It will be a fun year with this crew, representing Easterseals Arkansas at various events throughout the year. Philip continues on as our Adult Rep, with Kala'Bria as the new Grand Prairie Child Development Center Rep; Griffin (wearing glasses) as the new Child Rep; and Zack Gridley, who is continuing his second term as our Youth Rep!
Our representatives serve two-year terms, which are staggered like our Board of Directors terms. They happily represent us at events, corporate partner visits and in the media.
Griffin is known around here as the boy with the cool glasses. He was born with a rare genetic disease, Leber's Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), which affects vision, but hasn't let that slow him down from enjoying life to 100 percent. As aresult of his lack of vision, Griffin currently receives occupational, physical, and speech therapy services to help him learn to thrive in this very sighted world that we live in. Griffin loves his teachers and therapists at Easterseals and was a key player in raising funds through his Walk With Me team this past summer! Easterseals has been an ongoing blessing to Griffin's family, says his mother, Cary, who is a therapist at Easterseals. "We feel so privileged that Griffin has been so loved and accepted here, and feel so indebted to the staff that works with him daily."
Born at 28 weeks, Kala’Bria only weighed 2.4 pounds and spent well over five months in the hospital before ever coming home. She began attending our Stuttgart preschool in October of 2015. When she first came to Easterseals, Kala’Bria couldn’t even sit up by herself. Before long, after receiving physical and developmental therapies, she surpassed the crawling stage and went straight to walking. Now, she receives speech therapy and is improving in that area as well. Kala’Bria is like many other little girls. She loves to dance, sing and play with her baby dolls, and we’re happy to have her as our Grand Prairie Child Development Center representative!
One of our most enthusiastic youths, Zack has been receiving services at Easterseals since he was a baby. Most recently, he helped coordinate our in-house pie-in-the-face fundraiser for Walk With Me. He had the most fun smudging pies in the “winners’” faces. He carries over his leadership skills at school where he’s part of the jump rope team and Klondike Leadership Academy, which focuses on students doing community service and other activities independently. We are honored to continue having Zack as our Youth Representative!
Originally from Okalahoma, where he graduated from Broken Arrow High School in 2009, Philip earned various art awards and accolades in national choir competitions. He was one of the Oklahoma Governor’s ambassadors of music in 2009. Philip lives in one of our apartment communities – Wilson Court II – and has attended the Center for Training & Wellness since 2014. He excels at art, and his artwork has been sold in our Art & Soul event. Philip is a big Oklahoma University fan and loves to hang out with his friends and family. A goal of his is to one day be part of our college program with UA Little Rock, ACCE, and have a part-time job. He strives every day to be more social and independent.
Friday, October 13, 2023, 2:34 PM
Supported employment programs offer transformative experiences for individuals with disabilities, en…
Supported employment programs offer transformative experiences for individuals with disabilities, enabling them to find their place in the labor market. These evidence-based initiatives deliver specialized assistance and continuous support, ensuring that people with disabilities thrive in highly-competitive environments. Vocational rehabilitation programs, agencies, families, and communities all play crucial roles in supported employment, empowering participants to unveil their full potential in job opportunities.
Community-based services, paired with job coaches and vocational rehabilitation agencies, empower individuals with significant disabilities to attain competitive employment and receive indispensable ongoing support. The primary goal of these programs is to guarantee inclusive work environments and long-term success for those with severe disabilities. A cohesive team made up of job seekers, their families, and other pivotal stakeholders is instrumental in helping these individuals achieve their aspirations through critical employment services.
Supported employment programs are tailored specifically for each individual, focusing on their strengths and preferences. A fundamental component of these services is job coaching. This offers one-on-one support to people with disabilities throughout the learning process, enabling them to successfully integrate into a working environment. Research published in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation underscores the importance of health services, such as mental health services, in ensuring that these individuals have proper access to stable jobs.
Ongoing assistance is essential in tandem with supported employment. This provides an additional layer of security, especially during extended periods of work. Over time, even after successfully integrating into their communities, individuals may require continued guidance. Monitoring not only their physical health but also their psychological well-being is crucial. Quality mental health care offerings play a significant role in this.
In essence, supported employment programs offer individuals with disabilities a path to independence and financial stability, enhancing self-esteem and opening up better opportunities in the labor market.
Vocational rehabilitation agencies play a crucial role in supported employment services. They offer job placement assistance and other vital support, enabling job seekers with disabilities to access competitive jobs. These agencies work closely with individuals, families, and service providers to help them navigate the labor market and find suitable employment opportunities. In addition to providing guidance and relevant services for smooth integration into the workforce, these agencies also offer extended support to those requiring long-term assistance in maintaining their employment within a community setting. In essence, vocational rehabilitation teams are dedicated to ensuring that everyone has the necessary resources when seeking or maintaining employment so they can find roles that align with their abilities.
Several supported employment models have been thoroughly researched and proven effective for those who benefit from these services. These models include Individual Placement and Support (IPS), Customized Employment, and Community-Based Supported Employment. Each has its unique approach, but all prioritize self-determination, choice, control, job development, and placement as essential components for their participants. Through these robust support systems that encourage independence while offering assistance where it is most needed, individuals requiring supported employment services can access the vast opportunities provided by stable job placements that best fit their needs.
