Independent Living

Tue, January 24, 2012
You should never be afraid of who you are. You should never be afraid what you have. You should be proud of who you are. You should stand up strong and love who you are.
Thu, January 26, 2012
I was amazed, as I watched more than 24 individuals with Asperger's syndrome mark the holidays recently just like anyone else would. They socialized at their party and played charades, 20 questions and Pictionary -- activities designed to help enhance their social skills. The partygoers were all students or graduates of NIPD/NJ's Asperger's Skill Building Network. "This program has given me a great reason to get out and meet people," said Emily, 22, who has attended the program since September...
Mon, February 13, 2012
Over the last two years Iola has been working on increasing her preparation, attendance, and advocacy toward all her medical appointments, as well as completing all of her daily and weekly responsibilities within her residence. The team worked with Iola to develop a points system/token economy that would reward Iola each time she completed her medical and residential responsibilities. Over the last 24 months Iola has worked very hard, becoming more independent while also working toward a BIG...
Tue, February 07, 2012
I've waited years to see this. And Tuesday, Feb. 7, was definitely worth the wait. Six residents moved into their own home in Brooklyn -- the "Dream House" or E. 52nd St. Residence, whichever you prefer. It doesn't get much better than this. There were parents hanging boxes, bags of clothing being dragged in, hooks going up on closet doors, siblings working on the wireless system . . . just like any other people moving into a new home. But this was not an average day by any means. The home had...
Tue, February 21, 2012
I worked in residential/service coordination in Virginia, my home state, for about five years. So when I read that Virginia will close four state institutions for people with developmental disabilities and move thousands of people to their own homes, their family's houses or group homes as part of a settlement announced recently with the U.S. Justice Department, I thought this is great news about a move in direction that is long overdue. The agreement came after a scathing federal report of the...
Wed, February 08, 2012
I was so proud to be part of the opening of our East 52nd St. Residence (also known as YAI's Dream House) on Tuesday. My heart filled with joy, as I heard a YAI residential coordinator describe how long the residents had been waiting for this house so the group of six individuals, all friends, could begin to share their lives together. This was the first time in my 11 years with YAI that I was involved in opening a residential program. I was amazed, how the house was transformed into a...
Thu, February 23, 2012
I recently picked up and am in the middle of reading "The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to be a Better Husband" by David Finch. While I have mixed feelings about it so far it is witty, insightful and an interesting read. The author discovers that he is an 'aspie' (a person with Asperger's syndrome) in his 30s. But the main take away I have is that this is a man who is trying to understand himself, his world and how to navigate it better...
Sat, February 25, 2012
I love to travel. I've been to London and Wales. I've traveled with other groups of people with disabilities, but this afternoon will be my first trip with YAI's Leisure Trax travel program. I'm going on a cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. I once was on a cruise with my parents, about two years ago. We went to Puerto Rico. It was not so good. I like to do things on my own . . . not necessarily with my parents. This time I'm sharing a room with a roomate. He's independent, just like me. I've...
Fri, February 24, 2012
When I was 10, my grandmother always saw me as a radio DJ. I was living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with her and I used to listen to all the disco station. I love music and have so many albums in my apartment. YAI and Job Path have encouraged me to pursue my dream of getting a job in the entertainment industry. I would love to work at The Apollo Theater or Magic Johnson's movie complex in Harlem. I've had other jobs. A couple of years ago, I was a receptionist at Job Path, but it was a difficult...
Fri, February 17, 2012
A recent post by Sarah Baier, titled, “Never an Acceptable Use of the R Word,” brought back memories. I recall my everyday struggles I went through in school. I remember being told I was "a retard" when I couldn’t do something right! “You can’t play with us because you don’t know how to play or being called a loser! Whenever I wanted to be down with the crew, I remember being called on in class to participate by the teacher and not saying much, not doing well on examinations. People wondered '...

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