Accommodations and accessibility for successful workplaces

Did you know that approximately 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 15 live with a least one disability, or that 42% of baby boomers over the age of 65 or older live with more than one disability?

It is time for workplaces to include people with disabilities. Workplaces must provide accommodations and make them accessible for people with disabilities to work at. This helps people with disabilities gain employment opportunities and make an income while workplaces gain a positive impact on its reputation and long-term sustainability. Want to know how workplaces can be successful through accommodations and accessibility?

Workplaces must educate themselves about the various types of disabilities. Employers must ask potential employees with disabilities during an interview about how they wanted to be addressed. For example, do you prefer person-first language or identity- first language? Language matters, so let’s respect peoples’ perspectives from the neurodiverse community that they want to go by.

Not only language matters, but it is important for workplaces to remove barriers that prevented employment opportunities for neurodiverse people. Instead, workplaces should be working with their employees as a team by making them accessible in order to gain a positive reputation and other good benefits economically. This can occur by providing different employment opportunities and incorporating accommodations that meet individual needs. For example, an employee with a speech disability may need you to repeat, rephrase, or write down what they heard in order to get their responsibilities of their job role accomplished. When you give people with disabilities a chance in the workplace, they pay in return by being so dedicated and hardworking employees within the company or organization. It is time for workplaces to act as an inclusive team!

How else would you make your company or organization more inclusive and successful? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Voting

It’s that time of the year when people vote and share their voices on important matters by using a ballot. People with disabilities should be voting like everyone else. Why you ask?

Everyone’s input matters! In fact, people with disabilities have a lifetime’s worth of experience adapting and navigating the US systems of health care, social services, and employment. We can positively influence policies in many areas, such as healthcare and housing. Now it’s time to make more polling locations accessible for people with disabilities to vote! How can we make polling locations more accessible? Here are some ways:

1. Allow early voting! In Florida, the state allows people to go vote a week before election day occurs. People with disabilities, along with everyone, can go to designated polling locations for early voting.

2. Dedicate voting pole workers to assist people with disabilities! These people would help with check ins, entering the voting booth, preparing the ballot, checking out, etc.

3. Incorporate an AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal at polling locations! People with disabilities, including visual impairment, can magnify the ballot on the screen, read the ballot aloud to the voter, and mark the ballot according to the voter’s choices. Also, an AutoMARK displays the ballot in high-contrast.

These are some ways to help people with disabilities be able to vote! Do you know any more ways to making voting easier and polling locations more accessible for people with disabilities?

Share your ideas in the comments section!

Seven dimensions of behavior in ABA

The seven dimensions of behavior help behavior analysts impact their clients through effective and research-supported interventions. Baer et al. (1968) shares the seven dimensions of behavior: generality, effective, technological, applied, conceptually systematic, analytic, and behavioral.

Generality refers to generalization of behaviors and skills. A behavior analyst helps clients generalize their new behaviors/skills through multiple people, natural settings, and times.

Effectiveness means interventions produce change in behaviors. Interventions are researched-proven to change behaviors, such as increase communication responses.

Technological focuses on interventions clearly-written, so people understand the purpose of them for clients. Interventions are written and explained clearly in detail for behavior analysts and RBTs to replicate for their clients.

Applied is about implementing interventions. Behavior analysts and RBTs apply interventions for clients based on their individual needs.

Conceptually systematic refers to interventions being research-based and representing principles of ABA for clients. Interventions are in place based upon behavior principles.

Analytic is about making decisions from data collections of interventions. Behavior analysts make important decisions about continuing certain interventions or not for clients, based on data collection.

Behavioral means behaviors being observable and measurable. Behavior analysts observe, record, and measure behaviors, in order to create interventions for their clients.

By applying the seven dimensions of behavior, it allows behavior analysts to provide effective therapy and create more meaningful changes in their clients’ lives. Do you believe in the seven dimensions of behavior? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Reference:

Baer, D., Wolf, M., & Risley, T. Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis1(1), 91–97.

Purdue University Global

When I was little, doctors told my parents I would never attend and graduate from college due to challenges of my autism. Well guess what just happened?

