Doors of opportunity and growth remain open for a young girl who learns differently… She deals with autism, with ADD, with some dyslexia and dyscalculia. That’s too much to handle for an adult, imagine for a child.
But I, the parent, refuse to have her carry that weight all by herself. I lighten the load. I prioritize her needs as a child first, then we take care of the realities of the diagnoses that at times make some of her days very difficult.
Wondrous #Nashville… continues to create opportunity for wonder girl…
This time Tikkun Olam Makers:Vanderbilt has put together an empowering event to guide college students while learning about human centered design, empathy and creating to support an individual with a disability…
We met the Knowers… we laughed, shared, pondered, thought, analyzed, realized, found common ground…
Soon we’ll meet again and see them in action, creating, breaking barriers!
Thankful, blessed, appreciative…
Autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and ADHD can be difficult to overcome in the classroom, especially when learning abstract concepts such as multiplication, division, and word problems.
Working with students with learning disabilities varies on a case by case basis, so we will work specifically with Thomais to find learning strategies that work best to help her learn these mathematical concepts.
Our next steps in this process are to:
1. Contact the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, explain Thomais’s situation, and get advice from experts there about teaching strategies.
2. Look into existing workbooks, lesson plans, and strategies geared toward people with dyscalculia.
3. Think about ways to incorporate art, detective work, and/or strategies gathered from steps 1 and 2 into an engaging game focused on practicing Thomais’s math skills. (Programming)
Why is Human Centered Design so important?
Because every interaction you have with those who charge you for a service or product, must provide such product or service based on human centered design, based on your child’s needs, based on fully servicing or facilitating life.
It is not difficult at all to inquire about specific needs, to adapt the service or product when possible, if at the end, the money you are investing will show the desired result — that is that your child/adult will benefit, enjoy, value what is being used/practiced.
Let’s discuss this matter in depth. Let’s empower each other by discussing services and products and how they can be adapted/tweaked to fulfill your needs! Human Centered Design must rule every interaction…
Read more about Human Centered Design:
Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving and the backbone of our work at IDEO.org. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs.
My daughter has a diagnosis… My daughter’s skills are considered to be limited… My daughter cannot interact with others… My daughter cannot do this or that…
That’s what many consider will happen to an individual with a diagnosis or diverse abilities.
I say… crapola to all of them…
I choose to interact and respect those who support individuals with a diagnosis, who do not see limits, who welcome interaction and who realize everyone can do something.
These are key elements to expose your child, teen and adult to entrepeneurship. Yes, that powerful word that builds skills that will last a lifetime. Above all, developing responsibility and independence.
This is no easy feat. This takes years to practice. It takes tons of patience. It takes the willingness and desire to accept your child will do things differently and achieve success.
Just remember they cannot do it alone. They need support and guidance. They need help. Repetition is key.
What can you do?
Do you as a parent have what it takes to make it happen? To achieve success? Of course you do! We all do have the capacity to work out the kinks of entrepeneurship. And as long as you are ready to seek support form your network and put aside preconceived notions… You will guide your child/teen/adult with diverse abilities to success.
I’ve begun the process. A recent, beyond magnificent, experience as a vendor at Beale Street Art Crawl in Memphis TN confirms this is the road to travel with my daughter and her abilities.
She has an incredible story.
She has talent.
She has charm.
She is curious.
She has family and friends that support her.
She still has a lot to learn.
The challenges she faces at this early stage of her life cannot be prioritized. Yes, they must be handled, managed, survived… but they cannot rule the dynamics of her existence. And the various mainstream organizations we approach cannot only see or emphasize the challenges.
This is why the media, businesses, organizations and downtown commissions need to fully support individuals with diverse abilities — in whichever field they excel at —
Bring on the Big Guns!
For example… the big organizers of well known art shows in big cities must include artists with diverse abilities. They must consider their lack of funds and open the door to include them in their well attended gatherings. The presence of an artist with diverse abilities does not represent an extra expense. On the contrary, it can mean greater media exposure. It can mean compliance with ADA. It can mean the realization that exclusivity does not represent quality.
Myself and countless families welcome the opportunity to discuss in detail the steps to take to make this a reality.
There are many steps we still need to take. But the ones taken so far are beyond meaningful.
Now,it is up to others to openly support and accept the value many individuals like my daughter bring to their organizations. And I will continue to remind them!
Thomais had a maginificent experience on October 20, 2018. She had her first discovery day as a vendor in a mainstream art show. She received her first lesson in entrepeneurship – creating, being her and receiving payment for her creativity.
This is huge. The repercussions are many for all involved.
I had prepared the road by sending a submission – late (lesson #1) – and being extremely persuasive. I had organized pictures of her paintings, present and past experiences and shared the fact Thomais is on the autism spectrum and wants exposure.
I did some research about the location, schedule. Hundreds of scenarios ran thru my mind — what could be fun and what could be too stressful. The fun aspects outweighed the stress and/or challenges.
Lo and behold… a YES was received and Thomais was to have her first experience, as a vendor, in a mainstream art show.
I thought: “Holy cow! I hope this organization understands how meaningful this is. They have chosen to practice inclusion – knowingly or unknowingly.”
