attending Parent and Special Needs workshops, disabilities trainings, advocacy rallies, nonprofit open houses and fellowships!

Although Jimmie and I have only been acquainted for 10 months, it seems that we have known each other for at least 5 years. Jimmie is 1 of 2 males in our 6 months leadership training with Partners in Policymaking 2010 Class.  PIP is an initiative of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council.  During our 6 months of leadership training, 23 women 'actually listened' -in silence- as our 'E.F.Hutton' of disabilities Dad', shared insightful tips, humor and challenges of being a Parent raising 2 wonderful school age kids.  Comparatively, Jimmie was not modest about asking for our advice and revealing his passion for educating and recreating with his family and ours.  We were especially appreciative that Jimmie considered a component of his graduation project would be to personally speak with each of hour husbands(male-factors) in an effort to offer a males-perspective of understanding, compassion and hopes of caring for a loved one with a developmental disability.   

True to his word, Jimmie implemented his promise during our June Graduation from Partners in Policymaking(PIP-LADDC).  The leader that he is, Jimmie volunteered to give a presentation during our ceremonies.  We were amazed, yet again, as the lights were dimmed and the dvd began to play!  Jimmie had made a personal dvd with soothing background music!  Just the mood we need as we welcomed self-advocate Craig Blackburn, our Speaker - also a PIP Graduate.

Likewise, having not met or talked on the phone to some of our mates, he boldly approached them with extended hand and a welcoming smile. With the same smile Jimmie is displaying in his aha moment video – that graduation day, Jimmie imparted home, understanding and compassion as he confidentially shared with as many as time would permit.

{Tears of hope are flowing…}

A few weeks later, we met up with Jimmie at Families Helping Families of Acadiana!  Unknowingly, we had both come to share with our fellow Partners Grad Dr. Kathy Allen, Executive Director.  There must be a rainbow in the sky - 2 treats in 1 – Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and fellowshipping with Jimmie!  Our family had traveled for hours, stuck in bridge repair traffic, sweltering heat… But all that enduring was worth the bonus of sharing a moment with Jimmie.  What do you know, Jimmie is sitting there sharing, listening, giving, receiving and just enjoying life, as usual.  We anxiously waited our turn, as we enjoyed the beautiful hospitality Dr. Kathy and her Staff.  This comfortable atmosphere was just the relieve we needed as we viewed the client’s art walk, snacked, and watched ‘I Am Sam’ autism video.  Finally, it was our turn.  Jimmie approached with A WELCOMING SMILE AND EXTENDED HAND.

More tears of joy are flowing as we ask you to VOTE for Jimmie_BatonRouge,/lA- Aha Moment.  Go to Jimmie_BatonRouge ‘Just the way he is’  (about loving his son diagnosed with autism) at: http://www.ahamoment.com/pg/voting?momentSeed=1288371749

“Thank you Jimmie Smith, Jr. for opening up your life to me, for not judging me, for sharing with my husband, for being so sacrificially unselfish.  Mostly, I appreciate your bold stand for children with special needs, your pursuit of knowledge and your wisdom that bolsters our efforts! “
 
Voting for Jimmie Smith, Jr. helps raise awareness for individuals with disabilities, especially our kids. Voting closes on Sunday, October 31st!

Some of us may have already voted for Jimmie's Aha Moment a few months ago.  Now, Jimmie needs our VOTES again and others’ VOTES to make it to the top 10!!

CAST YOUR VOTE FOR JIMMIE TODAY! 
Copy this link into your browser: : http://www.ahamoment.com/pg/voting?momentSeed=1288371749.  If this link is inoperable, simply go to Aha Moment (Mutual of Omaha) at http://www.ahamoment.com.  Jimmie Smith Jr. has his family story listed as "Just the way he is.” which is an except for his original ‘Not hopeless."  There you will see his engaging smile with his name as 'Jimmie_Baton Rouge'.  

Don’t hold back your tears of feeling inspired as you view Jimmie’s video.

