The TuscBDD Blog

How Ohio Shared Living is Changing Lives

By Kerri Silverthorn   |   Mon, Jun 28th, 2021

Sometimes people with developmental disabilities form such a wonderful relationship with their direct support professional staff (DSP) that they become like family, and that is how Ohio Shared Living (OSL) began. OSL is a service option where the caregiver and the person receiving services share a home; the paid caregiver is certified through the state of Ohio. For OSL to be successful, caregivers and people with developmental disabilities both make long-term commitments to sharing a home and being a part of the family, resulting in lifelong relationships.

Luke, a man who receives TuscBDD services, now participates in OSL. Luke was already receiving homemaker-personal care/direct support services from a local provider called Starlight Enterprises Inc. (SEI) where he formed a close relationship with a DSP named Gloria. DSPs are caregivers that can provide a wide range of personalized services that help people in their everyday life. During this time, Luke suffered a family loss and discovered that he would need support from his friend Gloria now more than ever. 

While Luke grappled with the many changes he was enduring, he continued to receive services from Starlight Enterprises Inc (SEI). Today, Gloria provides Luke with all the DSP care he needs through OSL as well as many new opportunities to explore. “Through Gloria and Luke’s relationship, Luke is playing Challenger Baseball, independently go-cart riding, fishing, becoming a cornhole master, a camper guru, and a food critic. After a loss and many changes and challenges, Luke is thriving once more and living a great life,” expressed TuscBDD SSA, Stacy Savage. “No one will ever replace a person’s family but having people in your life to call family again and a place to call home is a good runner up.”

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How Ohio Shared Living is Changing Lives

Kerri Silverthorn Mon, Jun 28th, 2021

Sometimes people with developmental disabilities form such a wonderful relationship with their direct support professional staff (DSP) that they become like family, and that is how Ohio Shared Living (OSL) began. OSL is a service option where the caregiver and the person receiving services share a home; the paid caregiver is certified through the state of Ohio. For OSL to be successful, caregivers and people with developmental disabilities both make long-term commitments to sharing a home and being a part of the family, resulting in lifelong relationships.

Luke, a man who receives TuscBDD services, now participates in OSL. Luke was already receiving homemaker-personal care/direct support services from a local provider called Starlight Enterprises Inc. (SEI) where he formed a close relationship with a DSP named Gloria. DSPs are caregivers that can provide a wide range of personalized services that help people in their everyday life. During this time, Luke suffered a family loss and discovered that he would need support from his friend Gloria now more than ever. 

While Luke grappled with the many changes he was enduring, he continued to receive services from Starlight Enterprises Inc (SEI). Today, Gloria provides Luke with all the DSP care he needs through OSL as well as many new opportunities to explore. “Through Gloria and Luke’s relationship, Luke is playing Challenger Baseball, independently go-cart riding, fishing, becoming a cornhole master, a camper guru, and a food critic. After a loss and many changes and challenges, Luke is thriving once more and living a great life,” expressed TuscBDD SSA, Stacy Savage. “No one will ever replace a person’s family but having people in your life to call family again and a place to call home is a good runner up.”

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Keeping Cool and Calm

Kerri Silverthorn Fri, Jun 18th, 2021

Summer days are on the horizon and that can sometimes be overwhelming for families and kids. Focus on sensory preferences, and help your child have a cool and calm summer! Click here for a complete guide to help your child build their own sensory toolkit to utilize during stressful moments.

Mouth & Breath

  • Step outside and blow some bubbles or blow on a pinwheel. You can help your child focus on breathing and ensure they are taking deep breaths by using a fun toy. Breathing can help calm the body and mind while reducing anxiety!
  • Use a crazy straw or regular straw to encourage a little extra effort when kids drink summer refreshments. Keep some crunchy or gummy snacks on hand. The pressure on the mouth and jaw often times has a calming effect.