The IPS model is an evidence-based supported employment program designed specifically for individuals with severe mental illnesses. Its goal is to assist them in finding and maintaining the job of their choice. This approach places a strong emphasis on individualized support, drawing from principles such as self-determination, choice, and control. It underscores that job development and placement are critical components of employment services. What sets the IPS model apart from other supported employment models is its concentrated focus on addressing the unique challenges and needs of this population. This approach has yielded successful employment outcomes for individuals who need such support.
Evidence-based customized employment is a robust model designed to assist individuals with disabilities in achieving competitive, integrated employment. This strategy emphasizes individualized support and job placement, recognizing the critical importance of choice, control, and self-determination for those entering the workforce.
Job duties can be adapted to meet individual needs, creating a work environment that offers both autonomy and financial stability. The customized approach guides individuals through every step of the employment process—from job search and hiring to re-entry into the workforce, if needed. It places particular emphasis on leveraging the individual’s skill set, ensuring that persons with disabilities can thrive and seize equal opportunities within their chosen profession or trade.
The community-based supported employment model offers tailored support for individuals with disabilities in their pursuit and retention of employment within their local communities. This model is evidence-based, emphasizing self-determination, the freedom to choose, and the ability to control one’s circumstances. It prioritizes job development skills and finding suitable job opportunities that align with individual needs.
This approach has shown effectiveness in fostering a greater sense of inclusion in communities. Employers work closely with potential employees, providing them access to meaningful job opportunities. This not only enhances their quality of life but also promotes diverse workforces globally.
The supported employment process begins with assessment and career exploration. This initial step ensures that individuals have all the necessary resources to achieve their professional aspirations while receiving adequate long-term support. Following this, job development and placement are emphasized, guaranteeing success and continued assistance to maintain employment. Together, these steps create a pathway to sustained work outcomes for those with disabilities.
The supported employment process begins with a comprehensive assessment. This assessment is designed to identify each individual’s strengths, preferences, and support needs. By evaluating the skills, interests, and abilities of the person in question, this stage helps uncover potential job options and suitable career paths within an appropriate program. Professional exploration, such as internships or simply “trying out” certain tasks, is essential for understanding professional goals through direct experience.
These initial stages are foundational for building a successful base upon which steps can rely. By recognizing their unique needs, all involved stakeholders increase their chances of finding meaningful work that aligns well with both their aptitudes and personal inclinations. The ultimate aim is to achieve lasting outcomes in terms of maintaining employment opportunities along these lines.
Job developers and employment specialists play a crucial role in the supported employment process, assisting job seekers in finding suitable competitive positions. This involves crafting resumes and cover letters for applicants and connecting with employers who might be interested in offering positions.
The goal is to match individuals with disabilities to roles where they can excel, thereby increasing their prospects of long-term success within that organization or business. Employment providers are dedicated to offering appropriate work opportunities, ensuring those searching have a strong likelihood of sustainable placements where their skills can flourish.
Ongoing support and job retention are key elements in the supported employment process. This process ensures that individuals with disabilities have access to the necessary assistance they need to maintain their jobs. Such services may include training or specific workplace arrangements based on an individual’s needs. These services can be offered for up to 24 months, providing stability through continuous care.
This commitment is crucial, as it enhances an individual’s chances of succeeding in a competitive labor market. It enables them to achieve their professional goals while maintaining security at their workplace. Supported employment providers offer critical assistance in navigating the potential obstacles these individuals face, ensuring they reap the full benefits of the program and that their participation in the labor market isn’t hindered. Job coaching is a resource that has a positive impact on people over time, leading to improved overall well-being.
Supported employment service provider programs are backed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This act ensures that individuals with disabilities have access to suitable work environments. Funding for these services comes from state vocational rehabilitation departments and other organizations dedicated to assisting people with impairments. Their goal is to equip these individuals with the necessary means to secure competitive and integrated jobs. Thanks to the funding directed toward supported employment service providers, employment opportunities remain available, ensuring that those in need can find meaningful positions.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was established to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities in programs affiliated with federal agencies or those receiving funding from the government. It promotes and initiates vocational rehabilitation programs that grant these individuals equal opportunities for competitive employment. Other significant pieces of legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997, share a similar purpose.
These laws provide avenues for disabled individuals to achieve their professional aspirations. Additionally, they assist companies in fostering more diverse workforces and supporting individuals in leading healthier lives by offering assistance for career development activities, including education and skill enhancement strategies.
State agencies play a crucial role in delivering support to individuals, families, and service providers concerning employment services. Typically, these organizations include developmental disabilities agencies, intellectual disabilities entities, and mental health groups, among others, which offer funding for such job-related programs. The primary focus of these state authorities is to provide essential financial aid and supported work services. This ensures that people with disabilities can access the necessary tools for competitive jobs, enhancing their autonomy, self-esteem, and economic stability. By collaborating closely with community-based professionals and clients enrolled in the program, state agencies ensure successful outcomes from supported employment opportunities. This collaborative effort significantly impacts today’s workforce landscape through government intervention.
Supported employment programs depend heavily on family involvement and collaboration with the community. Families play a crucial role in the success of these initiatives by advocating for individuals with disabilities. Engaging with external partners fosters an inclusive workplace for those who need additional support with work-related tasks. By collaborating closely with these service providers, families significantly enhance the process.
