My ADHD Story and What You Can Do

Source: The Bender Bunch

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, known as ADHD is a behavioral condition that affects nearly 11% of our student population. These children are typically very impulsive, hyper, and struggle to pay attention and remain on task.

You may say, “Well that’s me.” Many of us have difficulties paying attention when something doesn’t interest us, or sometimes we may feel hyper. I do! But children with ADHD struggle so much with these behaviors that it often takes over and affects every aspect of their life; home, school, and their social life. Click here for the rest of the story.

Understanding Medicaid Waiver Services - Keeping America Healthy

Home and Community-Based services Waiver allows people with long-term such as disabilities to receive services in a home or community setting. The goal of the waiver program is to enable States to tailor services to meet the needs of a particular group. Standard services can include case management, home health aide, adult day habilitation and respite care. The Federal and State Governments jointly fund and administers the program. At the Federal level, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administers the program. Each State administer its Medicaid program in accordance with CMS approved State plan. Each State is allowed a great amount of flexibility in designing and operation it its Medicaid program as long as it complies with the Federal requirements.


Activity Ideas for Developmental Disabled Adults

Board games.
Source: E-How

When it comes to activities, disabled adults have distinctive needs. Unlike average adults, disabled people may require the help of respite workers to do certain activities. However, the needs of disabled adults are not always comparable to those of disabled children because many disabled adults are sexually mature and socially competent. Many activities meet the needs of developmentally disabled adults. Click here to read the rest of the story

Transition Planning Timeline

One of the goals of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is to include transition planning services for all special education students at age 16. Transition planning is mandated through IDEA 2004 which serves to help students begin the process of preparing for post-school activities including, postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment and adult services. A timeline will help you stay focused on achieving each step.

The law states transition planning should begin no later than 16 years old or before. It is recommended transition planning should begin by age 14 since services are different in the adult services world including long waiting list depending on where you live and what services are available.

14 Years Old
  • Transition planning should begin no later than when your child is 14.4- It is the law in most states.
  • Begin to research agencies who provide services for individuals with disabilities
  • IEP meeting should focus on the student’s needs, interest in preparation for adulthood
  • Research various aspects of transition services
  • Begin to explore recreation activities
15 Years Old
  • Develop a vision statement
  • Transition goals should be part of the IEP
  • Begin to discuss home services
  • Attend information fairs that offer information on future planning including residential, guardianship and employment
  • Start planning an independence plan at home where possible
16 Years Old
  • Transition goals at the IEP meetings should be updated.
  • Confirm how long students will attend high school- 4 years or until age 21
  • Start the process of getting referrals to your state agency
  • Begin researching adult services and programs. Some waitlist can last for years
  • Initiate application to adult service agencies
17 Years Old
  • Confirm a graduation date
  • Update transition goals in the IEP
  • Begin to invite adult service providers to IEP
  • Begin to investigate guardianship information and the process
18 Years Old
  • Adult eligibility should be completed
  • Apply for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid.
  • Visit adult providers programs
  • Attend job fairs if appropriate
  • Establish legal guardianship if necessary
  • Explore future planning
18-21 Years Old
  • Refine vision statement
  • Revise and update IEP goals
  • Invite transition coordinator your child’s IEP meeting
  • Explore and obtain necessary funding for adult programs
  • Ensure there is a plan for medical/health coverage
  • Confirm all support services are in place.

Below is a free transition printable planning checklist. Feel free to download the PDF.



11 Things I’ve Learned Since Being Diagnosed as Autistic

11 things I've learned since being diagnosed as autistic
Source: Metro

If you’re diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, you’re already well aware that you see the world differently from those not on the spectrum.  

And because ASD is a ‘spectrum’ condition, everyone who has it is different. The clichéd (but still very true) saying is that ‘once you’ve met one person with autism…you’ve met ONE person with autism’.

With that in mind, any article about it can never be anything other than a very personal viewpoint, but I’m pretty sure anyone with ASD in any form will recognise a lot of the things I grumble about on this list.

Note – some people prefer ‘person with autism’, but I go with ‘autistic’ most of the time. My condition, my choice! Click here to read the rest of the story


ADHD Adult Resources

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects 5 percent of children who will carry the symptoms into adulthood. It is believed that 4 percent of the U.S. adults have ADHD have but few get either a diagnosed or treated for it.