Touch

  • Encourage kids to squeeze a ball or handle fidget tools to calm down, such as spinners, stretchy bands, or pop tubes.
  • Add playdoh or kinetic sand to your sensory tool kits for kids to squeeze, roll, or pinch.
  • Coloring books or doodle pads engage the hands and mind.
  • Applying pressure may help your child calm down during a moment of stress or frustration. Headbands and wrist bands provide calming pressure and bear hugs or finger squeezes are a great way for you to regulate their breathing or heart rate.

Noise

  • Noise can be tricky. Some children prefer noise-canceling headphones to calm down while others prefer fun sounds like the jingling of bells or the relaxing hum of a white noise machine. Learn what your child prefers and add those items to your toolbox!

Smell

  • Certain smells can help your child feel calm and centered. Scented lotions are great for massage. Put different scents in a jar and allow your child to sniff them as another way to utilize smell as a calming tool.

Sight

  • Keep sunglasses or an eye mask in your calm kit if bright lights bother your child. You can also dim the lights or draw the curtains to help cool them off. Light-up toys like balls or tops may prove to be a good visual tool.

Remember that this calm down kit is meant to help your child- don’t force them to play with anything and try to have fun while introducing new tools to them. For more information on sensory play, emotion regulation, and motor activities, check out Miss Farrah’s website www.missfarrahmovementandfun.com.

The Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities (TuscBDD) has resources for children and adults with developmental disabilities. TuscBDD provides Early Intervention for children birth to three years old, Service and Support Administration for people of all ages, family support services, family mentorship, and more! Including You Blog is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Newsymom.

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Healthy Relationships: Handling Divorce

Kerri Silverthorn Mon, Mar 22nd, 2021

Healthy Relationships - Handling Divorce and Breaking Up: Issue Four

No one wants to go through a divorce or breakup, but having the skills to cope and heal will make the process a little smoother. Getting through a breakup or divorce might be one of the hardest moments of your life. After a breakup it’s normal to be flooded with grief, disappointment, and stress. Even when it’s for the better, abruptly losing the stability, support, and companionship of a relationship is a tough blow.

The grieving process is difficult and tedious. Everyone experiences it differently. When experiencing grief:

  • Don’t fight your feelings or suppress your emotions
  • Talk about your feelings and seek professional therapy
  • Remember moving on is the end goal

Seeking the help and support of others is also a healthy way to cope with your loss. Get outside and cultivate new friendships, spend time with people who value and respect you, and lean into those you trust and love. Make healthy choices and take care of yourself in the wake of a breakup. These three self-care tips are a great place to start:

  • Explore new interests and make time to take care of yourself daily
  • Pay attention to your needs and take breaks
  • Stick to a routine and avoid alcohol, drugs, and food as coping mechanisms

Everyone deserves to have people in their life that they love. Meaningful relationships can be tough to navigate, but they are essential to a happy and healthy life. Check out this link for more information on handling a divorce or breakup.

This blog is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and newsymom.com. Please click here to read all of our content!

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Meeting People and Making Friends

Kerri Silverthorn Fri, Mar 5th, 2021

Healthy Relationships Series - Issue 3: Meeting People and Making Friends

Having strong relationships is key to a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not always easy to find and form these bonds, especially in adulthood. You’ve likely heard the song, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t explain how to make new friends. When it comes to forming friendships, you should look for someone who:

  • Has similar interests
  • Accepts you for who you are
  • Listens attentively without judging or dismissing you
  • Makes you feel comfortable sharing things about yourself and, in turn, feels comfortable sharing with you

Finding that spark with a new friend is an amazing feeling. Quality friendships can improve your mood and lower stress/depression, help you achieve your goals and support you through tough times, and improve your mood and build your self-worth!

Focus on how a budding friendship makes you feel, not on how it looks. You can create, strengthen, and maintain your new friendship by being a good friend. Be a good listener, give your friend space, and be forgiving.

But what about when you’re looking for the one? Try applying these six tips for success in the dating pool!

  • Build a connection
  • Have fun
  • Handle rejection gracefully
  • Watch for red flags
  • Make trust a priority and handle issues that arise
  • Nurture the relationship!

