Caregiver Could Get Paid Leave Under COVID-19 Relief Law

Caregiver Could Get Paid Leave Under COVID-19 Relief Law

FROM DISABILITY SCOOP

Parents who must stay home from work to care for their adult children with disabilities due to coronavirus-related closures may qualify for paid leave, federal official say.

The stimulus bill signed by President Donald Trump in March includes a temporary expansion of paid leave for workers in some circumstances. The provision was intended to address the needs of employees across the country who are unable to come to work or telecommute because they must care for children while schools and other child care providers are closed.

Paid leave and the COVID-19 stimulus law

The law was largely mum on the needs of families of adults with disabilities whose typical daytime activities have been canceled. Now, however, the U.S. Department of Labor appears to be including parents of adults with disabilities in the groups that qualify for the expanded paid leave offering.

In a rule published Monday in the Federal Register, the Labor Department determined that the definition of “son or daughter” for the new program should be consistent with that of the existing Family and Medical Leave Act, which “expressly includes children 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.”

Under the rule, businesses with 500 or fewer employees can receive tax credits for providing up to 14 weeks of paid leave through a combination of sick leave and family leave to workers who are unable to come to work or work remotely because of the effects of COVID-19. In addition to child care issues, workers could qualify for leave if they have coronavirus, are under quarantine or for a handful of other reasons.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

 


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External Resources

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

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Administration for Community Living

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Maryland Department of Education Division of Early Childhood

Children Living With Autism – Raising a Child With Autism

Children Living With Autism – Raising a Child With Autism

raising a child with autism

Raising a child with autism is real work. And I would know because I’ve done it – and still doing it. If you are reading this, then the chances are that you have a child living with autism too. 

Do I understand exactly how you feel? Not entirely.

What I can do, however, is share my experiences with you. Hopefully, you find this article helpful to create your own strategies to help your child.

Kyle was 2 when he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). And as would any parent, I was emotionally confused. I love my son, but I felt so worried for his future. I wondered if I knew enough or would be enough for his needs.

How would he cope in the world? Sadly, I feared he wouldn’t get to experience life as other children do. As though it couldn’t get any worse, I would also have to deal with the persistent and sometimes embarrassing questions from my family and friends. I didn’t know what I would do or how I would handle all that.

Is he gifted like some other children living with ASD? Does he sleep? What does he like eating? Is he good at mathematics?

Then, as he got older, the unusual public behavior started: running off, scratching his face, rocking back and forth, loudly repeating things he heard on TV. Most days, I felt more angry than depressed. And that is not unusual given I felt like I have embarrassed my family or even my son. I ask myself, am I doing anything right?

If I could cry, I would. You see, I’m the mom, and I have to be strong for the family. The truth is that raising a child with autism will get you frustrated. At times, it can be confusing and make you feel guilty.

So how did I manage the whole thing? Was it challenging?

Yes, it was. However, looking back, the steps we took were the most beautiful things we could have done.

How Can You Help a Child Living with Autism as a Parent?

  1. Learn more about autism

After the discovery, I took to studying. Of course, I knew autism as some level of a disability before Kyle was diagnosed but I was desperate to learn more. Perhaps you’re wondering why I did that. But think about it, isn’t it better to be well equipped on how to manage the autism symptoms?

You see, raising a child with autism is harder than I’d anticipated. Firstly, I had to go through 16-week behavior intervention training.

Luckily, I learned the strategies on how to help Kyle with his challenging behaviors. Some of these strategies are:

  • We devised alternative communication methods. We taught him how to point to what he needs rather than crying or screaming.
  • We had 20-30 minutes of planned communication and play every day. And it usually involved much social imitation, and it was amusing to both Kyle and us.

At the end of it, Kyle became less anxious around us. Also, he now copes much better with daily tasks. You would love to see him when he builds things with Legos – really exciting!

2. Glean from other’s experiences

Other than the knowledge we gained from the various training we attended. We also joined social support groups too.

Talking about autism with folks who have a bit of experience is excellent. It makes us calm. Besides, we get to see what more we could do for our Kyle.

3. Talking to your child about autism

We made a personal decision to talk to Kyle about his condition. We waited until we thought he could understand why his behaviors seem different to other people. So we told him when he was about 10. He cried, which was emotional. You have to forgive me; I cried too.

