August 2017 E-Newsletter
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
We are seeing it in Houston, and right here at home!
Be Kind to Humankind Week
"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." -- Henry James
As gut-wrenching as this week’s harrowing situation in Texas has been, one cannot help but be moved and inspired watching so many come out to aid or donate what they can to help those in need.
How curiously coincidental that this is happening right before our eyes during international Be Kind to Humankind Week (BK2HK).
Created by Lorraine Jara in 1988, BK2HK is celebrated globally each year from August 25 to August 31 to reflect on and promote kindness, positivity and unity amongst humanity. Each day of the seven-day celebration has a different theme along with easy actions that people can take to do their part to make this world a better place.
We asked Continuum staff and clients to share their personal stories of kindness to give you ideas of how you can spread kindness this week and in the future.
Sacrifice Our Wants For Other’s Needs Sunday
After serving time, I was staying at a halfway house and started college while I was there. I needed a computer for my schoolwork so I had to contact my Federal Dept. of Corrections caseworker for permission to purchase a laptop since they don’t allow laptops in halfway houses. I was the only guy there with a computer. A lot of other halfway house residents were looking for work – and the case managers/social workers weren’t helping – so I would sit with them and work on their resumes and help them look for work on my laptop. Staff took away my laptop for two weeks when they found out. I told them, “I guarantee when I get it back, I will be doing the same thing.” Eventually, I started getting furloughs to go home on the weekends. I was still using my laptop to help my co-residents, even printing interview tips for them. So the staff took away my computer and my furloughs, so I couldn’t visit my family. But that didn’t stop me from helping those guys. Out of the 6 men that I helped, all of them got work.
The staff at Continuum are more than co-workers, they are friends. One time, I was having a really rough day at work while trying to complete an assigned task. One of my co-workers – who has literally become my best friend – asked me how my day was going. I shared that I could not really focus on the project at hand and was struggling to complete it. My co-worker then went out and brought back breakfast for us to share. She told me to take a break to regroup, and explained that life is too short to be stressed. After we ate breakfast, she pulled up a chair next to my computer and said, ”Now, let’s get this done.” I don’t know what is was about her encouraging words and kind gestures, but I was able to complete my assignment and I felt so much better. To her it was no big deal but it showed me that the people at Continuum are filled with compassion, kindness, and Love. Thanks Ivelisse!!
I’ve been working with Tracy for 4 years now. At this point, we have developed a heartwarming and trusting relationship. She’s always been very kind and constantly checks on staff’s wellbeing and families. She and my son share a birthday, so she always asks how he’s doing. If you’re out sick, she’ll check up on you. When my back went out for about a week, she called to make sure I was resting properly and feeling better. We both consider each other as family. I don’t think of her as a client. I’m just Tina, and she’s just Tracy.
Speak Kind Words Saturday
A simple smile and kind words can brighten anyone’s day. Angela has been cleaning South Central Peer offices for over 10 years. She comes twice a week with her aid. She often smiles, is so happy and always compliments me on my hair. Other days she’s very down and not herself. One day she was cleaning, I noticed she was sweating and her face was red as she cleaned. When I asked if she was okay, she said she was not feeling well. I told her she could rest and as she was sitting there, she said, “Ivette, I like your hair. It’s very nice. How do you do that?” I told her it was easy and offered to do her hair. She looked in the mirror and said, “I love it. Thank you, really, thank you very much.” Honestly, she made my day.
Motorist Consideration Monday
I have a bike named Grease and I would ride it to and from places to pick up and deliver items for people, free of charge. I started with my aunts. They own a hair salon, so I would pick food up for the shop. Then I started to pick up items for their customers. The farthest I’ve gone is from downtown New Haven to Westville, which took about 35 minutes. I never asked for anything. If I got anything, it was a blessing. It was good for me beyond helping me to get in shape. It created connections. People got to know me from seeing me riding my bike around. One of the guys I delivered for even introduced me to a scholarship that I won.