This is the Jimmie we want you to VOTE for – a selfless friend who opens his heart – a proud Dad who always has kind words to share about his 2 kids - someone so insightful, he created a digital biopic THAT EVERYONE WANTED FOR THEIR OWN MEMORIES!  Hey! Think we are next in line to get our dvd made?!

Thus, in honor of making it this far in the Aha Moment - and being an awesome friend - we are dedicating our family blog to the remaining 3 voting days to Jimmie and his wonderful family.  'Enjoying the Hi-5s of Autism - A Family Experience' is honored to share Jimmie Smith, Jr.'s Aha Moment.  We will post announcements to VOTE FOR JIMMIE'S AHA MOMENT on Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Please join us in spreading the word in your special way and remember to VOTE FOR Jimmie_BatonRouge ‘Just the way he is.’ aha moment!


In appreciation,
The Cosse' Family
http://familyenjoyinghi5autism.blogspot.com (Google)
EnjoyHi5Autism (Twitter)
Enjoying the Hi5s of Autism (Facebook)
babymiracle2005 (Twitter)
babymiracle05@yahoo.com




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Aha moment VOTE for Jimmie_BatonRouge 'Not hopeless.' Vote at www.ahamoment.com/pg/moments/view/12387

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

11.1.10COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN



Hi5!


COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN

COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN.org is a global event on November 1, 2010 to raise awareness and funds for AUTISM efforts around the world. Go to COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWNCOMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN for AUTISM awareness fundraiser at  https://communicationshutdown.org/.

COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN FOR AUTISM  

"It's a global initiative to raise much-needed funds for autism groups in over 40 countries. By shutting down social networks for one day on November 1, we hope to encourage a greater understanding of people with autism: ...who find social communication a challenge."

To join, simply make a donation to receive a CHAPP (charity app). The CHAPP spreads the word, gives a shutdown badge to wear online and adds your picture to a global mosaic of supporters, next to the celebs."

"Here is a short video which explains more about it: (YouTube video)"

[We support individuals on the Autism Spectrum, like our 5 years old son. Join the global COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN in support for many who are, - like our son - 'Enjoying the Hi5s of Autism', KissKissHugs-Love Moomie and Dada]


What is the link between communication and autism?      

"Social communication is one of the biggest challenges for people with autism. By choosing to shutdown your social networks for one day, you will have some idea of what it's like for people with autism who face this challenge every day.

Rachael Harris, a counsellor and supporter, who herself is on the autism spectrum, put it best when she said, "Electing to shutdown social communication mirrors autistic silence. But it also draws attention to the isolation and intense loneliness experienced by those who are impeded from connecting socially with others. The CHAPP is a powerful way to create a sense of empathy towards those on the autism spectrum."

[We support Rachel Harris and others like our 5 years old son. Join the global COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN in support for many who are, - like our son - 'Enjoying the Hi5s of Autism', KissKissHugs-Love Moomie and Dada] 




https://COMMUNICATIONSHUTDOWN.org


WE HAVE ALREADY LINKED 
OUR GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, YouTube and SCREENSAVER
to join
COMMUNICATION SHUTDOWN.org
on 11.1.10


ENJOY!


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blog Referral: The People who 'ARE' the 'R' word




Hi-5!



Blog Referral: The People who 'ARE' the 'R' word  

Check out this blog!      
Rolling Around In My Head - People Who 'Are' the 'R' word - A Blog by Dave Hingsburger


If you don't know what the 'R' word is about, search our archived blog posts.  We have discussed our support to remove the 'R'word from all governmental documents, medical  and academic journals, as well as, educational appraisal classifications!

We refuse to refer to our 5 year old son as the 'R' word, just like we do not want to use the 'disorder' word when acknowledging his diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum.

If you do not know what words to use to refer to people with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and the like, try the following entities:











    There are many more agencies and organizations and programs that use positive, motivating, appropriate terms to refer to individuals with mental/cognitive disabilities.