Supported employment programs thrive on family engagement and advocacy to secure the best outcomes for their loved ones. Families can provide insights into an individual’s needs and offer emotional support. Simultaneously, they collaborate with providers to identify job opportunities and assist in job maintenance. Active family participation in supported employment can foster an inclusive workplace environment. This can lead to long-term positive outcomes for individuals with disabilities. It is vital for families to be actively involved to ensure the rights of their loved ones are upheld.
For success, supported employment programs need to collaborate with employers, service providers, and other community partners. These collaborations create inclusive work environments for individuals with disabilities. Such partnerships grant access to resources and support that enable disabled individuals to thrive in their roles. Furthermore, these collaborations champion the rights of those with physical or mental impairments, both within organizations and on a societal level.
Engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders in this collaborative effort, supported employment initiatives can drive positive social change. This includes enhanced diversity and inclusion across all sectors, from recruitment strategies to everyday interactions. Such initiatives provide individuals with disabilities with better chances of achieving their goals. This collaborative process helps eliminate barriers to equality and fosters unity among all staff members, regardless of their abilities. Ultimately, it transforms workplaces into harmonious ecosystems that promote shared values and well-being for everyone involved.
The remarkable effects of supported employment programs are evident in their success stories and best practices. Through videos, we hear from people with disabilities, their families, and employers. All of them attest to the transformative power of these services in enhancing lives. Quotes underscore the importance of sustained support in this type of job placement.
By delving into these stories, we can extract valuable insights about the optimal methods used in supported employment services, enhancing our understanding of them.
Testimonies resonate deeply, offering valuable insights into the profound impact that supported employment programs have on individuals with disabilities, their families, and employers alike. With the provision of tailored support, dedicated job coaching, and unwavering assistance, these individuals triumph over hurdles and secure the roles they aspire to. These personal accounts serve as powerful motivators for others to relentlessly pursue their own career ambitions. Moreover, delving into these narratives enables us to distill the most effective strategies for delivering these services. These strategies, in turn, set the standard for providing exceptional support, guaranteeing that everyone, whether engaged in supported employment initiatives or pursuing more conventional avenues, receives the highest quality assistance.
Reflecting on the experiences of program participants, one person enthuses, "You get to go out there and get to chase your dreams!" Another shares, "I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the impact this program has had on our internal employees, as well as our customers." Inquiring about a participant's day, the response is filled with enthusiasm, "How was your day? He said it was great. Great!" As one observer notes, "ACCE gives these kids an opportunity to express themselves in the workplace.".
The experiences of those who have succeeded in supported employment programs offer valuable insights into enhancing these services. Tailoring assistance specifically is crucial, and it demands a collaborative effort from all community stakeholders. It is also important to foster close connections between employers and employees. By learning from these success stories, service providers, families, and other involved parties can shape environments that truly support individuals with disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential. Adhering to the best practices drawn from these examples ensures the long-term success of such initiatives.
Supported employment programs have positively impacted the lives of many people with disabilities. They provide valuable support and resources to help these individuals achieve their career aspirations. These services include job coaching, guidance from vocational rehabilitation agencies, assistance from families, and financial aid to help individuals adapt to a competitive labor market. By implementing these interventions through best practices, we can continue to aid disabled individuals and pave the way for brighter future prospects.
Transitional employment focuses on those who are jobless or in low-wage positions. In contrast, supported employment is particularly beneficial for people with mental illnesses and other serious disabilities, such as intellectual impairments and brain traumas.
Easterseals Arkansas offers a variety of programs and services dedicated to empowering individuals with disabilities. One of their standout initiatives is the Supported Employment Program. This program is specifically designed to assist individuals with disabilities in achieving and maintaining competitive employment within their communities.
With personalized support, job coaching, and consistent assistance, Easterseals Arkansas ensures that these individuals can navigate the challenges of the labor market and secure jobs that match their skills and interests. The program places a strong emphasis on collaboration with local employers, families, and other stakeholders. This collaborative approach aims to foster an inclusive work environment and provide continuous support for job retention and success.
Supported employment provides individuals with disabilities with comprehensive services and ongoing support to help them participate competitively and interdependently in the nation’s workforce. These intensive services facilitate their long-term integration into labor force activities.
The purpose of supported employment services is to offer individuals with significant disabilities the resources and support necessary to find and maintain competitive jobs. This assistance is often delivered through community-based service providers and job coaches.
The post Unlocking Potential Through Supported Employment Programs appeared first on Easterseals Arkansas Blog.
Thursday, July 27, 2023, 4:00 AM
Embark on this journey to celebrate the world of disability pride, a movement that shows strength in…
Embark on this journey to celebrate the world of disability pride, a movement that shows strength in diversity and resilience. Disability pride is an idea that works towards redefining how people view those with disabilities while emphasizing their unique beauty. Discover its history as well as why it matters within our society today!
Celebrate Disability Pride Month to promote visibility and create an inclusive world.
Embrace disability identity through positive language and respect for individual preferences.
Foster community, challenge stereotypes, celebrate human diversity, educate & share stories of empowerment to drive innovation & inclusion.
