Just like every other kid…

Cherae Pope is like a lot of 14-year-old girls. She goes to school. She likes to play softball and swim. She loves going out to eat and enjoys any time she can be the center of attention. Just like other teenagers.

Well, OK … She is different from most girls her age in one way: She plays on a hockey team.

Estimated read: 4 min

August 31st, 2018|

Celebrating Progress

Malachi Cole wasn’t named an MVP because he has scored more touchdowns than anyone else, caught more passes or kicked more field goals. Frankly, the 14-year-old Damar Services client hasn’t done anything that typically would win applause from a crowd. But he has done something that, for him, is remarkable: He has progressed. And for that, he was celebrated as a Damar MVP at the Colts-Ravens game through a partnership between Damar and the Colts.

Estimated read: 4.5 min

August 23rd, 2018|

Trauma-Focused Classrooms

Trauma is an increasing presence in our children’s lives, whether it’s personal trauma such as serious illness, physical abuse or poverty, or “secondary trauma,” such as witnessing domestic violence, having an incarcerated parent or living with an addict. As a result, we can’t expect children to come into the classroom ready to learn, behave and function “normally.”

Instead, we must view their behaviors in light of possible trauma, and adapt our thinking to accommodate it.

Estimated read: 4 min

August 13th, 2018|

What Makes ABA Different?

For most families, the achievement of a milestone such as a child making his own bed, putting on her own shirt or tying his shoes is exciting, but often taken for granted.  For the families with whom I work, however, these types of milestones are often unimaginable. 

Estimated read: 3 min

July 30th, 2018|

Education Mentoring Keeps Kids in the Classroom

When it comes to school, some kids kind of live on the edge. And that can be a pretty tough place, for them, their parents and their teachers.

The kids I’m talking about have mild intellectual or developmental disabilities that result in disruptive behaviors. They’re capable of learning, but their behaviors make it difficult for them to sit in a classroom and difficult for a teacher to focus on a whole classroom full of kids. That’s why they live on the edge: They are close to staying in the classroom, but also close to having their parents asked to find another option.

Estimated read: 3.5 min

July 9th, 2018|

From Missed Milestones to New Possibilities

Angel and AvaMariee were born early at 33 weeks. Within the first year, both children struggled to meet developmental milestones. At each well-visit checkup, we would identify our concerns, only to be told things like, "Children can catch up later in development."

Estimated read: 4 min

June 13th, 2018|

Be Safe Around Water this Summer

Summer is a great time for kids: School’s out, the weather’s great and days are long and lazy.

Unfortunately, summer also can be dangerous time, especially for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We’ve all heard stories about a developmentally disabled child who wandered away and suffered an injury or met with danger.

Estimated read: 3 min

May 15th, 2018|

Saving One Life at a Time

To say that I am blessed would be an understatement. I have been married to a wonderful woman for 30 years. We have four amazing children and four highly energetic grandchildren. I have a career that fulfills me and puts food on my family’s table and a roof over their heads. But it hasn’t always been this way. I owe my entire life to a selfless stranger I met more than 40 years ago. She was my foster mom.

Estimated read: 5 min

April 30th, 2018|

Sensory Sensitive Experiences

A child at an Indianapolis Colts game gets a weighted blanket and headphones. A family at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis gets a map with sensory-aware markings. Kids at an Indianapolis park can spend time in a sensory room with a range of autism-friendly activities.

Estimated Read Time: 3:45 min 

April 25th, 2018|

7 Essential Things to Know When Interacting with Children with Autism

Minutes Autism, while prevalent in our society, is often misunderstood. If you’re looking for ways to support and accommodate the people in your life who are affected by it, read on—you’ll quickly learn it’s easier when you have the right tools at your disposal.

Estimated Read Time: 4.5 min

April 16th, 2018|