Category Archives: Uncategorized

The person I am supporting is disruptive! What are my options?

“Jenny has been providing support to her aunt’s daughter for the past 3 years. Although she has Autism, ADHD, a seizure disorder, and some sensory challenges, Megan has been pretty easy to support overall. There were days, like we all have, when Megan just simply didn’t want to engage in activities, not hear certain sounds, not wear certain materials, or even eat certain foods; but again, overall Megan was pretty easy to support. That is until she just randomly started hitting walls, attempting to bite me or our new house guest, run out of the house, and just more clingy than usual. Our new house guest, Shawn, has severe Cerebral Palsy and requires alot of my attention, so this causes Megan to have to wait longer in order to gain my attention. I don’t know what happened. It’s like she snapped!”

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“My name is James and I have Autism. I have been studying for a long time to get my driver’s license. Last week, I got into trouble at work because I hit someone. I just want a car I can go see my friends when I want to. I don’t understand why people lie to me. I was told I can get my license, but now this man won’t sign my paperwork and this other lady is saying it isn’t safe for me to drive because I get so mad. There is no reason for me to try to do anything anymore. People always lie to me.”

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Scenarios like the ones posted above happen every day to people across the world. There are many loving family members and Support Professionals that don’t quite understand what changed and how they can fix it. These wonderful people have tried responding to every concern, giving their loved ones treats, and even have tried ignoring behaviors, but the issues are still present.

In the first scenario, what do you think is the problem? Is there a problem? What about the second scenario? We can discuss these in more depth on the LEAF Facebook page.

I want to briefly discuss a little bit of what I do. So as many of you know, I am the Chief Operations Officer for Community Direct Services. Earlier this year, I became endorsed as a Positive Behavior Support Facilitator in the state of Virginia. I have been providing professional supports to people with Autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities since 2011, but this is a new credential under the belt (YAY ME!) Ok, so PBS is basically ” a set of research-based strategies used to increase quality of life and decrease problem behavior by teaching new skills and making changes in a person’s environment. Positive behavior support combines:

As a result of me becoming endorsed, I will be able to provide supports to people like Megan, James, and other recipients of the Virginia Medicaid Waivers.

If you are interested in receiving more information or scheduling a free consultation, click here . If you are interested in employment with CDS, click here

As always, thanks for stopping by the Executive Corner and I look forward to serving you. ~Namaste

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Keep our “au-some” friends in mind while trick or treating!

Halloween Tips for Kids with ASD

  • Create a picture story of what Halloween is like for your child. Be sure to include some pictures or drawings. This will help your child prepare for the day’s activities and it can eliminate anxiety.
  • Do not wait until the party of trick or treating to show the costume to your child. Doing so can result in anxiety and even some meltdowns. Be sure to try on costumes before Halloween. If the costume is uncomfortable, it may cause unnecessary distress and ruin their fun.
  • Don’t make your child wear the costume if they don’t like it. Instead, talk about the situation with your child and try to discover why they don’t like it. After a talk with your child, they may get used to the costume. Have them wear it for short periods of time and at increasing intervals over time.
  • Consider a Halloween costume that fits over your child’s regular clothes, such as butterfly wings or capes; you know your child best and masks may not work.
  • Practice going to a neighbor’s door, ringing the bell or knocking on the door and receiving candy.
  • Know your child’s limits and do only what he or she can handle. For example, if your child is not comfortable trick-or-treating, you can start by going to three houses. Assess how your child is doing and build up to more houses or end it.
  • Take your child to an activity in the community, such as a school festival or a neighborhood party where the child is already comfortable and knows people. This will ensure they are comfortable and still get a chance to celebrate the occasion.
  • Partner with family and friends that your child likes. This will make it fun for you and your child.
  • If you are giving out candy at your home, give your child the option to give a piece of candy. During the day, practice greeting people and giving out candy; this can help build social skills.
  • If your child is afraid of going out at night, plan indoor or daytime Halloween activities. Never force your child to participate in activities if it will cause a meltdown or anxiety. licensed-counselor-marion-il-creative-mind-solutions-feature-4

Here we “grow” again…..

Hey there #teamleaf! It has been some time since I’ve stopped to chat with you on this platform. Hopefully you’ve been following us on our Facebook page. So much has happened over the past few months. Soooooooo, let’s back up a minute….as you may recall, I  relocated from Maryland to Virginia Beach last fall. Two VERY different places, but I have come to enjoy not sitting in traffic jams on I-495 & I-270. I still visit often (because deep down I really love the traffic..ha!).