Disability Pride Month, celebrated in July each year, is a time of honoring and recognizing the accomplishments people with disabilities have made. It serves to challenge preconceived notions about individuals with disabilities as well as create greater public awareness.
The Disability Rights Movement has been an essential part of progressing legal rights for disabled persons, particularly through their successful campaign for the Americans With Disabilities Act -and allows us to recognize that all forms of human diversity are both natural and beautiful!
To celebrate this progress, disability pride parades are held annually. These parades bring together members from different socioeconomic backgrounds within the disability community. They aim to promote visibility and educate society about ongoing development on these issues.
Disability Pride Month is rooted in the 1990 enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that was crucial to advancing disability rights and combatting discrimination against people with disabilities.
This law enabled those affected by disabilities to live their lives without fear or prejudice both privately and publicly within areas such as employment opportunities, education services, public transportation systems and other places open for general use.
Every year Disability Pride Parades take place around different cities globally including New York City and Chicago which gives members of this community an opportunity to express themselves proudly while challenging stereotypes associated with them.
It all began back on Disabled Pride Day in Boston, when huge crowds came out to celebrate what soon became a well-known movement dedicated exclusively to individuals living life differently. This celebration promoted human diversity but also triggered change leading to more acceptance than ever before regarding how society views these differences overall.
The social model of disability is a concept that holds the perspective that it is society, rather than individuals with disabilities themselves, who need to change in order for these people to become fully included.
This idea emphasizes this part of human diversity, and does not suggest attempting ‘to fix’ or cure someone’s impairment as this form part of what makes us diversely unique.
As such, by incorporating the social model into everyday life we can create an environment where everyone has access to equal opportunities regardless of their condition.
Be it enabling public spaces so they are accommodating to those living with disabilities or providing them meaningful employment options, creating inclusive settings opens up many doors which leads them down pathways leading to better lives and fulfilling experiences throughout all aspects.
Ann Magill created the Disability Pride Flag as a way to honor and empower those within the disability community, bringing pride and unity through its powerful visual symbolism.
The flag is adorned with five colors – red for physical disabilities, gold indicating neurodivergence, blue signifying mental illness, green representing invisible or undiagnosed illnesses/disabilities while yellow stands in solidarity of intellectual/developmental impairment.
Emphasizing strength among this diverse group of people living with disabilities, this vibrant symbol serves as an enduring reminder that we must not forget our commitment to fight for rights amongst all members of the disability community.
The Disability Pride Flag represents a wide array of disabilities and the strength, brilliance, triumphs and unique perspectives that individuals living with disabilities bring to our world.
Red illustrates physical impairments,
Gold captures neurodiversity,
Blue stands for mental illness.
Green symbolizes invisible or undiagnosed challenges faced by many people with disabilities,
While yellow pays homage to those who experience intellectual/developmental difficulties.
Together these colors create an emblem honoring the proud diversity found in disabled communities today.
Being part of a disability community instills a strong sense of positive pride and empowerment. It fosters a powerful source of identity that includes one’s disabilities, creating a deep connection with others who share similar experiences. This strengthens the bond among individuals living with disabilities.
Language holds sway when it comes to honoring those experiences while promoting acceptance of disabled persons’ identities.
Person-first language, such as referring to someone as “a person with a disability,” prioritizes the individual’s humanity above all else.
On the other hand, identity-first language, like using the term “disabled person,” highlights how a person’s disabilities are integral aspects of their identity.
This approach recognizes that individuals may require support or accommodations due to these impairments, but it also acknowledges that disability is an inherent part of one’s sense of self. It emphasizes that disability is deserving of the same respect and admiration as any other characteristic that defines a person among us humans.
It is essential to show respect for the choice an individual makes when deciding between person-first and identity-first language. Person-first emphasizes that someone with a disability should be viewed as people first, where their condition plays only one part of who they are.
In contrast, utilizing identity-first terminology such as “disabled” or “autistic” shows pride in being disabled and challenges commonly held stereotypes by placing it at the forefront.
No matter which preference each unique individual holds, both methods recognize disabilities. Emphasize different angles on them -respectively highlighting individuals before their conditions or proudly celebrating disability identities upfront.
Regardless of this distinction though, giving everyone due consideration while talking about things related to disabilities should always come above all else.
Showing courtesy through respecting other’s preferences regarding what type of speech they prefer when describing themselves represents just another basic kind of person we can take upon ourselves if we want to make our world better place for those living with disabilities every day.
During Disability Pride Month, we recognize the strength and courage of people with disabilities by celebrating through a range of events. From marches to art shows, these activities bring together our community and raise awareness about disability-related issues in order to promote visibility.
Most important though is that all such gatherings remain accessible for everyone, providing transportation options for those needing it as well as interpreters so no one misses out on joining this celebration of pride in their own identity!
Let us mark this special month with respect and appreciation towards the disabled while commemorating everything they have achieved within society, celebrate Disability Pride Month today!
People with disabilities, from all walks of life, gather together for annual disability pride parade celebrations around the world. Such events not only promote visibility and mainstream awareness, but also foster a sense of community while challenging societal stereotypes about those living with disabilities – be it in big cities like New York or Chicago, or far-away Brighton in England.
