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Solving life's special needs.

Solutions for families and corporations dealing with autism, ADHD, and similar social challenges at all ages.

The Social Scoop

Info, Inspiration, Community - News from Social Motion

Meet Denise - the inspiration behind ASPIRE Accessories


Hello Friends-
As we continue our focus on autism this month, I want to shine the light today on my friend Denise Hazen who started Aspire Accessories with her son, Nick.

The organization was founded in 2011 and now operates as a program of Social Motion Skills, which we featured here on the blog last week. The artisans of Aspire create beautiful handcrafted accessories in their studio here in Houston. I am thrilled to feature their necklaces and bracelets in my boutiques and online.

What I love about Aspire Accessories and Social Motion Skills is that their programs bring these kids together in a productive, fulfilling way while also creating a community and fostering friendships. In this video, Denise shares how she really honed in on her son’s strengths and that is what inspired her to start Aspire.

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Work Early, Work Often - Why SOMO has a transition program

Work Early, Work Often Video Campaign


“Work Early, Work Often” is a video campaign created by the Youth Transitions Collaborative’s career preparation and management working group. Together, the three-part series highlights the importance of work and work-based experiences in an individual’s transition to adulthood, particularly for young adults with disabilities. Each storyline focuses on a different subject and narrative, told from the perspective of key audiences that are part of the transition journey. All videos include open captioning and audio descriptions. Click here to view the videos as a series, or download the campaign overview.

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Autistic Character Portrayal in the Media - Autism Awareness - April 2017

With the recent inclusions of characters with Asperger’s/autism in Sesame Street and the 2017 film adaptation of Power Rangers, the awareness of Asperger’s/autism is improving. These following portrayals from past television shows and movies have unique ways, based on and assisted by research, of depicting their characterization.

1) In Arthur’s 2010 episode “When Carl Met George,” George explains to the audience how he met his friend Carl.  At the community center, he sees Carl work on a train puzzle and is impressed by Carl’s detailed knowledge of trains.  The next day, George learns that Carl has Asperger’s Syndrome when he surprises Carl with his ventriloquist puppet which Carl becomes uncomfortable with.  The Brain (another Arthur character) then tells George how his uncle, who has the same condition, explained how having it would feel like via an outer space-themed analogy.  In the show’s segment “A Word from Us Kids,” children like Carl from the real world are featured visiting Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program and also inside their classroom.  This episode of Arthur can be streamed on Amazon Video.

2) At the beginning of the 2010 television series of Parenthood, Adam and Kristina learn that their son Max has been diagnosed with Asperger’s.  On a side note, the young actor who plays Max has the same diagnosis as his character does.  In the fourth season, Max runs for class president at his middle school. During his speech, he includes his Asperger’s as a way to describe why his characteristics would match ideal qualities for class president.  One of which is tenacity to express his goal of bringing back the school’s vending machines.  Parenthood can be viewed on Netflix.

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Reaching the Screen Generation

From Baby Boomers to Millenials and now the commonly refered to "screen generation", how do parents stay in touch with the new digital "norms" that are so natural and important to our children?  How does a parent connect to their child's joy that comes from playing Minecraft or Overwatch or some other sandbox, FPS, MMO, RTS, RPG game? ( Our teens mentoring teens had a whole session on these acronyms and I took notes!!)

Who are they playing with? How much time do they spend playing and WHY? What is the fascination that we don't understand and is it akin to what we did that our parents thought was abhorent?

How are they connecting via social media to people they've never even met? Why is it easier yet social relations harder? What about our kids with social deficits ....it is easier or harder?

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The Lost Boys (and Girls) - Autism Awareness part 4 - April 2017

I’ve come across this observation.  It said “Do you remember how eager we were to grow up as a child?  What were we thinking?!”  I’m trying to transition myself.  There are life skills like cooking, laundry, personal hygiene, and many others.  There are things like the basics of finance, investment, balancing your checkbook, budgeting, and paying taxes.  I’m presently learning the latter list, which neither grade school nor college taught.  I still have to learn how to cook, too.  It’s a cliché, but growing up is very difficult.  I cannot imagine how much more challenging it is for someone with ASD.

Transition begins at 16 for a student with U.S. special education services.  Teachers ask about interests and goals to be put in the IEP.  That same student may be eligible for adult services.  However, whether he or she receives them depends on funding.  Guidelines for eligibility and funding are set by each state. Zosia Zaks, a rehab counselor who works with adults with ASD, summarized: When you get to be 18 or 21, it’s like falling off a cliff.  We don’t do a great job of educating parents about what’s going to happen after school ends.”

What is to be done with this process?  Experts have said planning optimally begins when children are  young.  “Parents ask me, ‘When should I start with transition planning?’” said Ernst O. VanBergeijik Ph.D., M.S.W.  “I say ‘Age six,’ and people look at me like I’m out of my mind.  ‘That’s way too early, they say.’  But I say, you need to visualize your child at age 21.”  Daily living skills can be taught early, while complex ones can be broken into small steps and increased in complexity, he explained.

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