Finding Road Trip Companions: Friendships

Making friends and building a tribe are important for anyone preparing for employment. We all depend on networking to find and keep jobs. I’ve heard people talking lately about how no one is dependent or independent. We are all interdependent. We need each other to be successful, and friends also make life more fun. Inclusion…

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Changing Direction: Supported Decision-Making Spotlight on Clayton

Everyone says “enjoy the journey” and I agree to some extent. My son Clayton is 23 years old and he was diagnosed with Williams syndrome when he was 9 months old. I have enjoyed this journey, but not without many bumps along the way. First being a parent is not easy. Being a parent of…

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Milestone: Graduation Day and First Day of No-School

On June 1, 2019, my son with Down syndrome graduated from high school. He danced and jumped across the stage with flourish, unabashedly hugged his principal, and motioned for an ROTC escort down the stairs. Andy has never been one to hold back his feelings, and he exuded excitement, joy, and pride that day. Andy…

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Passing the Bumps in the Road: Avoiding Assumptions

I’ve heard stories over the years about students with disabilities being assigned to do laundry for the football team at school or to clean the teacher’s lounge, and well-meaning teachers often assign these tasks to teach work skills. Now these activities might be helpful for some students if they are genuinely interested in janitorial work…

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Milestones: How I got my first job in high school

This past week, Andy Meredith and his mom were invited to share how he got his first job as a high school student as part of an employment presentation at the Club 21 Tools for the Journey Conference. Club 21 is a Down syndrome advocacy group in Pasadena. Getting your first job is a big milestone for anyone, but it…

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Figuring the Trip Budget: Conversations with an Expert about SSI and Employment

I consider myself incredibly lucky to be working among the best disability policy experts in Kentucky while also helping my son transition to adult services. Just as Andy turned 18, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with my transition expert colleague Carolyn Wheeler, and ask her all my questions about…

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Seeing the Destination: Share Your Vision with Professionals

From the very beginning, we need to share our vision of the future with the professionals working with our sons and daughters with intellectual disabilities. In pre-school and Kindergarten, we can talk to teachers and therapists about how we plan for our children to work in the community and build inclusive lives. And in middle and…

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Asking for Directions: Transition to Adult Medical Care

This week was a milestone where Andy signed into the doctor himself for the first time, signed his own medical forms to get some blood work done, and he produced his own insurance card and Medicaid card for payment. We’ve been working hard since he was 14 to gradually prepare him for this transition to…

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Figuring the Trip Budget: ABLE Accounts (A Piece of Cake to Set Up)

Back when Andy was little, it was drilled into us that we should never have assets in name … never, ever, never. Because if we did, he wouldn’t be able to receive necessary supports, such as healthcare benefits through Medicaid—which are often vital to people with disabilities. This put families and individuals with disabilities in…

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