By attending these parades, we are celebrating our right to disability pride and showing support for the important work done by the Disability Rights Movement to create more inclusive lives worldwide.
Through such local and global festivities, society is invited to recognize that people with disabilities have an integral part of what makes up this diverse world. Thus helping ensure greater understanding and acceptance among us all.
Inclusion of people with disabilities and making public spaces accessible is an essential part of honoring disability pride day. By fostering inclusivity, we can allow individuals affected by disabilities to take full part in all spheres of life including schooling, jobs, etc.
As a result of this move towards inclusivity and accessibility, everyone regardless of their ability will be able to live successful lives.
Employment opportunities for those living with impairments aren’t just the right decision, but a wise business choice, according to several studies conducted on the subject.
Inclusion boosts productivity and fosters customer loyalty, making companies more competitive. Hiring people with disabilities brings diversity to the workforce, leading to fresh ideas and creative solutions for businesses.
Recruiting individuals with disabilities brings a lot of advantages. Incorporating differing perspectives and elevating the work environment are some examples. Companies that hire people with special needs hire people with special needs.
Experience an increase in productivity, better staff retention rates, as well as fostering a more welcoming company culture. Hiring those who have any form of disability is not limited to meeting legal standards or targets – it’s about creating a workplace where everyone’s individual talents are respected equally regardless of their abilities.
By employing persons living with disabilities, businesses demonstrate how committed they are to diversity and equality.
Fostering disability pride and promoting acceptance is critical in building an inclusive society. We can achieve this by equipping the next generation with age-appropriate information about disabilities, including sensory impairments.
This education is necessary to help dispel negative attitudes toward those living with disabilities. Thus, helping to create a more respectful environment for all involved. Parents and educators have access to numerous resources that will assist them when talking about such topics so as to ensure the proper knowledge is imparted to children at a young age while also conveying an understanding of these issues.
By taking advantage of educating today’s youth on inclusion, we are setting up our future community for success in accepting one another regardless of their physical or mental abilities.
Stories from the perspectives of people with disabilities can be very effective for raising awareness and understanding about their lives.
Through these stories, we are reminded of their courage, tenacity, and determination in facing difficulties that come with disability. While at the same time helping to counteract existing negative stereotypes related to this topic.
The inspiring nature of such tales can motivate us into taking meaningful action – whether it is advocating for better rights concerning those living with a disability or spreading support through encouraging empathy & inclusion amongst all members within our communities.
By utilizing social media, we can support disability pride and highlight the stories of people with disabilities. It is a great platform to share their experiences and perspectives while also encouraging advocacy on behalf of rights associated with having a disability.
This type of virtual environment helps build an inclusive sense of community in which individuals are connected by mutual understanding regardless of whether there’s physical contact or not.
It raises awareness about various issues affecting those living with disabilities as well as challenging existing societal stereotypes – ultimately leading to increased representation in society at large.
Organizations such as the National Disability Rights Network, The Arc and the American Association of People with Disabilities offer advice and assistance for those wanting to support disability advocacy initiatives in their area.
Such efforts can be furthered through access to a helpful resource center that allows people with disabilities increased autonomy and self-confidence.
There are digital platforms available on social media sites that provide individuals or organizations extra sources of information about promoting inclusion within communities while working towards disability rights recognition at the same time.
These resources enable an effective approach when striving towards greater respect regarding pride associated with disabilities all over society today, ultimately leading to societal change across diverse backgrounds!
Disability Pride Month and its corresponding Disability Pride Flag embody a powerful movement in society that honors the disability community. This dynamic initiative challenges stereotypes while allowing for greater visibility of this population, as well as affording an opportunity to share stories that honor individual identity and collective history.
It also seeks to encourage others to create an increased understanding of disabilities within our communities so everyone can take pride in such remarkable diversity, strength, and resilience.
The Disability Pride flag is an iconic representation of the disabled community and symbolizes strength, visibility and pride.
Created in 2019 with revisions taking place two years later to include more muted colors as well as straight diagonal stripes, this banner was designed to provide a sense of unity amongst people living with disabilities.
It also serves as an indicator that individuals coping with impairments are an integral part of our society today. The Flag stands tall proclaiming resilience while inspiring hope for all those touched by disability. Showing them they are not alone.
The colors of disability pride symbolize all kinds of disabilities and are a way to recognize those with such conditions.
Blue stands for mental illness
Yellow is associated with cognitive or intellectual impairments
Green reflects sensory impairment issues
While red denotes physical difficulties
Honoring people living with these sorts of limitations through the hues serves as an important reminder that they have much worth and value in this world.
July is Disability Pride Month, a moment to take pride in the disability community and all its accomplishments through civil rights legislation.
It’s also an occasion for us to recognize and honor disabled people’s experiences, histories, struggles, but most of all their unique contribution to society as part of this vibrant community!
We are here both to celebrate the progress made in the fight for disability rights and commit ourselves even towards achieving full inclusion.
Rather than focusing on disabilities as the individual’s limitation, the social model of disability recognizes societal attitudes and barriers as having more influence. This empowering approach is beneficial for those with physical or mental impairments to consider their ability rather than any disabling factors.
Companies that embrace people with disabilities can experience greater productivity, higher employee retention rates and an enhanced cultural environment. Not to mention the unique perspectives these individuals may bring in terms of creativity and innovation.