     Make sure you correct, inform and instruct others of your choice not to use the 'R' word or have the 'R' word used to refer to others who you are affiliated with in the disability community!

    Stay informed.  Be progressive.  Advocate.

    ENJOY!






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    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Happy VALUE Day! October Disability Awareness Month - The Anne Dale 'Facing Autism' Pendant




    Hi- 5!

    Happy VALUE Day!

    October is Disability Awareness Month.

    We are highlighting unique Facebook pages that focus on disabilities.

    We believe this one is "BEAUTIFULLY creative". 

    Facing Autism pendant is $45 and helps families by donating money to groups like KidSense.

    Order at: http://www.annedale.com/jeweler-for-a-causea-/facing-autism/cat_106.html

    Anne Dale's 'Jeweler for a Cause' was established in 2005 and is available at htp://www.jewelerforacause.com and http://www.annedale.com/.

    Emerging from the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina Jewelry for a Cause™ is a collection of original jewelry designs by Anne Dale that raise money, awareness and the spirits of people in need.

    The Jeweler for a Cause Collection is available nationwide through a network of charity partners and retail jewelers while being proudly Made in the U.S.A..

    The designs include The Self-esteem pendant™, the military Star of Hope Collection™, the New Orleans Louisiana Collection, Facing Autism Collection™ and continues to grow with inspired works.


    Each item comes with a short essay explaining the cause and inspiration behind the original Anne Dale design.
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    ENJOY!

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    FYI - TWITTER, TWELLOW & TWELLOWHOOD

    Image representing Twellow as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase







    Hi-5!


    FYI - TWITTER, TWELLOW & TWELLOWHOOD

    We use various social networking resources for personal, public and professional needs.

    One social media tool that we truly rely on is TWITTER!

    We recently realized that Twitter has 2 new ways to globally connect with people with similar interests, needs, and concerns:  TWELLOW AND TWELLOWHOOD.

    So, we see this collaboration tool as: Twitter is the networking source; Twellow is the Twitter yellowpages, and Twellowhood is the Twitter gps/maps.

    All 3 are efficient, effective, reliable, resourceful and easy to use!

    Yearly, we assess our modes for social networking.  Recently, Twellow and Twellowhood provided just the next level of connecting that we were seeking for our family Google Blog and corresponding Facebook webpage, Twitter page, as well as, upcoming family holiday blog.

     YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT CAN BE DONE UNTIL SOMEONE TRIES TO DO IT!

    We are always seeking current, progressive, innovative and new ways to share "Enjoying The Hi-5s of Autism - A Family Experience".

    Join these 5 new networking categories Twellow established JUST BECAUSE WE ASKED!


    Developmental Disabilities Category on Twellow
    twitter logo map 09Image by The Next Web via Flickr


    Sensory Integration Disorder Category on Twellow

    Learning Disabilities Category on Twellow

    Neurological Disorders Category on Twellow

    Developmental Delays Category on Twellow

    Sensory Processing Disorder Category on Twellow

    We think these categories are a great way to Raise Awareness about these conditions.

    Here's our e-correspondence!

    From: Twellow Support <support@twellow.com>
    To: babymiracle05@yahoo.com
    Sent: Mon, October 11, 2010 1:04:59 PM
    Subject: Re: Twellow.com Contact From babymiracle05@yahoo.com (Getting Listed/Registered On Twellow)

    Hi,

    I am pleased to announce that the following categories have been added to Twellow:

    Learning Disabilities - http://www.twellow.com/category_users/cat_id/2980
    Neurological Disorders - http://www.twellow.com/category_users/cat_id/2981
    Developmental Disabilities - http://www.twellow.com/category_users/cat_id/2982
    Developmental Delays - http://www.twellow.com/category_users/cat_id/2983
    Sensory Integration Disorder - http://www.twellow.com/category_users/cat_id/2984
    Sensory Processing Disorder - http://www.twellow.com/category_users/cat_id/2985

    Please be sure to follow @twellow (http://www.twitter.com/twellow) for future category additions and updates.

