Nourish Your Soul: Continuum March 2018 E-Newsletter


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"Being disabled does not mean Un-abled, just Different Abled." 
- Noel Helm, Director of Office of Student Accessibility, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College

In This Issue

Persistence Makes Breakthroughs //  Brain Food 
Spring Cleaning and Landscaping // New In-Home Services // Donations  // Advocacy Matters


Persistence Makes Breakthroughs

Natoya and her parents have faced tremendous challenges and heartbreak, but they have never given up hope or the pursuit for her to thrive.  Natoya was diagnosed with severe developmental disabilities when she was very young, and she is nonverbal, deaf, and legally blind.

Having a child with severe disabilities requires a lot of work, love, and sacrifice.  Natoya’s parents worked steadfastly to find the right resources and placement for their special daughter.  It wasn’t easy though.  Being unable to communicate caused Natoya great frustration, and especially when she couldn’t express discomfort or pain.  Frustration often led to difficult behaviors, such as tantrums, self-harm and combativeness. 

Her parents had a tough time finding day programs for Natoya, so they had to place her in specialized group homes at a very young age. They were not too pleased with the initial homes and programs she was placed in. They lacked personalized care and sensory items.  Staff continuously gave her takeout/fast food meals, and their attitudes were very nonchalant toward their concerns. 

Finding Continuum last year has made a world of difference, because in the words of Natoya’s program manager Nancy, “We’ll try anything.”

Continuum’s staff give Natoya highly personalized care.  They take her on outings in the community, keep her on a regular exercise schedule, and provide a solid self-care routine that helps to calm her when she’s not feeling well. They understand her need for sensory stimulation, particularly given her hearing and visual impairments.  She’s a big fan of long baths with an essential oil diffuser and a light projector that transforms her room into an ocean wonderland. Staff rotate cooking duties so Natoya and her housemates always have a healthy variety of food to eat.  

Staff also maintain a bin of all sorts of tactile-friendly, scented items that help with her sensitivity to sensory information – sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, balance and body awareness – that make it hard for people with developmental disabilities to understand or cope with the world around them. 

To that end, she enjoys drawing with scented markers, working with building blocks, feeling the soft-textured, feathery or furry items they provide, and playing on her drums – staff is thinking about getting her a keyboard, as well. She also works with a visual matching game (staff thinks she can see a bit, i.e., shadows), and she LOVES Connect 4. 

Persistence makes breakthroughs. Natoya has made major achievements in areas of life so many of us take for granted. For example, staff were impressed by the fact that it only took her a week to physically familiarize herself in her new environment at Continuum. She knows how to do her own laundry, with supervision, and clears her dishes from the table after eating. Natoya was also finally able to take a walk around her neighborhood after weeks of trying to get her past her home’s driveway. It’s important to her program that she and all her housemates be as independent as possible.

She goes home every other weekend, and on the other weekends her parents come to the house on Sundays to spend time with her. They also call Continuum for weekly check-ups on how she is doing. 

What Natoya’s parents want is simple. That she be safe, comfortable, well taken care of and, above all, enjoy her life. All of this love and support is what it takes.


Brain Food

Are you nourishing your brain? The food you eat is the fuel that keeps the control center of your body -- your brain -- running. Eating food high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourish the brain. The right foods can enhance brain functioning, your mood, and more while the wrong food (i.e., fried and highly-processed food) will compromise your brain health.

Check out the simple and affordable healthy brain recipes below:

 

 

 


Spring is in the Air...

And it’s time to clear out the clutter and keep your yard the envy of your neighbors. Luckily for you, no job is TOO BIG or too small for Continuum’s Landscaping Crew and Dream to Clean Team. 

Get your free estimate now for Housekeeping, Heavy Cleaning, Landscaping or Lawn Maintenance – lawn care is currently only in New Haven County. Both teams are fully insured and Continuum guarantees high-quality, professional service.

Contact: Elsa Ward at 203.498.4160 x 302 or eward@continuumct.org.

Below are some quick and simple tips for spring cleaning and lawn care:

 

 


New In-Home Services for Developmental Disabilities

Continuum’s new Individualized Services Program (ISP) offers people with developmental disabilities (such as Autism) the opportunity to live independently in their home while being active members of their community.

ISP Offers:

Respite Care
Individual Home Supports
Individualized Day Supports (Vocational & Non-Vocational)
Personal Support

Social & Community Activities
Individual Employment Support 
Independent Living Skills Enrichment
Volunteering Opportunities

"Kim is always excited when staff come to pick her up, and it's relief for me to know that she's well taken care of." -- Elaine San Angelo, parent

Contact ISP Director Lisa McNeill at 475.224.6687 or lmcneill@continuumct.org for more information or referrals.


Do You Have Good Stuff Not Being Used?

Continuum is in sore need of new or gently used household items to help us send our clients off to their new lives. You can drop items off at the administrative office at 109 Legion Avenue, New Haven, CT 06519, or arrange for a pick-up depending on the item.
 
Our People Need:
--Dinnerware and Flatware
--Cookware
--Toiletries
--Cleaning Supplies
--Furniture & Bedding
--Clothing & Shoes

Contact: Monica O'Connor (VP of Facilities) at 203.562.2264 x113 or moconnor@continuumct.org.
 

We cannot thank you enough for helping Continuum to rebuild lives.


Advocacy Matters

It’s important that DMHAS and DDS get fully funded in order to rebuild lives. Organizations like Continuum depend on this funding to help rebuild lives while saving the state millions of dollars. 

In the video above, Continuum client and employee Vinny shares his inspiring story in a testimony to the Appropriations Committee. 


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