A more inclusive approach towards those living with a disability opens up additional recruitment options as well as provides businesses the ability to retain a diverse workforce. In essence, hiring people with disabilities brings many benefits not just for employees, but also for overall company morale and culture.
Friday, July 7, 2023, 7:00 AM
Reaching our peak potential as a person is essential for everyone. But individuals with autism spect…
Reaching our peak potential as a person is essential for everyone. But individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disabilities may require extra assistance due to their unique behavior, communication, and social skills challenges. ABA therapy is widely used in developmental preschools, which is crucial in supporting children with ASD.
Fortunately, applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy offers the tools and support to help individuals with ASD reach their full potential.
In this article, we will discuss how ABA therapy works and how it empowers children with ASD to overcome life challenges and nurture their unique strengths.
Read on to discover how ABA therapy can benefit your child.
ABA therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on analyzing and modifying behavior to improve a person's social, communication, and learning skills.
The principles of ABA therapy are based on the science of behaviorism and involve breaking down complex behaviors into smaller more manageable parts and then using positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors.
It is also data-driven and evidence-based, meaning that treatment plans are tailored to the individual and are constantly assessed and modified based on progress.
Positive reinforcement is one of the fundamental principles of ABA therapy.
It involves providing a reward or praise in exchange for a desired behavior, which helps to strengthen that behavior over time. This can be as simple as giving a high five, hug, or verbal compliment for completing a task or exhibiting positive behavior.
Positive reinforcement motivates children with autism to continue performing desired behaviors, as they associate these actions with receiving a positive outcome. This approach also helps create an enjoyable learning environment for the child, encouraging active participation and engagement in therapy sessions.
Positive reinforcement also helps build confidence and self-esteem in children with autism since they get to experience the satisfaction of accomplishing tasks and receiving positive feedback.
Children with ASD can face various behavioral challenges that can be disrupting, limiting, and challenging for both the child and their family. Here are some common behavioral challenges:
Behavior modification techniques are at the core of ABA therapy. They include the following:
As stated earlier, positive reinforcement is one of the key strategies used in ABA therapy. Let's say a child has a habit of rocking back and forth; a therapist can try to get the child to do something else by rewarding them when they engage in a different behavior, like playing with a toy or talking with others.
In ABA therapy, modeling is a technique used by therapists to teach new skills to children. It involves the therapist demonstrating the skill themselves that they want the child to learn. For instance, if the child is learning to play with others, the therapist may model the desired behavior by playing with the child and showing them how to take turns, share toys, and communicate effectively.
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a communication tool that uses pictures or symbols to help children with communication difficulties express their needs and wants.
ABA therapy teaches the child to exchange a picture for the desired item, facilitating their learning of communication skills. Over time, the child can use pictures to form sentences and communicate with others. PECS is an effective tool for children who have difficulty with verbal communication.
Developmental preschools, combined with Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, can offer a powerful tool for promoting personal growth in children with autism. Through a combination of specialized curriculum, social skills training, and targeted behavioral interventions, children can learn to overcome challenges and develop new skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
At developmental preschools like those offered by Easterseals, children receive individualized attention from trained professionals who understand the unique needs of children with autism, providing a supportive environment for growth and development.
Developmental preschools are designed to support young children's overall growth and development by focusing on critical growth areas, such as relationships, exploration and learning, communication, playing, and moving.
But some children face unique challenges that require additional support.
Children with ASD, for instance, often struggle with communication difficulties, including speech delays, language deficits, and social communication challenges. These difficulties can significantly impact a child's ability to interact with others, leading to frustration and isolation.
Fortunately, developmental preschools can use ABA therapy to help children with ASD develop the skills they need to communicate effectively and interact with others meaningfully.
Functional communication training (FCT) is a key component of ABA therapy for communication challenges.
FCT works by identifying the behavior the child uses to communicate their needs, such as crying or screaming, and replacing it with a more appropriate communication method, such as using words or gestures.
The therapist first identifies the specific needs or wants that the child is trying to communicate through their behavior. Then, they teach the child an alternative way to communicate those needs or wants, such as using a picture or word.
The therapist also reinforces the appropriate communication by rewarding the child when they use the new communication method to express their needs.
Through repeated practice and positive reinforcement, the child learns that using the new communication method is more effective than their previous behavior. As a result, they are more likely to use the new method to communicate their needs in the future.
Those with ASD also experience significant difficulties with interacting socially, understanding social cues, and forming relationships. ABA therapists use a variety of methods to address these challenges. One evidence-based method that developmental preschools utilize is social skills training.
Social skills training is a type of ABA therapy that teaches individuals with social difficulties how to communicate, solve problems, and build relationships. It involves group sessions where individuals can practice and receive feedback on their social interactions.
The following are specific examples of social skills that ABA therapy targets:
For those with ASD, life skills are crucial to learn self-care, independence, and community participation, yet acquiring and mastering these skills can be challenging and result in daily-living difficulties.
One of the ways that ABA therapy targets and develops life skills is through the use of functional skill assessments (FSAs) and individualized programming.
FSAs identify areas where individuals need improvement in life skills. The assessments involve observing the individual in various scenarios to determine their strengths and weaknesses and to identify particular life skills that require development.