    Thank you for your category suggestion and also for your continued interest in Twellow!

    --
    Chad Sweely
    Support Analyst
    Twellow.com
    "Find People That Matter!"
    http://www.twellow.com/u/sirchad
    http://twe.ly/ - Shrink a link & get stats!

    babymiracle05@yahoo.com wrote:
    Content: Categories request:  Learning Disabilities, Neurological Disorders, Developmental Disabilities, Developmental Delays, Sensory Integration Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    User Details
    First Name: BL
    Last Name: Cosse'
    Email: babymiracle05@yahoo.com
    Screen Name: babymiracle2005

    SIGN UP FOR TWELLOW TODAY!

    Link with these RAISING AWARENESS Categories, too!

     ENJOY!


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    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    'Worth STARING at...!'

    DERBY, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 04:  House o..."House of Gardens" 'Letter' Sculpture of artist Jaume Plensa -Image by Getty Images via @daylife
    Hi-5!

    This series 'Worth STARING at...!' is inspired by another one of our blog posts, entitled 'STARING IS RUDE!...unless you're in Cote d
    Azure(`10.9.10)  In that blog, we recounted how we felt when people STARE at our son's uniquely different behavior as he plays.

    Today, we feature a sculpture by artist Jaume Plensa, which we think is 'Worth STARING at...!' 

    Our son enjoys objects that have intricate details, dangling and manipulative parts which offer an opportunity for him to analyze, dissect, meditate on and deduce how it is made and how it works. 
    Artist Jaume's pieces are just that!  We have named them 'letter' sculptures.  Although each sculptor has a specific name, sculptor Plensa appears to have made them all by intertwining metal that intricately produces a maze of continuously connecting letters.  Amazing!

    Additionally, our son equally enjoys the alphabets.  He has recognized the alphabets since he was a baby.  By the age of 1, he could say and place each letter in proper order.  Also, he was beginning to write the alphabets with whatever writing tool he got his hands on.  By the age of 2, he could phonetically pronounce all of them.  At the age of 3, he learned how to sign language them while attending a PreSchool Early Intervention Program at his district public school. We explained to his first Teacher, that our son liked alphabets. He enjoys watching the Youtube videos of the 'signing' of letters, especially if music accompanies the demonstration and a child was involved.  Fortunately, this special education instructor had an extensive background in the American sign language techniques.  We are grateful that she spent his first year commuicating with him via sign language.  This really helped our son to open up and start 'communicating' at his new school.

    So the combination of intricate art objects and lettering is a big treat for our son! 

    When we discovered the art work of Jaume Plensa - we thought - with these unique 'letter' sculptures, our son could enjoy the best of 2 dynamics - intricate objects and the alphabets!

    Artists Plensa's 'letter' sculptors (as we call them) really excite our son!  At the same time, we use them to help him focus when he has had a very intense day of therapies.  When our son reveals sensory integration issues, we use photos of Jaume's sculptures to relax our son.  To diminish the effects of  sensory processing deficiencies, we ask him to focus intensely on the intricate maze of letters.  As he does this, the feelings and affects of an overstimulating environment and experiences slowly subside.  Afterwards, our son is able to independently choose what else he wants to do with his day.  Otherwise, if we have activities planned, Plensa's artpieces serve as a good transition object.  Likewise, our son engages in repetitive hand gestures, recitations and viewings.  Searching for, Pointing at and Calling out those numerous letters in the sculptures, truly gives our son an opportunity to direct that energy in a positive way.  Sometimes, he is so engrossed in the artpieces, he just stands there and STARES.  After being redirected to view Plensa's 'letter' art on a computer or a hard copy, our son is more receptive to continuing his productive day.

    We think a good project is collecting copies of Jaume Plensa's 'letter' sculptures and making a photo album.  Then, when you travel to a doctors appointment, take a long car ride, need to decompress or just need to redirect, your Plensa 'letter' sculpture booklet will be on hand. 