From all the outbursts of emotions, we achieved a significant feat. We were able to assist Kyle to understand that he does not have to be upset about who he is, but rather he just needs extra support. Besides, he’s not the only one.

4. Managing challenging behaviors in public

On challenging behaviors, we did our best to teach Kyle the dos and don’ts. Not just that, we showed him what a better reaction looks like. And we did that with videos and what we learned about social imitation. We didn’t stop there; signs and examples are posted around his room and around the house.

So what do you think? Were the strategies helpful? An extra tip, we took baby steps, and it was necessary. Planning too far ahead might not be best.

In the end, calmness and unconditional love are what any child needs. 


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Share your story with the community. Click here to contact us about doing a SETH TALK.

Interested in becoming a guest writer for Seth’s Mom. Click here to contact us.


External Resources

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Maryland Early Intervention and Special Education Services

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Maryland Preschool Special Education

Maryland Department of Education Division of Early Childhood

Can coronavirus cause autism in my unborn baby? I’m pregnant and worried.

Can coronavirus cause autism in my unborn baby? I’m pregnant and worried.

Can coronavirus cause autism? In, short… maybe? There is no direct causal relationship between anything and autism. There’s no exact gene. There’s no exact chemical. There’s no exact environmental cause of autism. Well, at least not one all the experts can agree on. Everything we know is inconclusive, so basically we’re not sure. This may fill you with any number of emotions from fear to relief, and that is not only normal it is to be expected. You are a mom or dad (attentive dads are pregnant along with us moms, don’t @ me) and you want to make sure your baby is healthy.

Can coronavirus cause autism?

Can coronavirus cause autism?

Is There a Virus that Causes Autism

Rather than asking if coronavirus cause autism in unborn babies, try posing the question as if there is a direct relationship between any virus and the presence of ASD, try to look at it from a different perspective. Try to look at it from the perspective of maternal health. Any virus may be a virus that causes autism. To gain better perspective, we have gathered some information from Psychology Today for the Seth’s Mom family

Like everyone else, I’m struggling to evaluate the potential impact of the corona virus outbreak. As I write, precautionary measures are being taken across the globe, with different approaches being adopted by different governments, reflecting the different perceptions of risk and of the extent of the pandemic. Scientific and medical advisors, doing their best to anticipate to where this pandemic will go, are advising governments, desperately hoping to make the right choices for their people.

One problem they all face is in assessing the risk to different groups within society.  The elderly are particularly vulnerable, particularly those with pre-existing medical conditions.  The young seem to be less effected, a relief for many parents.  But what about the unborn?  What precautions should pregnant women by taking?

Guidance has emerged on both sides of the Atlantic for women in pregnancy[1].  The message is that there is no evidence that babies in the womb are at risk.  Indeed, evidence suggests that corona-type viruses don’t cross the placenta, and case studies have led the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to conclude that, ‘Expert opinion is that the fetus is unlikely to be exposed during pregnancy’. This is reassuring, and the expert advice is that women in pregnancy should adopt approximately the same measures to avoid exposure as the rest of the population, and take similar steps for self-isolation should they suspect that they have become infected.

Neuroscientists working on neurodevelopmental disorders, however, might spot that one issue has been overlooked. There is good evidence that severe exposure to viral infection during the first trimester is associated with an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders[2].  Perhaps the clearest evidence relates to autism, where in one robust study, the risk of a child being subsequent diagnosed with autism increased almost three-fold following exposure to a severe viral infection during the first trimester[3]. To be clear, these were not simply mild cases of the sniffles: the infection had to be serious enough to warrant hospitalisation.  To be clear also: the risk to the child remained low.  The population incidence of autism is roughly 1%, so even if tripled, the overwhelming majority of pregnancies deliver neurotypical children.

But could the same be true for Covid19, if it doesn’t infect the fetus? Well actually it could because the fetus doesn’t need to be exposed to the virus directly.  Experimental evidence suggests that the problem isn’t the virus itself, rather it results from the mother’s response[4]. Infection causes the mother’s immune system to produce cytokines – signalling molecules the activate the body’s defences and contribute to the development of the fever. While the virus itself may not cross the placenta, the cytokines do, and they impact the development of the fetus. It is this cytokine storm that seems to raise the risk of developmental disorder in the baby.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.