On October 22nd, 2022, I graduated from Purdue University Global for my bachelor’s degree in Psychology with concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)! I thought I was only earning my associate’s degree from Brookdale Community College at first. Recently, I graduated from Purdue University Global with highest honors, earning a 4.0 GPA (summa cum laude)! I worked even harder when pursuing for my bachelor’s degree than I did for my associate’s degree. It all started when COVID first occurred a couple of years ago. I was inspired to go back because of the elementary autistic students I worked with in a self-contain classroom within Middletown Township Public School District. They incorporated ABA therapy in a public-school classroom! I loved my work experiences that I went back to college to pursue a bachelor’s degree concentrated in ABA, along with personal experiences with ABA therapy. During my college journey, I moved from New Jersey to Florida last year with my family. Also, I gained multiple employment opportunities while living in Florida while being a full-time college student. No matter the changes I went through, I ended up successful!

My message is that if you are dedicated and passionate about learning, you can put your mind into anything! I’m so happy and beyond proud to earned my bachelor’s degree!

Self-regluation onto IEPs with Martin Slyngstad

I got a returning guest who wanted to talk about an important topic with our community:

Martin Sylngstad

Martin Slyngstad is an autistic self advocate who is an author of a book: Chatterbox- My life with Autism. He works full time as a behavior specialist. He returns on “The World of Autism” to share an important message about adding goals of self regulation and management skills onto students’ IEPs. As a behavior specialist, Martin believes students with disabilities should learn coping and self regulation skills to adapt in the world. Learn more about his message here:

What kind of self regulation and management goals do you have for your students and/or clients? Are they included in their individualized education plans (IEPs) and/or behavior intervention plans (BIPs)? Share your experiences in the comments section!

Inclusive Companies

As part of National Employment Disability Awareness Month (NEDAM), there are many companies helping people with disabilities gain employment:

Publix- The store allows people with disabilities to use assistive technology while working to communicate with colleagues and costumers. Also, they permit service animals in public spaces at the store. Learn more about their program here: https://www.publix.com/accessibility

Full Spectrum ABA- The company hires people with disabilities to work in all departments within the ABA company, from marketing to working as RBTs and Behavior Analysts in the ABA field. To learn more about Full Spectrum ABA’s neurodiversity program, check it out here: https://www.fullspectrumaba.com/autisticadvocates

Home Depot- The store has a program called “Ken’s Krew”, in which the store creates supportive work environments for people with disabilities and helps them gain many different employment opportunities within the company. Learn more about HomeDepot’s program here: https://corporate.homedepot.com/news/diversity-equity-inclusion/kens-krew-championing-ability-and-enabling-success

Microsoft- The company has a neurodiverse program for helping people with disabilities through the hiring process and then provide various different employment opportunities that matches their own skill set and experiences. Learn more about Microsoft’s neurodiversity program here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/inside-microsoft/cross-disability/hiring.aspx

Amazon- Provides on the job accommodations, work wellness coaching, vocational rehabilitation, and etc, for people with disabilities. Learn more here: https://hiring.amazon.com/people-with-disabilities#/

Dell- The company has a autism hiring program to provide career readiness training and possible full time career opportunities for neurodivergent job seeks. To learn more about Dell’s program, check it out here: https://jobs.dell.com/neurodiversity

Workplaces must provide all kinds of employment opportunities for people with disabilities inorder for them to gain income and make a living in the world. Do you know more workplaces hiring people with disabilities? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2022

4th year paraprofessional & 2nd school year in a public school district in FL

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! I have been so fortunate to be working full time as a paraprofessional for a public school district in FL. Currently, I am in my second school year within the public school district in FL. I have continued to showcase my love and passion for working with students with disabilities. As of last year, I have been so thankful to been giving an opportunity to work on several part time roles with Full Spectrum ABA, an ABA company located on the west coast in FL. Last year, I started out as an autistic advocate and blogger for Full Spectrum ABA. I support and educate Full Spectrum ABA’s behavior analysts and RBTs while creating educational and informative blog stories on a weekly basis. The company helped me grow so much this year by becoming an autistic registered behavior technician (RBT)! I got back into working with the autism population. For the past few months now, I have been providing ABA therapy part time with an autistic client a couple of days a week. We made so much progress in a short amount of time! I’m beyond grateful for the employment opportunities I’ve gotten in the past few years. This is my employment success story!