If you have ADHD as an adult, more than likely it carried over from childhood. Some people received their diagnoses as children while others discovered their diagnosis as adults.  The following resources includes helpful information on Adults with ADHD:


Symptoms for adults may include the following:

  • Difficulty in organizing task at work including failing to meet deadlines.
  • Difficulty in sustaining mental work such as completing reports or paperwork assignments
  • Often misplaces keys, bills, wallet, and mobile phone
  • Difficulty in remembering daily routines including paying bills, refueling gas and keeping appointments
  • May have difficulty in paying attention to complete task such staying focused during a lengthy conversation.
Adult ADHD Testing

If you suspect you have ADHD, the following sites offer online symptoms testing. However for accurate diagnoses, you should see be seen by a medical professional.

ADDitude Magazine

ADD Resources

Adult ADHD Deficit Disorder Center of Maryland

Psych Central

Totally ADD

Resource Articles

The following articles include information on managing time, organization tools, anxiety, depression and what it means to have ADHD as an adult.

6 ways to manage clutter with ADHD

10 tips for living better with adult ADHD (Infographic)

15 best ADHD apps of 2016

29 things only a person with ADHD would understand

47 hacks people with ADD/ADHD use to stay on track

ADHD planners and organizers

Adult ADHD: Am I just lazy? Um no

Emotional management with ADHD

How ADHD affects relationships

How to overcome perfectionism when you have ADHD

Mindfulness for women with ADHD

Primary vs. secondary depression in adults with ADHD

What it’s like to have ADHD as a grown woman

What my worst days with ADHD feel like

Why having ADHD means you also have executive function disorder


20 Facts You Should Know About Down Syndrome

In keeping with celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness month, here are some additional facts on Down syndrome:


  • Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This alters the course of development and causes characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
  • There are 3 types of Down syndrome


  • It is the most commonly occurring chromosome condition
  • 1 in 691 babies are born in the United States
  • The incidences increases with the age of the mother due to high fertility rates in younger women.
  • An increased for certain medical conditions such as, congenital heart defects, respiratory, Alzheimer disease and childhood Leukemia.
  • Common traits include low muscle tone, small stature, upward slant in the eyes and a single deep crease across the center of the palm.
  • Translocation is the only type that is inherited
  • Is named after British Doctor John Langdon Downs the first to categorize the common features
  • Dr. Jerome Lejeune discovered Down syndrome is a genetic disorder
  • A person has 3 copies of chromosome 21 instead of 2
  • Is the leading cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities in the United States and the World.
  • 38% of Americans know someone with Down syndrome
  • The average lifespan is 60. In 1983, it was 25.
  • 39.4 % are in the mild intellectual disability range of 50-70.
  • 1% are on the border
  • A growing number live independently
  • Occurs in all races and economic levels.
  • Some high school graduates with Down syndrome participate in post-secondary education.
  • In the United States, Down syndrome is the least funded major genetic condition


4 Things You Must to Make Standards-Based Instruction Meaningful

Standards-based instruction can be tough for students with significant disabilities. Here are 4 tips to help make it meaningful for our students.






I’ve been thinking a lot these past few weeks about standards-based instruction.  I’ve been working on a presentation to help teachers teach based on the standards.  Most (if not all) states require standards-based instruction be identified in the IEP.  In addition, we evaluate our students based on the grade-level standards, even the students taking the alternate assessment.  So, how do we keep what we teach relevant to the lives of most of our students? How do we make our teaching meaningful and functional for students who are not college bound.  For those students who will need significant support after school, how do we help them use science and social studies information daily? Click here to read the rest of the story


Developmental Disability Acronyms You Should Know

Similar to special education, adult programs are full of acronyms that are used during meetings and in general conversation. Whether you are new to the field or a parent or caregiver with a child entering adult services, you will find this page useful as you navigate your way through adult services and programs.



Active Treatment (AT). A continuous, aggressive, and consistent implementation of a program of specialized training, treatment and related services that helps people function as independent as possible.

American Disabilities Act (ADA)- A civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life.

Assessment– A way of diagnosing and planning treatment for individuals with disabilities as part of their individual plan of service.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)- A group of development disorders that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

Cerebral Palsy– A disorder that affects muscle tone, movement and motor skills.

Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)- An independent, non-profit accreditor of health and human service organizations.

Council on Developmental Disabilities-State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (Councils) are federally funded, self-governing organizations charged with identifying the most pressing needs of people with developmental disabilities in their state or territory. Councils are committed to advancing public policy and systems change that help these individuals gain more control over their lives.