LEAF has joined forces with a wonderful organization in Virginia Beach, Community Direct Services (CDS), and as a result so many families have access to many more services. I serve as the Chief Operations Officer at CDS, and also recently became credentialed as a Positive Behavior Support Facilitator for the state of Virginia. We do accept clients that are Waiver recipients and those with medicaid (with prior authorization). If you are interested in learning more about Behavior Consultation, click here  or all me at (757)965-4899. At CDS, we offer many other services such as Personal Care, Respite, Companion, and Sponsor Residential Services. If you are interested in learning more about these services, click here.

As you may or may not know, LEAF started as a tutoring agency in 2011. Over the years, I have kept MY love for teaching, but have made it a priority to ensure that the professionals that provide direct care services for our “au-some” friends are highly trained and remain in compliance with the state of Virginia. At CDS, we have also continued to provide training opportunities to families so that they are able to better support their loved ones. Some of those training topics include behavior support, IEP preparation, an introduction to Autism, and person centered practices. A new service coming under the LEAF program is Doula services. That’s right! Yours truly will begin offering support to expectant mothers that have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, or are expecting to give birth to children with developmental disabilities. As a certified Doula, I will be able to not only support expectant mothers through the life changing process of childbirth, but I will also be able to utilize my years of experience in the special education field during the postpartum period to help new families understand their rights, milestones that their child may encounter, and serve as a liaison between medical professionals and the family.

These are only a few of the changes that we have happening over at #CDS headquarters. My days are spent providing support to our wonderful staff, supporting families, and seeking new ways to be of service. I would love to stay connected with you, and hope that you will check us out on Facebook . Until next time!IMG_0003581496925241302250815

1st Comes Awareness….Then Comes Acceptance!

As many of you know, the various families with Autism that I encounter are so dear to me. I truly feel that I connect with each family on a personal level and our interactions will never be the same; and for that, I am truly grateful. There have been a few changes this year! The biggest one is that I am now located in Virginia Beach and have collaborated with Community Direct Services, Inc. . That means more opportunities to help new families. This opportunity has already given me so many more ideas on how to merge services for families that start with LEAF while young and stay with us through adulthood. Community Direct Services picks up where LEAF ends. For more information on services for adolescents and adults on the Community Life Waiver and ECDC Waiver in Virginia, call (757)965-4899.

Also, LEAF has connected with a sister company in Maryland. That’s right, I have physically relocated, but my heart belongs in the #DMV area, and so do some of the services. LEAF’s sister company is CARAFAP . CARAFAP, founded by Dr. Amanda Carter, provides various services to individuals with special needs. They are located in Oxon Hill, MD, but serve various parts of Maryland and DC.

As a result of these collaborations, Dr. Amanda Carter and I thought it would be wonderful if families were able to come to one spot and get connected with various providers. Many families, especially those in the military, relocate often. Relocation is already tough, but when you add in the stress of having to find new providers, it can become a bit overwhelming. This resource that we have created is called “Verbal Pieces“. Verbal Pieces strives to provide successful matches to various resources through our mission, vision, & purpose.

Mission :
Verbal Pieces will create a safe haven that affords a nonthreatening environment, provides a high continuum of care, and minimizes [day to day adversities] for families of individuals with special needs.
Vision :
Verbal Pieces is designed to instill hope, value, & alignment in each individual to enhance & improve the quality of life. Verbal Pieces’ goal is to create omnipresence in the community at large by helping families build upon social skills, confidence, & self-esteem.
Purpose :
Verbal Pieces will provide comprehensive support & services to individuals with special needs. The purpose is to link these individuals to highly qualified community resources.

In our vision to create omnipresence in the community, Verbal Pieces will be hosting a Winter Holiday Dance on December 18, 2016. It will be held from 4pm-7pm at West Bowie Village Hall. For more information or questions, be sure to email verbalpieces@gmail.com or you can find us on Facebook. We have been spreading awareness for years and will continue to do so but, it is also time for acceptance. The dance is open to the public and we hope that we can fellowship with the community and shatter the myths & stigmas that typically come along with people that have special needs. The dance has an entry fee of $5 per person. I look forward to seeing you there.finaldanceflyer

Speechless……

Hey #teamleaf. I was having such a crappy afternoon……people weren’t responding to emails, traffic was a mess, a guy in the phone store angered me, my hand sanitizer exploded in the car…… I was far past annoyed. Well I went to pick up one of my au-some buddies so that we could go shopping and then head to dinner at his school. As soon as I arrived, my blues went away. We went shopping and he was conversing with anyone that would listen…..of course we ran into the occasional few that thought it was too much labor to smile and wave back….I was getting upset, but he smiled and waved at them anyhow….then he kept going…..my anger immediately subsided.