Want to know ways to advocate and increase employment for people with disabilities? Here is some advice:

  1. Hire people with disabilities
  2. Provide opportunities in various departments within your company or organization
  3. Provide different employment options within your company or organization
  4. Create work spaces meeting employees’ individual needs

How else would you advocate and spread awareness for disability employment? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Time management

A lot of autistic people sometimes struggle with time management. This can be due to focus on special interests or even many demands on their plate causing meltdowns and/or procrastination to occur. What are some ways to balance everything and reduce stress at the same time? Here is some advice on developing time management skills:

  1. Do not make too many commitments that you cannot keep. I admit I’ve taken on more than I can handle before in the past. That was a mistake of mine, and it caused me to feel stressed out. Make sure to create boundaries and stick with them. If you can only handle a couple of tasks and activities a week, stick with it.
  2. Make a schedule and stick with it! I apply color codes on my phone calendar, so I know what I’m accomplishing and looking forward to for the upcoming week. I color code base off of my jobs, college, volunteering, etc. It is important to schedule everything between hard work and fun for your overall health.
  3. Break down tasks and activities into smaller ones. It is important to take breaks in between tasks and activities, so you do not end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed. So much progress can be made by letting yourself take small breaks in between tasks and activities.
  4. Do not wait last minute to get things done! You are better off prioritizing what is important to get done first, and then get everything else done with at a different time. You are more likely to be successful when you plan things out rather than completing everything last minute.

It does take time and practice to develop on time management skills. Motivation is the key towards completion and success!

How do you balance everything? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Extracurricular activities

Want to know some benefits about extracurricular activities for the neurodiverse community?

If not, extracurricular activities can benefit so much for the neurodiverse community. Extracurricular activities can provide neurodiverse individuals who struggle academically with opportunities to shine and grow. Plus, they provide opportunities for neurodiverse individuals to focus on their strengths and interests, develop skills in many areas of life, build self-esteem, and socialize with peers. Not only that, extracurricular activities allow more opportunities for people to develop compassion, patience, and acceptance of individuals part of the neurodiverse community. Now let me share some personal insight about being involved in extracurricular activities.

Reading at my little sister’s kindergarten school with book club back in 2015

It all started in my elementary school years when my family and I participated in taekwondo for a few years. From there, my older sister, my brother, and I got involved with volunteering for my town’s organization called Marlboro TAC. I learned ever since then that it is important to help people and places in need. My high school years was when I participated in after school clubs, such as book club and American Sign Language (ASL) club. I participated in these two after school clubs based on my interests and created great friendships and connections. Not only that, I was a peer mentor for my high school’s cougar connections program, in which I was a mentor to students with disabilities in my high school. Extracurricular activities helped me grow and get to where I’m at today.

Want to know some extracurricular activities to get involve in as a neurodiverse individual or your child as a parent? Here are some ideas:

  1. Sports (ex: swimming, taekwondo, tennis, bowling, football, soccer, etc.)
  2. Boy scouts/ Girl scouts
  3. Music programs
  4. Theater programs
  5. Visual arts programs
  6. Computer and technology clubs
  7. Volunteering

What are some extracurricular activities in your school or in your town? If you have experience with extracurricular activities, what have you been involved? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section!

ABA services in Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)

Credit: Autism Spectrum News

Many families request ABA services at school for their child, not just at home. How do you add ABA services into your child’s individualized education plan (IEP)? Here are the steps to take:

  1. Document the need for ABA services in school due to previous, unsuccessful interventions for your child. Make sure to bring data collection of previous, unsuccessful interventions as evidence when meeting with your child’s IEP team.
  2. Make sure to get recommendations from your child’s teachers and other service-related providers in their school in which they request ABA therapy services in school for your child.
  3. Your child’s IEP team will evaluate reports and materials for your child’s need of ABA therapy in school. The team will look for regression of skills and/or unsuccessful interventions.
  4. When your child’s IEP team approves, they will add ABA services into your child’s IEP, and your child will receive ABA therapy at school.
  5. When your child’s IEP team does not approve ABA services, then parents have a right by law to file for a request for a due process hearing to resolve the disagreement.

Keep in mind that if your child is already receiving ABA therapy services outside of school, make sure your insurance company can cover for costs of ABA services at school as well before advocating them into your child’s IEP.

Do you think ABA services should be implemented in schools like OT, PT, and speech therapy services?

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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