Bells, Books & Believing

Apr 29, 2024

‘Tis the season to be grateful. I’m grateful for the chance to share information and resources each week to help young adults with disabilities bloom and thrive. I’m grateful for parents, caregivers and others who are committed to maximizing potential. And I’m grateful for this virtual community that’s forming to help support and enlighten one other. Thanks for being here.

Today’s issue wraps a challenging year with news to encourage and inspire. I hope this information gives you a new way to think about something, expanded optimism and sincere hope for the future.

Wishing you good health, happiness and beautiful blooming throughout your holidays and well into the year ahead.

I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite!

 Buddy the Elf

Gaily they ring.

We all know how important it is to support the passions of young adults of all abilities. John Travolta fans will be especially pleased to learn how his brother, Joey, does just this. A former special education teacher, Joey founded Inclusion Films to teach filmmaking to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The company’s emotional holiday production, “Carol of the Bells,” is the first feature film in which 70% of the cast and crew has a developmental disability. It’s available for free viewing here on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Note: “Carol of the Bells” contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all family members. 

Loving the sunshine state.

The pandemic has clearly hit everyone hard, especially those with disabilities. “I don’t think any of us are coming out of this the same,” said Dr. Yogi Hernandez Suarez, the mother of an adult son with autism and Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Florida International University (FIU). According to Suarez, “We need to think about how we want things to be after the pandemic, how we are each a member of a community and how we rely on each other.” FIU is leading real change in this area with its new EMBRACE program. Founded by Suarez and other parents and administrators at FIU, EMBRACE provides streamlined health care to adults aging out of the pediatric system, along with additional services like legal aid, police training, job placement and more. The program’s ultimate goal is to build community for people with developmental disabilities in South Florida and help them achieve their maximum potential. What a great model for other universities. 

Best. Gift. Ever.

Health care workers are lining up across the country this week to receive their first vaccine injection against Covid19. What a wonderful holiday gift this is! In many states, shots will soon be available to people with disabilities. Here’s a handy vaccine tracker to help you stay updated on vaccine distribution in your area. Meanwhile, please remain vigilant in the fight to contain this virus and protect those we love. Mask-up, stay socially distant, and wash hands regularly.

Under the tree.

Need a last minute gift or your own good read for 2021? Far from the Tree, by writer Andrew Solomon, is “a generous, humane and — in complex and unexpected ways — compassionate book about what it means to be a parent.” Solomon spent more than 10 years interviewing over 300 families of “exceptional children” to create a fascinating look at how we are influenced by our children (and vice versa), no matter and often because of how different from us they are. It’s a lot of pages, but you can jump around to different chapters based on your interests. I truly found value in virtually every word. No time to turn the pages? Check out the documentary on Netflix or Hulu instead. Praiseworthy indeed.

Interested in learning more about one-to-one coaching? Contact Kris for information on what this might look like for you, including outcomes, availability, fees and more.

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