    Ultimately, we would like to take him to see the various 'letter' sculptures in person!
    We know that a 3 dimensional viewing and touching will be a great exploration for our son!

    Thus, we will periodically feature the art work of Jaume Plensa.  Maybe, other individuals with a special eye for detail will enjoy these 'letter' sculptures, too.

    Here is a statement about today's featured sculpture: House of Knowledge by artist Jaume Plensa

    DERBY, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 04: House of Knowledge by artist Jaume Plensa stands in   the gardens of Chatsworth House on 4 September, 2008, Chatsworth, England. 
    The exhibition Beyond Limits is the third display of modern and contemporary sculpture
    in the gardens of Chatsworth by Sotherby's. More than 20 works will be on display from 9 September
    to 2 November 2008. In past years acclaimed artists Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley, Salvador Dali and Henry Moore have had work exhibited. [Getty Images 25 months ago (daylife.com)]

    We think that Jaume Plensa's 'letter' sculptures are 'uniquely different' just like our son.

    Both are 'Worth STARING at...!"
     
    ENJOY!


    Jaume Plensa (born 1955 in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain) is an internationally renowned contemporary artist and sculptor.  One of Jaume Plensa's most notable art works is the House of Knowledge which stands in the gardens of Chatsworth House by Sotheby's on 4 September, 2008, Chatsworth, England.
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    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Happy VALUE Day! - P.A.L.S

    Plasma Slugs: You Don't Have Social SkillsImage by 917press via Flickr
    Hi-5!

    Happy VALUE Day!

    This Sunday, we highlight a new afterschool program that focuses on enhancing social skill.  'Play And Learn SocialSkills' is already affectionately known as P.A.L.S to our 5 year old.
    Our son participates in this social interaction program at his district public elementary school. Last year, we considered aftercare services. We desired him to join a structured program that incorporated enhancing specific skills our son needs to improve. We sought a program that targets the goals of improving social skills, interactive play and peer pairing. Additionally, we wanted our son to have fun - since this is what he enjoys after school!

    Our son is progressing quite well this academic year. We will discuss this in the upcoming 'Report Card Progress' topic later this month. We believe his school day accomplishments will give him the confidence to interact with others after school.  So we enroll him in P.A.L.S.!

    We are EXCITED! 

    We are sharing with our blog community hoping that others may want to start a similiar program at school, youth community centers, and/or incorporate some of the objectives and techniques during afterschool playgroup gatherings.*

    All kids need direction, discipline and skill development even AFTER THE SCHOOL DISMISSAL  BELL RINGS.
    Students with special needs and behavorial challenges especially need to have a structured, productive after school environment that transfers the skills acquired during the day to the home and community settings.

    We are so EXCITED!

    P.A.L.S. - Play and Learn SocialSkills

    Purpose -
    P.A.L.S. -  is a program that our son's elementary school developed to address the dual interests of Parents of Students who needed Social Skills improvement, as well as, aftercare services.

    Description -
    The PALS Club group focuses on improving social skills through play. Each session introduces several social skill topics. A maximum of 6 Students (grades K-1) comprises the group who have a need for social skill development. Typical peers are the partnered with with kids like our son . The group engages in the following steps:
    1) Discusses the specific skill
    2) Practices that skill with their 'pals'
    3) Uses their new skills in a play setting.
    Our son's play group is based on the “Model Me Kids” videos for modeling social skills(www.modelmekids.com).  The other component is the Second Step Curriculum - created by the nonprofit Community for Children - is designed to develop vital social and emotional skills to teach kids how to stay safe from violence, bullying, and sexual abuse.(http://www.cfchildren.org/). Our son started  P.A.L.S.  on Oct. 7th and will attend every first Thursday from 3:30pm-4:30pm until May 5th.  The coordinator explained that at each session, our son will have a snack, review a lesson, practice/play and wrap up his aftercare time. Students with special dietary needs, like our son, are asked to bring a snack of their choice.  