I’m now at a dance for my au-some friends and I’m so filled with emotion. I’m sure these children have faced all kinds of strange looks, whispers, and have even been ignored……yet they are here…..happy….and dancing the night away.  I’m often asked why am I in the #autism field when I’m not personally affected by it. I never have an answer and I still don’t….all I can say is that this is my purpose. My purpose is and will always be to spread acceptance and #autismawareness…..encourage families that feel on the edge to keep going. For whatever reason, God gave me this gift and on tonight I can only thank Him for it. I am so in love with my passion and it is my passion that reminds me that life is beautiful and it isn’t that bad! Parents of my au-some friends…..I stand with you……I may not understand your emotions, but I will gladly listen and not judge you for them.
Remember when you see a stranger waving and smiling that it could be one of my au-some friends……it will only take a second….but wave back. Also, remember…….people all over the world are facing worse things than you and I…..it’s not that bad
#autism #autismawareness #teamleaf #autism365

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Who Says Big Kids Can’t Dress Up…..

This weekend is one of the most exciting weekends of the year for kids all over. Our Au-some kids get pretty excited about dressing up as their favorite hero or community helper too. As parents of older kids on the spectrum, you may feel that your big kid is too old to dress up and go trick or treating. Well have no fear……your worries are over! Our program, #autism365 , and McDonald’s of Bureau Drive are hosting an Au-some Costume party.

Where: McDonald’s 83 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD
When:  (This) Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Time: 5-8PM

LEAF provides academic and behavioral interventions for youth ages 3 to 21, with special learning needs.
A percentage of funds raised between 5-8P will be donated to the program. #Autism365 provides FREE and
low cost workshops to families of Montgomery county.

Come in costume or not!

For more information, contact Whitney
King

http://www.learnwithleaf.com
https://www.facebook.com/learnwithleaf
Twitter: @learnwithleaf
IG: @learnwithleaf
240-245-7672
7529 Standish Place
Suite 200
Rockville, MD
20855

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Trick or Treating Tips for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

It’s that time of year! The leaves are beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. The wind is crisp and it is getting dark outside earlier each day. That means the holidays are approaching!! As the holiday season gets underway, we at LEAF want to share some tips that we’ve gathered to help make it a great occasion for every member of the family. Below are some tips to make sure that Halloween is a sweet treat for everyone.

Halloween Tips for Kids with ASD

  • Create a picture story of what Halloween is like for your child. Be sure to include some pictures or drawings. This will help your child prepare for the day’s activities and it can eliminate anxiety.
  • Do not wait until the party of trick or treating to show the costume to your child. Doing so can result in anxiety and even some meltdowns. Be sure to try on costumes before Halloween. If the costume is uncomfortable, it may cause unnecessary distress and ruin their fun.
  • Don’t make your child wear the costume if they don’t like it. Instead, talk about the situation with your child and try to discover why they don’t like it. After a talk with your child, they may get used to the costume. Have them wear it for short periods of time and at increasing intervals over time.
  • Consider a Halloween costume that fits over your child’s regular clothes, such as butterfly wings or capes; you know your child best and masks may not work.
  • Practice going to a neighbor’s door, ringing the bell or knocking on the door and receiving candy.
  • Know your child’s limits and do only what he or she can handle. For example, if your child is not comfortable trick-or-treating, you can start by going to three houses. Assess how your child is doing and build up to more houses or end it.
  • Take your child to an activity in the community, such as a school festival or a neighborhood party where the child is already comfortable and knows people. This will ensure they are comfortable and still get a chance to celebrate the occasion.
  • Partner with family and friends that your child likes. This will make it fun for you and your child.
  • If you are giving out candy at your home, give your child the option to give a piece of candy. During the day, practice greeting people and giving out candy; this can help build social skills.
  • If your child is afraid of going out at night, plan indoor or daytime Halloween activities. Never force your child to participate in activities if it will cause a meltdown or anxiety.

Print this blog post and pin it on your bulletin board at home and feel free to share these tips with parents and caregivers for kids with autism spectrum disorders.

autism pumpkin girl

If you have questions about LEAF Learning Center services & Parent Workshops, we welcome you to visit www.learnwithleaf.com or call us at (240)245-7672, Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm.

Who is Whitney King???

Hi guys! I want to take a moment and step back. There have been some new members of #teamleaf to join us on the blog quest and I want to reintroduce myself. For those that don’t know, my name is Whitney King. I am a Special Educator and the Executive Director of LEAF Learning Center in Rockville, MD. LEAF is geared towards providing academic and behavioral support for those with special learning needs and #Autism. I am a graduate of South Carolina State University  ‪#‎scstate_rys15 & Liberty University for my Masters Degree. I am the mother of two little ones that I truly adore. I love to do several things, but my love and passion for education will burn until forever. I really love when I am working with a student and they finally get the task done correctly and excitedly, with little to no help from me.