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NEXT STEPS…

Share your story with the community. Click here to contact us about doing a SETH TALK.

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External Resources

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Administration for Community Living

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Maryland Preschool Special Education

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Having Another Child After Having One With Autism, a Dad’s Perspective

parenting strategies for autism

Parenting Strategies for Autism Can Be… Well… a Lot, Right?

There are so many techniques and supports to remember when raising a child on the spectrum. Parenting strategies for autism are not only dependent on how receptive your child is generally, but also how well that strategy will work in a given situation. We parents have to keep our head on a swivel. Be nimble. Be flexible. Now, imagine having to apply those strategies to another child. What about two more? 

After my experience with Kyle, my first child living with autism, the thought of having another child with autism scared me. Yet, my wife and I would love to have another child.

But, Why am I Scared? How Likely is it That a Parent Could Have Another Child with Autism?

As I’ve learned, the answer to that depends on several factors. The first factor to consider is the results of genetic testing. Genetic testing can give an idea of how predisposed parents are to having multiple children with ASD, but for now there is no causal relationship between an exact gene and the presence, or prevalence, of ASD in a family. Current genetic testing can only predict ASD for about 15% of the children living with ASD.

But, what I have also learned is that studies have show that couples with one autistic child have a 10-20% greater risk of having a second child with autism.

Also, if the child is a boy, he is even more likely to have ASD (2-3times). And that’s not all; do you know second-born children with ASD are generally severely affected than the first? That’s scary.

Why Is It Scary?

Firstly, my wife and I are worried about how we would manage. As much as we love our son, it takes a lot of time and effort to properly care and support him. How do we manage the needs of another autistic child? Would our resources (energy and finances) even be enough for the two of them?

Secondly, there is a feeling of guilt too. To say this may make you bristle (heck, it makes me bristle too). Why bring another child to this world knowing well beforehand that she/he might struggle socially, physically, and psychologically? We love our children regardless, but we have to be honest here about what us parents go through, think about, and worry about.

Thirdly, children are not the same. They have varied needs and complexes. And what does that imply? We have to devise new parenting strategies for autism for the new child too.

This is all… a lot.

With All These Doubts, is it Advisable to Still Go Ahead? Should Parents Feel Scared That Their Second Child May Have Autism?

There is good news. Doctors say having a child with autism is more like a genetic lottery. And when you look at it, the chance of having a neuro-typical child is 80-90%. So do we really need to worry?

My wife and I say, no. We will expand our family and love our children. It may mean more work. Heck, it will be more work whether our 2nd child has autism or is neuro-typical. We’ll make it work and, if necessary, learn new parenting strategies for autism.

In the end, the decision is yours.


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NEXT STEPS…

Share your story with the community. Click here to contact us about doing a SETH TALK.

Interested in becoming a guest writer for Seth’s Mom. Click here to contact us.


External Resources

Mayo Clinic

Genetics Home Reference – NIH

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Maryland Early Intervention and Special Education Services

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Maryland Preschool Special Education

Maryland Department of Education Division of Early Childhood

 

Intellectual Disability: Features, Symptoms, Treatment

Intellectual Disability: Features, Symptoms, Treatment

Intellectual disability is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulty in reasoning and understanding. Learn more in this article

Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability is recognized with general problems in intellectual skills. Such general problems are planning and analyzing among others. Intelligence is determined by standard Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests. The individual with an intellectual disability has generally less than 75 IQ level.

Prevelance

The prevalence of intellectual disability is higher in males, both in adult populations and in children and adolescents. The highest prevalence occurs in developing countries where rates are nearly twice as high.

Intellectual Disability

Main Symptoms

Symptoms are characterized by important limitations in both brain functioning and adaptive behavior, expressed in impaired practical, social, and conceptual skills. Intellectual disability has a significant impact on at least two of the following skill areas:

  • Learning and self-management in life situations such as personal care, professional responsibilities, money control, recreation, control of one’s behavior and organization in school and professional tasks.
  • Communication
  • Language skills, reading, writing, math, reasoning, knowledge, memory
  • Social/interpersonal skills

Treatment 

Intellectual disability is not a disease but a condition. People with an intellectual disability should receive medical follow-up and encouragement through therapeutic work with occupational therapists, psychologists, speech therapists, and special education services.

