Inspiring life despite a diagnosis

Orange Socks

Podcast by Orange Socks

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Erika and Steve- Autism
5d ago
Erika and Steve- Autism
First signs something was wrong  Erika and Steve first noticed something was different with their son Blaise when he was 18 months old. Erika recalled, “He went to daycare and we would go in and notice that all the kids are playing in one area and he's over to an area by himself.  He always did individual play.” That wasn't the only thing she noticed.  She shared that one of the most telling signs that something was wrong was when she dropped Blaise off at daycare.  The other children would cry for their moms with intention and Blaise would just cry.  “He wouldn't cry for me, he wouldn't cry Mama Mama.” Erika recalled.  Steve noticed Blaise was delayed in speech and was missing developmental milestones. He noticed  a few more things which he shared saying, “Some of the behaviors, he would get fixated on say ipad or you know one particular thing and then he would stay on it. He also made these peculiar noises like all day long.”   After searching on google, Steven thought that Blaise had some of the same signs and symptoms of someone who has Autism.   Getting an ASD diagnosis Most doctors will not give an autism diagnosis at 18 months.  Erika and Steven were able to get connected with a company that helped Blaise get early intervention services as well as getting into a developmental preschool. After Blaise attended the preschool for a little bit, Erika and Steven worked with another company to get a formal diagnosis when Blaise was 2.5 years old.  Being labeled as ASD was the fear Erika shared an interesting perspective about receiving her son's diagnosis.  By the time he was formally diagnosed she shared that her and Steven had already accepted the fact Blaise was different and had autism.  Erika was afraid of what a formal diagnosis would mean for the care Blaise would receive.  She shared, “My biggest fear, I didn't want to get a diagnosis, even though we believed he had autism because in my mind I didn't want them to stick him in a box.” She continued, “Once he was labeled then that's all the care he's going to get. He was only going to get autism care and an autism teacher…and it's a bigger world than that and I wanted him to have all the exposure that he could have.” To help ensure Blaise wasn’t put in a box, Erika started working at the school Blaise was enrolled in.  She gave a great example of how she has helped keep Blaise progressing.  She shared, “Because he has autism and because he has sensory issues..they put headphones on him, because that's what he needs.  When we have assemblies, I go in the assemblies and I take the headphones off…let's see if he can push through it. Don’t just give it to him because he has autism.”   Steve shared that he feels like when some parents have a diagnosis, they automatically put up a glass ceiling of what their child is capable of. Not even trying things because of the child’s label.  “We wanted to treat him as regular as possible, give him the same experiences as regular children.” Loving your child for who they are Regardless of his disability, Steve said that he and Erika have loved, supported, and accepted Blaise for who he is.  He said, “Don't give up, once you get that diagnosis, it's not a death sentence.  Just focus on the early intervention, focus on the things that you can control and then eventually things turn out ok.”  Erika and Steve both shared their joys of having Blaise as a son, Erika shared, “Just when he meets those little milestones…he had to work four times harder to do something that comes naturally to someone else.” Steve shared his joy saying, “I remember the first time he walked up to me with no prompts or anything and said, “Daddy I love you.” He looked me dead in the eye, and I was like “wow”.”  Being able to see Blaise work towards a goal and accomplish it has been very rewarding for both Erika and Steve.
Erika and Steve- Autism
5d ago
Erika and Steve- Autism
First signs something was wrong  Erika and Steve first noticed something was different with their son Blaise when he was 18 months old. Erika recalled, “He went to daycare and we would go in and notice that all the kids are playing in one area and he's over to an area by himself.  He always did individual play.” That wasn't the only thing she noticed.  She shared that one of the most telling signs that something was wrong was when she dropped Blaise off at daycare.  The other children would cry for their moms with intention and Blaise would just cry.  “He wouldn't cry for me, he wouldn't cry Mama Mama.” Erika recalled.  Steve noticed Blaise was delayed in speech and was missing developmental milestones. He noticed  a few more things which he shared saying, “Some of the behaviors, he would get fixated on say ipad or you know one particular thing and then he would stay on it. He also made these peculiar noises like all day long.”   After searching on google, Steven thought that Blaise had some of the same signs and symptoms of someone who has Autism.   Getting an ASD diagnosis Most doctors will not give an autism diagnosis at 18 months.  Erika and Steven were able to get connected with a company that helped Blaise get early intervention services as well as getting into a developmental preschool. After Blaise attended the preschool for a little bit, Erika and Steven worked with another company to get a formal diagnosis when Blaise was 2.5 years old.  Being labeled as ASD was the fear Erika shared an interesting perspective about receiving her son's diagnosis.  By the time he was formally diagnosed she shared that her and Steven had already accepted the fact Blaise was different and had autism.  Erika was afraid of what a formal diagnosis would mean for the care Blaise would receive.  