There were many details to consider — material, tools, art, money, payment forms, drive, food, set up time, etc. —
I contacted various organizations seeking funds to purchase art material. There was no positive response — but I found out there is an arts reuse organization in Nashville that sells (low, low prices) recycled material! Details here!
Very little would have happened if her uncle Charlie would not have been involved. He’s a beacon in this huge step. He’s an artist. He’s a creator. He’s passionate. He’s a hard worker. And everything he does is full of emotion.
What did we learn?
Keeping it fun is key.
Planning is helpful but must remain flexible. You know when it’s time to go!
Sharing your story, your highs and lows is always welcomed by many. Watch/Read her Retrospective!
Keep smiling even when time passes and no one stops by your table.
Art is subjective… What someone likes, the other person does not…
Social Media rules (Facebook and Twitter) – sharing every step of our trek and discoveries is vital.
The reason to buy a piece of art is different for every buyer… There is a story behind every purchase!!
Thomais was so bold and wonderful… She gave away her biz cards. She asked people if they wanted to buy her art!!
The first buyers — got Meowlloween for their daughter!
The second buyer – a young artist who felt moved by Finally Free Niall Horan
The third buyer – an ex-Marine who had lived in Puerto Rico
The fourth buyer – a friend of the family that purchased Meowlloween – he got the We (heart) UFO’s
The fifth buyer – GUMVANA was purchased by a beautiful couple who just reunited after 35yrs!!!
Their initials and another heart was added to the painting!! They willingly paid twice the price!! #CamilaCabello your song inspired Thomais…
She created a new version of Havana!!! Beale Street Art Crawl
Victoria Franklin check this!! Your art show creating magic
The sixth buyer – a mighty supportive young man whose face said it all when he found out Thomais is on the autism spectrum. He asked her to please keep painting…
UPDATE 10/5/18 — Thomais’ art piece “Dreams of Brazil” has just been sold!! It will reach the buyer in Puerto Rico soon!!!
A community is built from dedication and commitment…
Parents and Guardians of individuals with special abilities know this….
The exhibit “We Are All Art” opened today thanks to the support of many… Hotel Preston approached Borderless Arts Tennessee to host this empowering exhibit.
As a community, we all showed up, we cheered, we supported, we raved and were marveled by the creativity…
These activities create opportunity – these adults, artists, know they are capable of creating and selling their creation — taking steps towards independence!
Visit the exhibit – FREE – and purchase some art (Great Presents!!). It is open till Jan. 4, 2019.
We are beyond thankful…
Ms. Brinkworth and Dr. Boone – Thomais’ teachers – your presence is soooo inspiring. Taking from your personal time to support your student!
JC Oden – your willingness to give exposure is so appreciated.
The Ambassador of Autism Tourism made it to this incredible town one more time… Yep, we could not stay away for long…
She conquered… She surrendered to the marvels of Chattanooga…
We had to… The town screams take me, I’m all yours!
When you have a 10 year old, full of energy, curious yet also with fears… Chattanooga will delight and appease.
Chattanooga will entertain and force you to discover.
I’ve said it before… Nature is the force that drives this incredible town. It guides the interaction a family can create in its open spaces.
A family with a child or adult with diverse abilities can find its little corner or take over every open space it offers.
I will insist… Just own your experience. Plan A and B and C, etc is always a good idea — you know what your kids/adults can or can’t handle. Keep seeking quality of life — whether it is 5 minutes or 5 hours.
It has been Autism Certified – this means personnel has been trained and consideration, respect, tolerance, empathy is available to all…
The designers of these spaces get all my respect. What a great flow, how hands on everything is and the reminder we must take care of our environment is obvious everywhere.
The Ambassador can show anxiety in new spaces, with new sounds. We are so proud of her… today, it was all welcomed, handled, survived, enjoyed. Many factors were at play – she’s older, she had previous activities to release anxiety (IMAX Theater, pipe cleaners craft and Orbeez) and we talked about it. She did it. She saw everything. She enjoyed it all – even those areas with intense sounds or enclosed spaces.
I’m a proud mom. This is why I strongly urge all of you to visit this spectacular place stat!!!!
This powerful organization in partnership with the Tennessee Aquarium gave free tickets for families to enjoy a movie in the IMAX Theatre and access to the River and Ocean Journeys of the Aquarium! Beyond thankful we are!
The cute mouse – Cheesey – made with pipe cleaners – provided hours of entertainment and incredible stories will be told about its valiant approach to life!
Always good and jovial service… Tasty comfort food. Close to everything. And Cheesey was the star!
Walnut St Bridge
In the heart of it all… So much to offer. Limitless beauty!
Thomais witnessed an accident on the bridge – something her brain had never seen in real life. She was impressed. Shocked. She wanted to help. There were many details that had to be explained – several times!
Exposing our kids to real life is a must. Explaining what can occur. What the expectations are is our obligation as parents. Keep it simple or be as detailed as you need to be. But keep the communication lines open.
Riverwalk and The Passage – Water Fall Stairs
Our day ended with peace, calm, delight, wonderment and many questions… Beyond thankful!!
When can we return? Why is this place so special? Yes, at times it feels magnetic and you want more…
On the road back home… a distant rainbow…
the reminder we must keep dreaming and making it all happen… Why? Because it is possible… Thank you Chattanooga…