For example, observing an individual during self-care tasks, such as bathing, dressing, or cooking, can identify specific skills that need development, like washing themselves properly, dressing appropriately, or preparing simple meals independently.
An individualized program is created based on the specific life skills identified from the FSA. It tailors to individual needs and aspirations and employs specific strategies and techniques to develop the identified life skills.
For example, a program to improve self-care skills might include the following:
The benefits of life skills training can extend far beyond childhood. As children with ASD transition to adulthood, the skills acquired through ABA therapy can help them lead more fulfilling and independent lives, with greater opportunities for employment, social participation, and community involvement.
ABA therapy must have a personalized treatment approach because everyone with ASD has unique strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. What works for one person may not work for another.
ABA therapy involves continuous assessment and data collection to modify treatment plans based on the child's progress, including collecting data on the child's behavior, tracking progress, and making necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
The ongoing assessment ensures that the therapy is tailored to the child's current needs and that progress is made toward the established goals. If progress is not made, the ABA therapist will modify the treatment plan to better meet the child's needs.
Collaboration is another key component of ABA therapy. Parents, caregivers, and other professionals are actively involved in the treatment process, working with the ABA therapist to implement strategies and promote the generalization of life skills. This collaborative approach ensures that everyone involved is working toward the same goals and that the child receives consistent support.
ABA therapy is a valuable intervention for supporting children with ASD. It effectively addresses behavioral challenges through behavior modification techniques and improves communication, social, and life skills for a better quality of life.
As a result, we highly recommend that readers consider ABA therapy an effective and beneficial intervention to help children with ASD unleash their full potential.
Friday, June 23, 2023, 7:01 AM
Easterseals Arkansas is using a well-established approach to help students with disabilities succeed…
Easterseals Arkansas is using a well-established approach to help students with disabilities succeed in school.
The nonprofit's Easterseals Outreach Program collaborates with local teachers to offer individualized assistance using teaching strategies that are grounded in research and data analysis.
By implementing these teaching strategies, the Easterseals Outreach Program helps learners with disabilities reach their full potential in their academic growth and social and emotional development.
The program gives students access to individualized academic instruction, assistive technology, and specialized assessments.
As a result, learners with disabilities who receive a good education are more likely to become self-confident, independent individuals who can advocate for themselves.
The Easterseals Outreach Program focuses on supporting students with disabilities and their families in Arkansas. The statewide organization also offers vocational training and community living services to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
Easterseals Arkansas is an affiliate of Chicago-based Easterseals, which was founded in 1919. This nationwide organization, which is one of America’s largest nonprofits, serves more than 1.5 million people annually. Easterseals Arkansas has been a leader in its field and has served individuals with disabilties and their families since 1944. The Outreach program is funded through a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education.
One of the Easterseals Outreach Program’s primary offerings is a classroom support service that provides trained professionals to work alongside teachers and students. The service ensures that students with disabilities get individualized assistance that enables them to achieve their academic goals.
The outreach program also offers consultations for parents and educators. These consultations cover topics including behavior management, academic support, and communication strategies.
To ensure that students with disabilities receive consistent and comprehensive support, the Arkansas Department of Education collaborates closely with the Easterseals Outreach Program.
Professional development for educators is another one of the Easterseals Outreach Program’s primary offerings. The program provides a variety of training including workshops and online courses to help teachers build their knowledge about how best to educate students with disabilities.
The training enhances the expertise educators need to work more effectively with these students. Because these learners require specialized instruction and support to achieve academic success, their teachers must have a solid understanding of special education laws, regulations, and accommodations.
Collaborating with the Easterseals Outreach Program benefits educators by keeping them up-to-date on best practices and research-based methods. As a result, the teachers are able to provide more effective instruction and support to learners with disabilities and improve student learning outcomes.
Applied behavior analysis is a successful therapy for diverse populations such as children with autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other developmental disabilities.
Teachers in a variety of educational settings can use pedagogical strategies such as these, which are based on applied behavior analysis, to help students with disabilities achieve academic success:
The Easterseals Outreach Program’s team of professionals, trained in applied behavior analysis, collaborates closely with educators, parents, and students to gather information about the strengths and needs of learners with disabilities.
The collaborators use this information to develop specific goals and objectives for each student, which they spell out in an individualized education program (IEP). This legally binding document also specifies what specialized services the learner is entitled to receive and what educational accommodations each learner needs for academic success.
Individualized education programs are essential tools for helping students with disabilities achieve their full potential. They ensure these learners have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers.
Educators have other tools in addition to individualized education programs that support learners with disabilities in classroom settings:
Easterseals' work betters the lives of children with disabilities, enabling them to achieve success both inside and outside the classroom.
Brody is one such success story. He has a remarkable talent for bringing joy to those around him. His infectious personality, beaming smile, and fun-loving nature warm the hearts of everyone he meets.
Brody has a passion for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and knows the walk-up songs of almost every wrestler. His energy and enthusiasm make him an inspiration to everyone who has had the pleasure of knowing him.
The Easterseals Outreach Program, which utilizes applied behavior analysis, has helped improve education for learners with disabilities throughout Arkansas.
