Homemaking, Hopping, Hugs & More

May 16, 2024

On this last day of March, I’m reaching out to do my part for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.  Specifically, I want to celebrate the millions of people throughout the world who experience developmental disabilities, and to provide readers with some definition around several of the most common: 

1) autism spectrum disorders affect how individuals communicate, interact with others, and experiences the world

2) cerebral palsy affects movement, muscle tone, reflexes, posture, balance, and coordination

3) intellectual disability, a general term for cognitive impairments that affect a person’s ability to function in everyday life

4) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), causes difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, and

5) learning disabilities, affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, store and respond to information.

Developmental disabilities begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime. Because they are often “invisible,” people who don’t experience them can easily misunderstand them.  That’s why it’s so important to raise awareness about developmental disabilities and help people learn how I/DD impacts individuals, families and the communities in which we all live.

Here is more information on I/DD and a short video (below) that I encourage you to share with others long after March is over. We can support young adults with I/DD in a variety of ways, and it all starts with increasing our understanding of their abilities, goals and dreams:

Enjoy today’s newsletter, and thanks for being here. 

I believe we can recognize truth when we see it, just not at first and not without ever relenting in our efforts to learn more. This is because the goal we seek, and the good we hope for, comes not as some final reward but as the hidden companion to our quest.

― Madeleine Albright, RIP


Congratulations CODA!

What a thrill this week to hear “and the Oscar for Best Picture goes to…” CODA! Available for streaming on Apple TV, CODA is both heartwarming and heartbreaking — and clearly record-breaking, too. It is the first feature film with a predominantly deaf cast to win the prestigious Academy Award. Troy Kotsur is the first Deaf male actor to win Best Supporting Actor. CODA stands for “child of deaf adults.” I get choked up just watching the trailer. And I loved this PG-13 film. It will be re-released in theaters tomorrow for a limited run in over 600 locations, with open captions to be accessible to the Deaf and hard of hearing.


Hailing homemakers.

I also love hearing about people and places that are creating new ways to support young adults with disabilities who want to live meaningful and rewarding lives independent of their parents and immediate families.  Yellow House, in Vermont, illustrates what can be done when motivated parents pool their resources and creativity to build solutions for all.  What a beautiful concept that can hopefully be replicated elsewhere. If you are a parent, caregiver, educator or community activist interested in whether this concept might work where you live, I encourage you to learn more here about Yellow House and contact Executive Director Elisa Haydon.


Hopping ahead.

Four parents in Mississippi have spent the last five years building a new restaurant that will be the first in the state to employ and train individuals with disabilities.  After researching coffee shops and cafes in other parts of the country, they asked a simple question which might also be on your mind:  Why not here? Thus, the Lily Pad Café was born.  Set to open this summer, the café will be a stepping stone to growth for its employees and vocational trainees.  (Kind of like a lily pad!) Wish I lived closer.

pink lotus flower on water
Photo by Grant Setera on Unsplash

High in the sky.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently proposed new rules to require accessible restrooms on single-aisle aircraft. the majority of domestic flights utilize these types of airplanes, which are currently not required to make their bathrooms accessible for people with disabilities,

“Far too often, travelers with disabilities don’t have the opportunity to fly to their destinations because they can’t access the lavatories on most airplanes,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This rule would make airplane lavatories more accessible for passengers with disabilities, and bring us one step closer to the day when air travel is possible for everyone.”

Where will you fly next?


Hug it out.

While Covid is by no means “over,” the world is opening up and restrictions are being lifted that will help life feel more “normal” in many important ways.  Topping the list for me is a return to hugging.  Not only does it make us feel more physically connected to one another, but it also can help relieve stress, strengthen our immune systems, and promote happiness.  As we provide guidance to our loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it’s important to offer explanations for when hugging is and is not appropriate. After several years now of social distancing, young people with I/DD may need help re-evaluating the risks, benefits and appropriateness of hugging. How can you help them?

Another Normal is a free newsletter dedicated to helping families with disabilities bloom and thrive. Check out the archives for information and resources from previous issues.

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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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