She shared, “My biggest fear, I didn't want to get a diagnosis, even though we believed he had autism because in my mind I didn't want them to stick him in a box.” She continued, “Once he was labeled then that's all the care he's going to get. He was only going to get autism care and an autism teacher…and it's a bigger world than that and I wanted him to have all the exposure that he could have.” To help ensure Blaise wasn’t put in a box, Erika started working at the school Blaise was enrolled in.  She gave a great example of how she has helped keep Blaise progressing.  She shared, “Because he has autism and because he has sensory issues..they put headphones on him, because that's what he needs.  When we have assemblies, I go in the assemblies and I take the headphones off…let's see if he can push through it. Don’t just give it to him because he has autism.”   Steve shared that he feels like when some parents have a diagnosis, they automatically put up a glass ceiling of what their child is capable of. Not even trying things because of the child’s label.  “We wanted to treat him as regular as possible, give him the same experiences as regular children.” Loving your child for who they are Regardless of his disability, Steve said that he and Erika have loved, supported, and accepted Blaise for who he is.  He said, “Don't give up, once you get that diagnosis, it's not a death sentence.  Just focus on the early intervention, focus on the things that you can control and then eventually things turn out ok.”  Erika and Steve both shared their joys of having Blaise as a son, Erika shared, “Just when he meets those little milestones…he had to work four times harder to do something that comes naturally to someone else.” Steve shared his joy saying, “I remember the first time he walked up to me with no prompts or anything and said, “Daddy I love you.” He looked me dead in the eye, and I was like “wow”.”  Being able to see Blaise work towards a goal and accomplish it has been very rewarding for both Erika and Steve.
Sock Talk: Go Shout Love
10-07-2020
Sock Talk: Go Shout Love
In this episode, Gerald talks with Josh Veach, the co-director for Go Shout Love. A cause-driven for-profit  business that raises funds and awareness for families on unique medical journeys.  Go Shout Love The Formation of Go Shout Love Go Should Love was first created by Kristen Estock in 2014.  She used her blog as a platform to tell a family’s story about their child who had spinal muscular atrophy or SMA.  Now Go Shout Love is a cause-driven for-profit business that raises awareness and funds for families with rare medical needs.   As a for-profit company, Go Shout Love has an online store that shares 50% of the proceeds to directly help families. Josh Veach, the co-director of Go Shout Love shared a few examples of the type of care Go Shout Love provides.  He said, “For some families that might look like helping contribute to the cost of repairing or getting a new handicapped accessible van or making their home more handicapped accessible.” Josh also explained how each month, Go Shout Love has new t-shirts in their online store that are inspired by the child they are featuring for the month. Go Shout Love’s Mission Later Josh shared what his team of seven dedicated members hope to accomplish with Go Shout Love.  He said there are two main things they are trying to achieve through their platform of Go Shout Love.  The first is the tangible gift of money, the second is the connection of story and love with others. Josh described the second goal of Goal Shout Love as the real sense of accomplishment his team and he feels. “We want these families to have a place where they’re heard and loved and supported.” The Process of Being Sponsored on Go Shout Love There are two main ways that someone can be sponsored through Go Shout Love.  Josh described the process as, “Kind of how the process works is they get nominated through our website.  Families nominate themselves or maybe a friend or family member nominates them.” After they receive a nomination they look to see if the family would be a good fit based on certain criteria. The families are then able to share their story through video.  For one month the family is featured on their website and their story is shared.  Throughout the month, all of the items on their website sold, 50% of the proceeds will go directly to the family. Challenges and Joys Working for Go Shout Love “The joys are getting to meet the families and the kids..to know that, that check we are getting ready to send is going to tangibly make a difference in their everyday life is incredibly rewarding for me.”  Josh said. Being a business is what Josh described as being challenging.  He shared, “We have to navigate tough times or low months or even in the midst of this season where the economy is in a really difficult position.  Our ability to provide not only for our families but also continue to pay our team members in a fair wage..I think the biggest challenge in the big picture is that we are limited in how many families we can help.” The Impact this Line of Work Has on Someone Josh shared how this journey has impacted his life.  He said, “When you meet people who have navigated and are navigating extremely difficult situations with grace, with strength, with courage, it is impossible to not be impacted by their stories.”  He continued by saying, “It has given me an overwhelming realignment in my perspective in my lens in how I view the world, how I view other people.  Especially people that look and act in every way possible different than me.” How to Get Involved Go Shout Love has several different avenues that people can get involved in.  They are on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  You can find their website at   There you can find additional ways to get involved and find their store, podcasts, and their family stories.  “Look for the opportunity to be the good.”  These were Josh’s last words.