Day Program– A day program to assist individuals in acquiring, retaining, and improving skills necessary to successfully reside in a community setting. Services may include assistance with acquisition, retention, or improvement in self-help, socialization, and adaptive skills; provision of social, recreational, and therapeutic activities to maintain physical, recreational, personal care, and community integration skills; and development of non-job task-oriented prevocational skills such as compliance, attendance, task completion, problem solving, and safety; and supervision for health and safety.

Developmental Disability– A group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language or behavior areas.

Developmental Center– residential facility serving individuals with developmental disabilities owned and operated by the State.

Habilitation– Service that help you keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living.

Human and Community Based Services (HCBS Waive)- Provides opportunities beneficiaries  for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive services  in their own home or community.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) – Protects individuals records and other personal information.

Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF/ID)- Medicaid benefit that enables states to provide comprehensive and individualized healthcare and rehabilitation services to individuals to promote their independence.

Independent Living Center (ILC)- Community-based resource, advocacy and training center dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Individualized Service Plan (ISP)- Written details of the supports, activities and resources required for the individual to achieve personal goals.

Individual supported employment-  Competitive employment in the community in integrated business settings for comparable wages.  Paid support staff provides training on the job site as well as follow along services and supports to the individual and business as needed.
Job Coach– An individual employed to help people with disabilities learn, accommodate and perform their work duties including interpersonal skills.

Individualized Supported Living Arrangement (ISLA) – This residential service is provided to people with developmental disabilities and/or intellectual disabilities in their own homes or apartments.  The level of support provided is individualized to the person’s need for training and assistance with personal care, laundry, money management, etc.  Individuals who receive ISLA typically need a higher level of support than people in a Supported Living Arrangement (SLA).

Intellectual Disability–  a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)- Individuals with disabilities should live in the community of their choice and receive the necessary services that will help them maintain their independence.

Level of Care- ICF eligibility determination

Person Centered Planning (PCP)- A set of approaches designed to assist someone to plan their life and supports. Used as an ongoing problem-solving process uses to help people with disabilities plan for their future.

Plan of Care– A document developed after the assessment that identifies the nursing diagnoses to be addressed in the hospital or clinic. The plan of care includes the objectives, nursing interventions and time frame for accomplishments and evaluation.

Provider-Typically private non-profit community organizations that provide vocational (and other types) of services to adults with disabilities.  These services are usually paid by state agencies.

Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional (QIDP) -Ensures individuals with Developmental and Intellectual disabilities receive continuous active treatment in accordance with Individual Support Plans (ISPs). Provide counseling, case management, and structured behavior programming to people with disabilities receiving Residential Services.  Responsible for the implementation of rules and regulations as required by licensing entities. Qualified Developmental Disability Professional (QDDP): Individual qualified to work as an expert with persons with developmental disabilities. The QDDP has a four-year college degree in an area related to developmental disabilities and a minimum of one-year experience working in that field.

Quality Assurance/Improvement (QA/QI)- Facilitate quality improvement activities to ensure compliance with accreditation standards regulations, funding source requirements, agency standards and assurance that all required manuals and procedures are maintained and implemented

Residential Care – Services provided in a facility in which at least five unrelated adults reside, and in which personal care, therapeutic, social, and recreational programming are provided in conjunction with shelter.  This service includes 24-hour on-site response staff to meet scheduled and unpredictable needs and to provide supervision, safety, and security.

Respite Care – Temporary relief to a primary caregiver for a specified period of time.  The  caregiver is relieved of the stress and demands associated with continuous daily care.
Self-Advocacy: an individual with disabilities speaking up and making their own decisions.

Self-Determination- Individuals have control over those aspects of life that are important to them, such as the services they receive, their career choices and goals, where they live, and which community activities they are involved in.

Service Coordination- Assists individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in gaining access to services and supports appropriate to their needs.

Supported Employment- Community based employment for individuals with disabilities in integrated work settings with ongoing training and support typically provided by paid job coaches.

Transition Services – Services provided to assist students with disabilities as they move from school to adult services and/or employment.

A Board Game Designed to Help Autistic Adults Make Friends

Source: Innovation by Design

Almost everyone can relate to the feeling of social isolation—lunch time at a new school, a party with no familiar faces, the first day on the job. But it’s a particularly persistent problem for many young adults on the autism spectrum, who report feeling left out socially with few friendships or invitations to gatherings. While there are many resources for children with autism, there are few aimed at helping an older demographic make friends and find their way in a social world. Click here to read the rest of the story