Posted in Adult Day Programs for Special Needs, Autism, Down syndrome, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism, Recreation/Leisure and Special Needs

DS-ASD~Fall Update 2019

DS-ASD~Fall Update 2019

Happy first day of fall ūüôā! Here is an update on my son, Nick who is 25 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism (DS-ASD). My son attends an adult developmental training day program which he enjoys very much. The program has a nice variety of learning and enrichment activities incorporated throughout the day. Outside this program, Nick enjoys spending time with his personal support respite workers in the community going out to eat, movies, parks and other activities.

Some of the highlights of Nick’s day program are community trips, including shopping, visits to parks and local amusements along with going out to eat. In house, the curriculum includes learning centers, communication, functional living skills, recreation, music, movies, gardening, crafts, cooking, Friday fun days and other themes round out this program each week.

Here are a few pictures of Nick at his adult developmental training program:

nick sweeping keeler      Nick nature walk keeler     Nick visor keeler      Nick learning centers keeler

nick connect game

On 9/11 the clients at his program made thank you cards for local first responders. Here’s Nick giving cards to a police officer:

Nick and APD

Nick’s verbal skills are limited, due to having the additional diagnosis of autism and verbal apraxia of speech along with Down syndrome. He uses an Augmentative and Alternative (AAC) device and picture exchange system (PECS) to communicate his needs. There are two ways that I know that he likes going to his day program. Over the weekend, he packed his lunch and put it in his backpack, which he set by the front door. He also took the school icon out of his PECS book and puts it on a Velcro task strip and handed it to me. It’s nice to see how much he wants to go to this program. The routine and structure helps individuals with Down syndrome, autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities navigate their days successfully.

That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa ūüôā

Follow Nick and see more pictures of him in action, along with other stories:

Facebook and Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice Of Autism

Instagram @nickdsautism

Twitter @tjunnerstall

 

 

 

Posted in Adult Day Programs for Special Needs, Autism, Behavior/ ABA, Down syndrome, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism

Blog #224~Using Social Stories for Behavior Management

Blog #224~Using Social Stories for Behavior Management

Nick’s got a thing for button pushing, all kinds. ¬†You name it, he pushes them, including mine. ¬†Phone intercom, microwave fan, dishwasher, and his all-time favorite, fire alarms. My son is 24 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism. ¬† He has a behavior support plan in place to address this behavior, along with throwing and dropping objects. ¬†The incidences of the behaviors, seem to occur when he is bored or seeking attention. ¬†It would be tempting to just throw my hands up in the air and accept this as Nick just being Nick. ¬†However, I have always been determined to find ways to make things better for my son. ¬†So, a few months ago, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work with Nick’s behaviorist. ¬†Have things improved, yes and that’s what I’m happy to report this week.

Big Guy Nick ūüôā

Nick has quite a rap sheet pulling over 50 fire alarm pulls since third grade.  In Blog #216~Putting Social Stories Into Action, I wrote about creating social stories to shape the desired behavior you want for a child.  A social story is a visual support that can help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities understand new events, along with reinforcing skills, tasks or behaviors.  The behaviorist and I created an incentive plan built into a social story. This is reviewed twice at his adult developmental training program.  The story encourages Nick to make good choices.  Following the story read, Nick walks the halls with a staff member.

The staff cues Nick, using the compliance commands, “hands to self” and “big guys keep walking”. ¬†Now I hope this doesn’t jinx anything, but I’m pleased to report that Nick has gone 3 months without pulling a fire alarm. ¬†ūüôā

Now back to the behaviors he exhibits around the house.  In Blog #216, the behavior of throwing his iPads was addressed.  For a week, I locked both of them up.  After a very long week, Nick was excited to get them back.  Before this occurred, I read this social story to him several times, having him follow along and pointing to the basket where he needs to put the iPads when he is all done.  The incidences of Nick dropping and throwing his iPads has reduced significantly.

iPad Social Story:

The success of the behaviors improving are due to 3 things. ¬†Nick, as do many individuals with autism, respond well to visuals. ¬†He may not be able to read¬†words, but he can follow along with the pictures and understand what is expected. ¬†Secondly, parents and caregivers must¬†be consistent in reading the social story and remain in close proximity, reminding the child to make good choices. ¬†Behavior change doesn’t happen just by making a behavior plan and putting together a social story. ¬†Success occurs when everyone is on board to carry out the plan in a consistent manner and follow through with consequences.

Have these behaviors been extinguished? ¬†The answer is no to that question, but they have been contained. ¬†Nick attempted to pull a fire alarm out in the community last week, but failed. ¬†At home, he drops and tries to throw his iPads, but not near as much. ¬†I have to stay on him to make good choices and reward him with praise and elbow bumps when he does. ¬†If he doesn’t make a good choice the iPads get locked up.

I think the fact that my son is open to making good choices and being more compliant, is a win in my book.  I find it hopeful, that Nick is learning new behaviors at age 24.  I will continue to strive on following through and reinforcing the desired behaviors that will help Nick be more respectful and compliant young adult.

That’s what is in my noggin this week. ūüôā

~Teresa

Follow Nick:

Facebook and Pinterest @Down Syndrome With Slice Of Autism

Instagram #nickdsautism

Twitter @tjunnerstall

Posted in Adult Day Programs for Special Needs, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism

Blog #161~Adult Day Program Update

Nick relaxing

Blog #161~Adult Day Program Update

Nick turned 22 years old in February and aged out of public school.  He now attends an adult developmental training day program.  The program has many enriching and structured activities.  The structure is essential for my son who has both Down syndrome and autism.  Here is an update on what big guy has been doing in this program.

Each week his group goes on several¬†community trips.¬† This fall, they have gone to various parks, shopping, the library and pumpkin farm.¬† The group plans their grocery lists of items needed for cooking and goes shopping on Wednesdays.¬† Thursdays are cooking days along with gardening.¬† Each day includes instructional learning and recreational activities. Once a month, the association celebrates birthdays and holidays, with parties and luncheons.¬† On Fridays, he participates in volunteer jobs in the community.¬† These jobs include cleaning and stuffing church bulletins, organizing at a local food pantry, and recently working at GiGi’s Playhouse.

What is GiGi’s Playhouse?

GiGi’s Playhouse is a one-of-a-kind achievement center for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. GiGi’s Playhouse offers more than 25 therapeutic and educational programs that advance literacy, math skills, motor skills and more; all of which are free of charge. All programs are based on best practices for Down syndrome learning styles, and customized to ensure individual success. GiGi’s Playhouse actually serves infants through adults. GiGi’s Playhouse is headquartered in Hoffman Estates, IL; with 15 locations throughout the United States and Mexico, with more opening soon.

Nick participated in GiGi’s Playhouse activities when he was younger.¬† It’s nice to see that he has come full circle, by doing volunteer work¬†here, as a young adult.¬†¬†Check out the photos of¬†Nick in action…….

Nick working at GiGi’s Playhouse, Fox Valley location…

nick-vacumme-gigis

nick-cleaning-gigis

nick-cleaning-two-gigis

Taking a snack break after working hard…..

nick-snack-gigis

Nick takes great pride in helping out in his community jobs, around the venue of his adult day program, and at home, as well.¬† He looks forward to going to his adult day program, that provides a safe environment, along with a warm and caring staff.¬† As Nick’s mom, that gives me great comfort knowing that he is contributing to society and happy in his young adult life.¬† That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa ūüôā

Follow Nick:

Facebook and Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice Of Autism

Instagram @#nickdsautism

Twitter @tjunnerstall