Sock Talk- Early Intervention with Kristin Mancuso, PT, DPT
23-04-2020
Sock Talk- Early Intervention with Kristin Mancuso, PT, DPT
Dr. Gerald Nebeker talks about early intervention services that are available to children with developmental delays and disabilities.  Gerald speaks with Kristin who is the director of the Early Intervention program at RISE. She explains who is eligible and the purpose behind early intervention. Early Intervention According to the CDC, early intervention is a term used to describe services offered to children ages birth to three with developmental disabilities and or developmental delays and their families.  There are several different types of services offered through early intervention. Depending on what the child needs, they can receive the following services: speech therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. Each state has their own early intervention program.  These programs are publicly funded and provide services at a reduced cost or for free for any child who is eligible.   Early intervention is focused on ages birth to three.  This is a critical learning point in a child’s life.  The main goal of early intervention is to help with delays as soon as they become an issue; rather than waiting until later.   Is My Child Eligible for Early Intervention? Kristin, who is the director of the Early Intervention program at RISE, helped explain who qualifies for services.  She said, “..we’re looking at children that are birth to three that are demonstrating a developmental delay, whether it’s a mild to a significant developmental delay those are the children that would be eligible for the program.” Kristin then gave a great example of a developmental delay.  She said, “..for example when a child is walking.  We would expect a child to be walking between the ages of 12-15 months, and so if you have an 18-month-old child that hasn’t started walking yet, we would consider that a developmental delay.”  Determining if a Child is Eligible for Services At the pediatrician, parents or caregivers are asked developmental questions about their child.  Pediatricians use these to help find children who may need additional support.  The pediatrician will refer that child for services.  Depending on where you live, the eligibility criteria process and criteria can vary.   Kristin is in the state of Arizona.  After they receive a referral for services, a member of their team will assess the child in five different categories to determine if they qualify for services.  Those categories are: cognition, language, motor skills, social emotional skills, and their adaptive or self-help skills.   Members of the early intervention team use a standardized assessment to assess where the child is at for each of the five areas.  Who Pays for Early Intervention? Depending on which state you live in, depends on which department is paying for the early intervention services.  Kristin said, “The services are provided by contractors within the state.  Every state is different, some are through the Department of Education, some of it’s through the Department of Health and there is federal funding that supports early intervention as well, and that's the IDEA Part-C.” What Happens After Age Three? Early intervention is only ages birth to three, what about the children who require additional supports after they turn three?  Kristin explained that part of the early intervention is helping with the transition to other services.   Some children go to a special education preschool, some children can qualify for a Medicaid program through their state, and others, if they choose, can use their private insurance to pay for additional services the child might need. Family is Critical for Success in Early Intervention Part of early intervention is helping support the parents in their home with their child.  Kristin said, “Practice makes perfect.”.  In the case of early intervention nothing could be more true.  Our brains require repetition to learn something new.
Sock Talk- Employment and People With Disabilities
23-03-2020
Sock Talk- Employment and People With Disabilities
Even though the country has a record low employment rate of 2-3 percent, people with disabilities have an unemployment rate of 65 percent. Why is this?  In this Podcast Gerald talks about with proper training, coaching, and job matching, people with disabilities are able to become dedicated employees. Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities Unemployment Rates There are 48.9 million people in the US with at least one form of a disability.  65 percent of those are unemployed. With the national unemployment average at 2-3 percent, it’s shocking that people with disabilities have an unemployment rate so high.   There are several reasons someone with a disability could be unemployed.  Some perhaps don’t want to work, for some it’s an accessibility issue, and for others it could be an issue of training.   Why Not Hire Someone with a Disability? There are several jobs out there that someone with a disability could do if given the proper training.  For instance, sorting hangers at a clothing store, janitorial work, cleaners, or stock clerks. None of these jobs are made up, they require somebody to do them.  Given the right training and matching of skills, somebody with a disability could fill those needs. Using Their Strengths to Help People with Disabilities Find Employment Gerald shared a wonderful example of employing someone with a disability.  Bob is on the autism spectrum and loves to sort things. Bob rarely speaks and has episodes of self-injurious behaviors or aggressive behaviors towards others.   At first you might think Bob is unemployable.  However, with some creativity and using what skills Bob has, he found the perfect job.  Bob sorts maps for the Forest Service. He is great at it, it doesn’t require communication with others while sorting, and his aggressive behaviors are non-existent while he is sorting. How do People with Disabilities Find Employment? There are organizations like RISE, Orange Socks’ parent company, that have contracted with the state to supply supported employment.  RISE has staff who contact businesses and explore their needs and how someone with a disability could fulfill those needs. When the person is placed in the job, they get a job coach who shadows the client making sure they perform the required task.  At first that shadowing could be full-time, but then it’s gradually faded to a point where they no longer need a job coach.