Everyone deserves to have people in their life that they love. Meaningful relationships can be tough to navigate, but they are essential to a happy and healthy life. Check out https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/making-good-friends.htm for more information on making friends and https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/tips-for-finding-lasting-love.htm for advice on finding love.

This blog is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and newsymom.com. Please click here to read all of our content!

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Healthy Relationships Series - Issue Two

Kerri Silverthorn Thu, Feb 25th, 2021

Healthy Relationships Series - Issue Two: Navigating Loneliness & Shyness

Humans are social creatures, but no one is born with social skills. Combating loneliness and overcoming shyness are common universal struggles. Loneliness affects all ages and backgrounds. It can be situational, such as finding yourself in a new community after a move, or maybe you have always been shy and it is part of your personality.

You can overcome shyness by quieting self-criticism. Are you afraid of feeling embarrassed? Worried about what others think? Do you assume it’s your fault when someone rejects you? Do you often feel bad about yourself after a social interaction? Let’s dispel some of these critical thoughts.

More often than not, people are not thinking about you. You are more concerned with yourself and critical of yourself than anyone else.

Awkwardness and nervousness are normal for everyone. Some people are just better at projecting self-confidence… even when they’re faking it.

People are tolerant. People are likely to forgive genuine social faux pas.


Making New Friends
When you’re feeling lonely and anxious about meeting new people, apply these three tips:

  • Accept yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes. You aren’t perfect and your negative inner thoughts are often unrealistic. You’re not worthless, pathetic, etc. You have many wonderful qualities and you don’t have to be perfect to be liked!
  • Practice building social skills. Step out of your comfort zone and smile at a stranger, attend a party, or make small talk with a cashier at the grocery store, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.
  • Take a break from the social scene. You still need alone time to relax and recharge. Don’t overcommit to social events, take breaks between big plans, and communicate to family and friends your desire for some solitude.

Remember that not every interaction will go as planned. Don’t dwell on mistakes or setbacks. Loneliness is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent part of life. Continue to work on overcoming your shyness and watch your social circle grow!

Everyone deserves to have people in their life that they love. Meaningful relationships can be tough to navigate, but they are essential to a happy and healthy life.  Check out this website for more information on loneliness and overcoming shyness.

This blog is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and newsymom.com. Please click here to read all of our content!

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Meet Cece: Early Intervention Graduate

Kerri Silverthorn Thu, Feb 18th, 2021

Cece receives Early Intervention (EI) services from the TuscBDD EI Team, and her family wants you to know:

"Help Me Grow and TuscBDD Early Intervention has changed our lives! In February 2020, we started our journey with Early Intervention when Cece had just turned one. She was barely sitting up on her own, wasn't interested in moving on from baby food, and didn't hold her own bottle. It has been a year since we began with EI, and Cece is the most fearless 2 year old I have ever seen! She is so smart and is very particular about how she likes everything to go in her day-to-day schedule. She eats everything you can name that most toddlers wouldn't even touch, she understands everything you ask her, and she can respond to yes or no questions / this or that questions. She climbs everything under the sun and would jump off a mountain if I'd let her. EI taught us how to handle certain situations better and how to better communicate with Cece.

Not only has my daughter gained confidence in herself, but I've gained confidence in myself as a mom. EI showed me how it's okay to not be a perfect mom. I feel like in my daughters eyes, I am the perfect mom for her. Some parents struggle to see success, but as long as my daughter is happy then I am happy. Early Intervention and Help Me Grow taught me that, and I think that has been our key to all of our daughter's success this year.

My daughter might be small, but she is very brave, smart, and fearless! Thank you so much for this opportunity with Early Intervention. Although I am sad that our time with Early intervention is over, I'm happy and proud that I get to brag that my daughter graduated from the program within one year! All thanks to our wonderful TuscBDD Early Intervention friends Kari and Amy!"

~ The Cavanaugh Family

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