    To our surprise, the program includes a great parent component! The  P.A.L.S. Parent Resource Center in the school Counselor's office is opening next month!  Our calendars are marked for every 1st Monday viewing of the various instructional videos. Also, our P.A.L.S  Coordinator encourages the Parents to schedule a separate time to have their children watch the Model Me Kids series.  By the way, our P.A.L.S. Coordinator is a special education teacher, the creative organizer of the school's Sensory Room(which our son enjoys!); and genuinely likes the Students and respects the Parents

    We are very EXCITED!
    First Day of P.A.L.S.! -
    Next, we would like to share how our son ENJOYED his first afternoon 'playing' at school with fellow students. It is important that Parents evaluate, assess, review and share about relevant programs.  It is equally important that we constructively inform our children's instructors about the positive components of implemented programs.  Communication and Collaboration by the adults is vital to the success of the child. Thus, we are sharing excerpts from notes - to our son's child development specialist, as well as, his P.A.L.S. Coordinator, Special Education PreSchool Early Intervention Program Teacher and Kindergarten Teacher  - of how much our son ENJOYED P.A.L.S.!**

    About 2 weeks ago, we received the flyer/application introducing the P.A.L.S. Program.  We reviewed it with our son as he colored the 'pals' characters on it. To his surprise, the coordinator returned his coloring! Over the next week, we talked with him about P.A.L.S. and periodically used his coloring to remind him that it will start in October. As we counted down the days, we reviewed the Model Me Kids website - which our son really enjoyed.

    Early Dismissal - (doctor's visit)
    We think our son adjusted quite well to leaving school early, going to the doctors office, eating his snack while reviewing his P.A.L.S. paper. He played fairly well with the other kids at the pediatrician office, too. He braves through a quick leg shot, but was so uncomfortable with the unfamiliar 'seasonal' office decor. Waiting the customary 15 post flu shot, he opens the hallway door to leave and AGAIN encounters those 'body imbalancing-sudden nerves-alternating-gravity fast-moving doors' elevators! [Remember the Temple Grandin HBO movie?] He does not like elevators but he has learned to focus on the (drawings or numbers) and count up or down depending on which way we are going.

    This account is included because often we spend so much time focusing on the 'problem' and not giving greater attention to the progress.  Our son transitioned very well during these multiple changes in his 'routine' weekday schedule :
    1. early dismissal
    2. end of school day snack in the car
    3. doctors office and a leg vaccination
    4. return to school
    5. participate in a new program after school
    And those dreadful elevators...
    "Sometimes,
    Parents have to challenge their 'challenged' children
    in order to prepare them
    for the challengings of  life."

    Back to School -(for) P.A.L.S.
    As we drove back to school, I reminded our son we were going back to school'... for P.A.L.S.'! He looked at his paper as he ate his snack. His pleasant expression indicated that he recognized the P.A.L.S. characters. For a new routine, I think he did wonderful walking back into school, rechecking in and walking back to class!

    P.A.L.S. Rewards Participants -
    Our son was smiling, giggling, looking relaxed and comfortable as when the coordinator dismissed him.  His face and body language said it all!  We hugged, shouted P.A.L.S. accolades as we jumped up and down with pure joy!  Our P.A.L.S. Coordinator  excitedly shared with me that my son had explored new areas of the school and had a good time! She gave him his P.A.L.S. Certificate and a kids restaurant coupon.

     P.A.L.S. - Our son totally enjoyed his first day in his first afterschool program!
    'Play and Learn SocialSkills'!

    Ureka! We struck gold! -
    After jumping, dancing, floor-circling and giving hugs and hi-5s, he proudly walked to the car, opened the door and reached for his P.A.L.S. certificate. For 3 minutes, he just sat there with sheer admiration expressed on his face and in his posture. I waited outside the car sensing this was a self-reflective moment for my 5 year old. He just quietly sat there smiling while silently 'reading' his certificate. Then, in a calm, content voice, he pointed to each letter as he said them and confidently, yet softly proclaimed 'PALS.' I believe this was his way of sharing that he understands what this paper represents, he connected with our conversations; and appreciates why he came back to school - for P.A.L.S.