Through its tireless efforts, Easterseals has provided training and resources to educators and school districts statewide.
In addition to directly supporting students, the organization has worked to raise the general public’s awareness about the need to provide students with disabilities equal access to high-quality education. It has been a tireless advocate for policies that support these learners.
Easterseals’ efforts have helped make Arkansas a more inclusive place to live and learn.
Students with disabilities who receive support from the Easterseals Outreach Program are more likely to succeed in school.
The program gives students access to individualized academic instruction, assistive technology, and specialized assessments.
The program brings educators, parents, and caregivers together to create comprehensive educational plans that are pathways to academic success. This collaboration involves sharing information, setting goals, and developing strategies to help learners reach their full potential.
If you are a parent, caregiver, or teacher of a student with disabilities, the Easterseals Outreach Program is here for you. Reach out to us whether you need help with academic instruction, assistive technology, or something else for your student’s success.
Join us in making a difference in the lives of learners with disabilities. Together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive educational environment for them.
The post Champions of Education: How the Easterseals Outreach Program Fosters Academic Success appeared first on Easterseals Arkansas Blog.
Friday, June 9, 2023, 1:30 PM
It is said that a single act of kindness can ripple out into the world like a stone thrown into stil…
It is said that a single act of kindness can ripple out into the world like a stone thrown into still water. Volunteering has the potential to create waves of positive change in any community, large or small. Whether you're interested in working with animals, children, or the environment, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities available.
In this day and age, when so much revolves around technology and social media, it’s easy to forget how powerful one person’s effort can be when they choose to give back to their local community through volunteering.
Organizations such as Easterseals Arkansas are working hard every day to make life-changing experiences possible for those with disabilities. Founded in 1944, we provide education, therapy, and other support resources for people in need throughout Arkansas.
Volunteers play an essential role in continuing this important work by helping staff members with activities such as organizing events and assisting with fundraising efforts.
The impact volunteers have on communities cannot be overstated; without them, many organizations would not be able to continue providing these vital services.
By giving just one hour of your time each week, you could help someone find new hope or gain skills that will open doors of opportunity previously closed to them—something no app or tweet can do!
So why not take some time today and consider getting involved with a cause close to your heart?
Volunteering is a meaningful and rewarding experience that offers countless benefits to both volunteers and those they serve—from improved physical and mental well-being to social connections, career development, and more.
Here are some of the ways volunteering can benefit all who are involved:
Volunteering gives us an added layer of meaning in life beyond what we do day-to-day. It offers us unique opportunities to connect with each other while making contributions to our communities that will have long-term impacts far into the future. Explore volunteer opportunities to make a positive impact in your community and beyond.
Volunteering is a rewarding way to give back to your community and make a positive impact on the lives of others. With Easterseals, there are a variety of volunteer opportunities available that cater to different interests and skills. Whether it's helping with events, assisting with administrative tasks, or working directly with individuals with disabilities, there is something for everyone to get involved and make a difference.
Volunteering offers an incredible opportunity to make a positive social impact, whether it's by supporting a local community, helping individuals in need, or contributing to a global cause. By volunteering, individuals can contribute their time, skills, and resources to create a better world and improve the lives of others, while also gaining personal fulfillment and growth. The impact of volunteer opportunities can be far-reaching and transformative, not only for the beneficiaries but also for the volunteers themselves and society as a whole.
The concept of philanthropy is an important one—it has the power to transform lives and bring about real, substantial change in our communities. Giving back through volunteering shows compassion, empathy, and selflessness, qualities that are essential for making our world a better place.
Philanthropy makes us think beyond ourselves and encourages us to use whatever resources we have at our disposal to help those less fortunate than us. By working with people who may not otherwise receive support from any other source, volunteers can make a huge difference in their lives – see for yourself through volunteering at Easterseals Arkansas!
Volunteers at Easterseals Arkansas have been an integral part of the organization's mission to change lives. From providing direct services, like helping with recreational activities, to being a source of emotional and mental support for individuals and families dealing with disabilities—volunteers make a real difference in people’s lives.
Here are four ways that volunteering at Easterseals Arkansas can have a positive impact on communities:
At Easterseals Arkansas, we strive to ensure our volunteers feel the worth of the impact they’re putting into our community. We recognize and appreciate our volunteers through several events and celebrations throughout the year.
Every individual has the potential to positively influence their community through volunteering. By doing so, we can develop meaningful relationships with others, gain valuable life experiences, build strong communities, and touch lives in powerful ways.
Volunteer opportunities helps bring about positive transformation within ourselves first and then spreads outward into the world around us. We not only learn more about who we are as an individual but also how to work together as part of a team to achieve common goals.
The power of volunteerism is immeasurable; it can truly be life-changing, both for those receiving assistance as well as for those offering it. When we take action by dedicating our time and resources toward making a difference in other people’s lives, we create ripples of hope that extend far beyond what any one person could accomplish alone. So why not explore the wide range of volunteer opportunities available to you and start making a difference today?
It is this sense of interconnectedness that allows us all to be part of something greater than ourselves—something worth giving up our precious time for! Volunteer today!
The post Be the Change: How Volunteer Opportunities at Easterseals Arkansas Transform Lives appeared first on Easterseals Arkansas Blog.
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