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The purpose of this blog is so that fans and followers of LEAF Learning Center can get to know me on another level and also get my insight on issues in the news. On the Facebook page (facebook.com/learnwithleaf ), we are mostly posting pictures, sharing videos, sharing content, and even discussing ideas. There really isn’t an appropriate time to discuss how I feel personally about different issues, so I decided to create my own corner of the world in order to get it done.  A majority of my topics will be related to #education, #autism facts & myths, & #autismawareness .  Once I make a blog post, there is space at the bottom where you can leave a comment. If you would love to be informed about LEAF news, please feel free to email us at theleaftutor@gmail.com or contact us on FB.

Become Aware of Autism TODAY……Steve Harvey & Fans !!!!

Another #autismawareness month is among us. Tomorrow is #lightitupblue day. This is a day that you will notice tons of people wearing blue, as well as government and other business buildings shinning blue light in support of the cause. LEAF is also taking this month to raise funds in order to help change many of the stigmas associated with #autism. Before I get into the details of the fundraiser, I want to take a moment and share some knowledge about Autism.

I and many others in America, heard the #shms (Steve Harvey Morning Show) on Friday, March 27. He was acting under one of his many characters when he made a joke about an adult person with special needs. I personally like Steve Harvey and I respect him as a businessman. When I heard the joke, I was more shocked than upset. I was surprised that a man with such class would make such a joke. In the days of social media, people in certain positions must be careful of jokes they tell. Although he is a comedian, he is also a talk show and game show host. He did offer what I thought to be “kind of an apology” later that day. There is also a video floating around from a mother that responded to Steve Harvey’s joke. Many are saying that the woman is being “too sensitive” and that she should “get a sense of humor”. This brings me to the point of this message today.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) states “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability  that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.” ( http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html  ) I was once asked if I thought that Autism was a disease. My answer now remains the same as it was back then. Autism is not a disease. It is a syndrome comprised of social and behavioral challenges that can possibly affect a person’s ability to learn certain information.

Children or adults with ASD might:

  • not point at objects to show interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over)
  • not look at objects when another person points at them
  • appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds
  • be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
  • repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
  • have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
  • repeat actions over and over again
  • lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using)

These are a just a few of the many struggles people with Autism face daily. I don’t think the woman that contacted Steve Harvey overreacted at all. None of us know what she struggles with on a daily basis. The thing about Autism is that it varies in each person,. No two people are the same or display the same behaviors. I thought his joke was tasteless & I hope to continue to hear him on the radio for the respectable man that he is.

Many children on the spectrum do not have opportunities to engage in the community or simple leisure activities, such as swimming or even going to the zoo, because of behavioral difficulties that they face; nevermind them going to church because of the stares they may receive or even end up being the subject of a bad joke. Many times, family members are not able to handle these unpredictable behaviors out in public. LEAF Learning Center is expanding services to be able to provide opportunities to youth on the Autism Spectrum. In order to better provide these services, LEAF will need help from all of our supporters and beyond. We are raising funds so that we can purchase a 15 passenger van in order to transport the children and staff safely in the community. We have candles and other items available at http://www.celebratinghome.com/fundraiser/teamleaf/OnlineFundraiserHome.aspx . We are also accepting donations for those that do not wish to purchase an item, but want to help make a difference at https://fundly.com/here-we-grow-teamleaf .

We are all put on this earth together to help one another. Make a difference today so that we can show Mr. Harvey & others that may agree with his humor that these children are as deserving of enjoying life and activities just like anyone else. For more information, please feel free to connect with us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/learnwithleaf or visit the website http://www.learnwithleaf.com

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On this Sunday evening, I would like to

On this Sunday evening, I would like to thank each and every one of you that follow Loose LEAF. I’m sure that if you have followed us from the beginning, you have witnessed our growth and relocation. Loose LEAF is currently located in Maryland and serves students in Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties. Don’t fret Rock Hill, SC….we will be back soon! We provide in home academic interventions (tutoring) to help students stay on track or even get ahead in school. Loose LEAF also works with homeschooling families to maintain school records and IEP documents. Be sure to stay tuned as Director, Whitney Woodberry, keeps social media abreast of her personal insights and opinions regarding educational matters. If there is something that you want to discuss or want her to address, email theleaftutor@gmail.com
http://ow.ly/i/6SSio