I know it's hard to tell by a picture, but these kids are labeled with a disability and guess what; they are also employed. How independent is that. It sounded too good to be true when I heard people say that my child really can live an independent life - only until I heard the lovely lady, Carissa (girl standing in back with big smile), give her testimony. She is truly an inspiration. Carissa's mom is Cindi Paschall and volunteers with the Arc of NE Tarrant County. They put on this fabulous conference on August 10, 2013 and I was so lucky to have been able to attend...and with my mom, another great advocate.
Golden Nuggets from today's Living with Disability Conference -
1) Be encouraging!
2) Always give him/her a chance to try!
3) Once they do it by themself, don't ever do it for them again
4) PLAAFP (student's vision in IEP) = Effective Transition Planning
5) Guardian & Alternatives to Guardianship - start the process 180 days before their 18th birthday (Attorney: Chris Mims)
***Now...the coolest part is that 1 and 2 above were words hand-written by a self-advocate who is wheelchair bound, living alone, and has a severe speech impairment.
"My name is Maddie and I'm a small teenager who enjoys life and has fun wherever I am!"
"There's more to me than just my special needs and my diagnoses. People are very curious about me and I don't mind sharing.
I was born with a rare disorder Feingold Syndrome which consists of my most noticeable characteristic,
Microcephaly (small head). Mommy says mine is cute and petite...just like me!
"God gave it to me, so I thought I'd wear it."