Continuum started a community garden this past May to give our program residents the opportunity to learn new skills, socialize with one another, and develop healthy eating habits. The garden is thriving and we have shared our bounty of basil, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers and so much more with staff and residents, alike. But our garden wouldn’t flourish without the help of Billy and Juan. Billy was the only resident to participate in planting the garden. He waters the garden just about daily with the help of Juan, an employee. He is also very helpful in picking the veggies (and eating them!). Juan is a wonderful employee. He encourages Billy on a daily basis to make the garden a part of his routine. Without their help we would not have a garden at all!
Forgive Your Foe Friday
Sometimes people treat the front desk/ receptionist position as one they don’t have to respect. So I’ve dealt with people being very rude. One person in particular was rude a couple of times. At first I was really upset but then I took time to think about the situation and look at it from their point of view and see that their rudeness was a reflection of them and not me. So I decided to say something just in case the person didn’t realize their behavior – which turned out to be the case. Having that conversation brought a coolness to our relationship that enabled us to work together in a healthy environment. Forgiveness is for you, not the other person. It’s a release for you. It’s even better if you’re able to talk about the issue with the other person because it’s a release for the both of you.
A Night of Music and Meaning: Tuesday, October 3
Presented by The Loughridge Williams Foundation
Please join us for A Night of Music and Meaning -- Tuesday, October 3, 5:30 pm at Anthony's Ocean View -- as we honor Mayor Toni Harp and Dr. William and Betsy Sledge. A special performance will be given by internationally acclaimed jazz prodigy pianist Matt Savage, who was diagnosed with a form of autism at age 3. The evening will feature exquisite food, drinks, and a silent auction.
All net proceeds from the event will go directly toward supporting clients with autism and other developmental disabilities. Click here for more information and to register.
Making the Tough Transition to Adulthood With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder, aka ASD, covers a host of neurological conditions that range widely in severity of communication and social interaction impairments; difficulty regulating emotions; and repetitive or obsessive behaviors and interests. But the prevalence of children diagnosed with ASD has spiked in the past years, with current estimations of 1 in 68 children. Researchers believe the spike is partly due to improved detection. There are no reliable estimates of the number of adults currently living with ASD, but as the years go by it goes to reason that the spike in adults will mirror that for children.
Many early intervention services for children with ASD exist. Yet, according to Leann Smith’s research as a developmental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, there isn’t anything analogous to that for adults. The end of adolescence means the end of federally mandated special education services — a pivotal time when the need for support is particularly high. For someone with impaired abilities to communicate and manage relationships, to solve problems flexibly and regulate emotions, this period can be devastating. Many young adults challenged with ASD are left hanging without means and support services.
Paul Shattuck, director of the Life Course Outcomes program at Drexel University’s Autism Institute in Philadelphia, spent five years poring through data from a nationally representative survey of adults who received special education services during high school, including students with ASD. His results, as reported in JAMA Pediatrics, revealed that almost 40 percent of the young adults in his sample received no mental health, case management, or language services. In another study he found that more than half of young adults with ASD were “completely disengaged” from any employment or post-secondary education in the two years after leaving high school.
Shattuck’s report paints a dark picture for many adults diagnosed with ASD who are left without supportive services and opportunities. Employment, continued education, and activities for continuous social interaction foster much needed stimulation and sustainment or advancement of skills.
A few examples include:
- Personal hygiene
- Making small talk
- Interpreting body language
- Following social rules
- Planning and organizing
- Adapting to changes
- Making friends
- Independent thinking
- Enhanced memorization
- Getting along with others
- Independent living
Continuum recognizes the multi-faceted challenges of the adult ASD population and consistently looks for engaging ways to foster experiences, growth and learning so they can live meaningful lives. Continuum offers programs and connections to programs for adults that address the needs of each individual client. An evergreen goal plan is built for each client designed to build knowledge; emotional, social and communication skills; sensory stimulation; wellness behaviors; daily living skills; and more. Clients participate in a variety of enrichment activities, therapies, formalized education programs, enrichment workshops, and/or vocational work where appropriate.
With increasing state and federal budget cuts, support for these programs from individual donors is imperative. Such kindness is sorely needed and greatly appreciated. Please consider a donation so that we can continue to help individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities to thrive and live fully in the community. Thank you for your kindness.
Your Kindness is Truly Appreciated
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