    More Social Interaction Progress! -
    We celebrated more by going to his favorite mall, eating his fav chicken nuggets and 'no salt please' waffle fries.  He enjoys reading the food activity bag while eating there. Afterwards, he explores the color(ful), interactive, brightly lite electronic games and gadgets. Periodically, he would stand near another kid as they 'played' one of the games,making minimal eye contact while pointing and gestering to take his turn with the joy sticks.

    Laughter! 
    Some eye connecting! 
    Close proximity!
    No fidgitting, scrimming, rocking or screaming!
    Parallel playing!
    Sharing!
    Taking Turns!
    Exchanging glances and smiles!

    Great!  I think as I snap several photos!

    As soon as he see his father, he immediately, but calmly and assertively, proudly showed his Dada his P.A.L.S. Certificate. Giving verbal praise, he reads the certificate as our son calls out P.A.L.S. and laughs uncontrollably. We gave each other hi-5s!

    Refection -
    As I type this note, I am crying with joy just recounting our son's  range of emotions: from inquisitive upon arrival to excited at dismissal to calm as he reflected on his first P.A.L.S. day. I hope I never forget this moment. But, more importantly, we hope our 5 year old challenged with autism will remember his thoughts, feelings, pals and fun - and will want to come back to P.A.L.S. next month.

    Learning peer engagement strategies is relevant for personal development of children.  Acquiring positive peer interaction is vital and impacts one's future. We hope that participating in P.A.L.S. will prove to be mutually beneficial for our son and his P.A.L.S. peers.

    P.A.L.S. Coordinator and Team AND FELLOW PALS really made a positive mark on our son's life. We are so grateful.  We hope his participation brought joy to others, too.

    Ultimately, we hope the P.A.L.S. school-based aftercare program will help our son 'walk through more doors that lead to more community socializing and greater life success'.

     
    ENJOY!
     
    Notes:
    *When considering this type of program apart from the school setting, we recommend that you seek the advice of  a professional experienced in social skills development for children with atypical behaviors who are learning to interacting with their typical peers. Your child's school, pediatrican and/or social service providers will be able to refer reliable sources.

    **Remember, we always "encourage Parents and your child's Educators to develop and maintain effective communication and productive collaboration. Sharing daily or weekly notes to each other is a good way to do so. As Parents, we believe that our son's Teachers and other academic service providers are a TEAM (school-based instructors in general studies, enrichment,special services, etc..)  Parents should be cognizant of readily offering expressions of appreciation of/to their child's TEAM.  Therefore, we share progress and concerns with them, as well as, thank our TEAM  for wholeheartedly utilizing their professional expertise to assist us with the development our our son."
     
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    Happy VALUE Day! October Disability Awareness Month - Accessible Home LLC


    Hi-5!

    Happy VALUE Day!
    October is Disability Awareness Month.
    We are highlighting Facebook pages that offer a unique perspective about people with disabilities.
    Remember, individuals with developmental disabilities may have mobility/physical concerns, too.

    One is Accessible Homes LLC. 

    We usually only feature non-profit and governmental agencies.  But, we thought this one was so different, necessary and progressive - we had to share this on our family blog.

    'Serving People of All Accessibility" http://www.accessiblehomesllc.net/.

    There products are Celing Lifts and Transfer Aids, Walk in Bathing, Grab Bars, Bath Toilet Aids, and Automatic Door Openers.



    Of course their focus is accessibility.

    They go to the community and ask what they want.

    Accessible Homes educates themselves in classes.

    They have an Occupational Therapist/Accessiblity Specialist on their team.

    Accessible Homes clients include individuals with disabilities who receive waiver subsidies.

    To learn more, visit Accessible Homes LLC at http://www.accessiblehomesllc.net/ OR call 612-978-1054.

    ENJOY!
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