Outcomes from having an intellectual disability can be improved through systematic developmental stimulation, adjustments in personal, academic, and professional supports, as well as opportunities for social inclusion.

Intellectual Disability

Prevention

The chance of a child having an intellectual disability depends on several factors related to genetics, prenatal care, maternal health during pregnancy, healthy family environment during childhood and adolescence, among others factors. As you can see, there are many contributing circumstances.

Care can be taken to avoid, or minimize, the rate of intellectual disabilities:

  • Seek genetic counseling before becoming pregnant when there are cases of intellectual disability in the family or advanced maternal age (over 35 years).
  • Provide adequate prenatal care to monitor possible infections or prenatal illnesses that can be treated before damage to the unborn child occurs.
  • Maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy and avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  • Provide the baby with adequate nutrition and a healthy, stimulating family environment and try to prevent childhood accidents/injuries.
  • Seek medical attention if you notice any problems with your child’s development and/or growth.

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NEXT STEPS…

Share your story with the community. Click here to contact us about doing a SETH TALK.

Interested in becoming a guest writer for Seth’s Mom. Click here to contact us.


External Resources

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Maryland Early Intervention and Special Education Services

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Maryland Preschool Special Education

Maryland Department of Education Division of Early Childhood

INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM

IEP

Individualized Education Program gives these special children all the tools they need to excel in school. It is a document that outlines the student’s educational needs and any extra educational items or services they’ll need for this program to be successful.

Having a child who is different from his or her peers and has a harder time at school is hard on every parent. You worry about a lot of things like acceptance, your child’s ability to cope, and make friends. But most importantly, you worry about your child’s mental capabilities.

You also worry about their performance at school and how this would affect their future because you want life to be easy, and education is just one more place where they struggle.

As parents struggle, it’s also difficult for kids too. And finding a solution to this problem would bring relief to both parent and child. In many states, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the solution to this problem. Special needs children; for example, autistic children can get the help they need.

However, this document isn’t just released without following due process. In Maryland, there are quite a few hurdles to cross before your special needs child can get this document that makes learning easier for them.

Before your child can even be considered as a special needs child, someone has to acknowledge that there is a problem. It could be your child’s teacher who notices that your child might be having a hard time in school. It could also be you – the parent who makes a formal complaint to the IEP staff at your child’s school.

In Maryland, once you report this observation, there is a usually a 90-day limit to access the student. The assessment usually takes three ways:

  • General Screening
  • Assessing the students’ academic ability
  • Review of assessment

The members of the IEP team set up to resolve this consist of:

  • Parent/guardian
  • General education teacher
  • Special education teacher
  • Social worker
  • Psychologist
  • Speech pathologist
  • Nurse/health-related service provider
  • School administrator
  • Family Friend

Parental Consent for Individualized Education Programs

The State of Maryland has put in specific rules and laws to provide parents a more hands-on chance to be involved in their child’s educational needs. An example is a 5-day rule that stipulates that parents of the special needs child be given all documents about their child’s assessment and the IEP document, which outlines all the services the child needs.

Can parents sign an IEP (individualized education plan) if they don’t agree with the document?

No, they don’t!

One crucial aspect of implementing IEP’s is parental consent. Maryland respects the parent’s decision, and if as a parent, you don’t agree with the information in the IEP document, you aren’t mandated to sign. Refusal to give consent would stall any actions or help rendered to your child.

Usually, there’ll be another meeting of the main actors in the IEP team where you could object to all parts of the IEP document you had a problem with. Depending on how the meeting goes, you would either sign the IEP document or not. If you don’t, your child won’t be eligible for the IEP special needs student.


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NEXT STEPS…

Share your story with the community. Click here to contact us about doing a SETH TALK.

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External Resources

The Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF)

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Maryland Early Intervention and Special Education Services

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Maryland Preschool Special Education

Maryland Department of Education Division of Early Childhood