Saturday, November 3, 2012

Independent Living Option: Life Sharing

What is Life Sharing? Life Sharing is a residential living program for people with developmental disabilities where they choose to live with a host family in their private home. It is an option for individuals who do not feel comfortable living on their own with staff support but who are looking for a more personal, family like environment with the host family.

Life sharing lets the disabled individual be independent from their natural family while still providing the nurturing a family environment provides. The family and the individual living with them meet life's challenges together, helping the individual who needs assistance to grow more independent with a personal support system in place.

Who can take part in life sharing? Adult individuals with special needs are matched with families who have been carefully screened for safe placement. There is an opportunity on both sides for everyone to get to know each other before deciding on a final placement. Weekends living with the potential host family is often available.

Is life sharing for you? Only you know the answer to that. As a host family you will be taking the individual into your home where they will become part of your family. I recommend talking to other families who are currently doing life sharing to get a feel for what it is like. Choose the organization doing the placement carefully, check with your local ARC and Department of Intellectual Disabilities (search for your county office) for companies providing Life Sharing Placement assistance. Your local Catholic Social Services or other religious social service organization may also be able to assist you. The key to successful Life Sharing is training for the host family and compatibility between the host family and the person with disabilities.

Think about becoming a host family. Many families find it is a great way to expand their family in a rewarding way.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Autism Lecture For Parents and Healthcare Professionals


Sometimes I post info that is of interest to parents of children/young adults who aren't yet at the stage of transitioning out of high school and into living on their own. This is one of those posts. CHOP in Philadelphia is having a lecture series that parents as well as healthcare providers can attend. This Distinguished Lecture series features the following speakers (my thanks to CHOP for providing the bios for the speakers.)

John Herrington, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory at the Center for Autism Research, and an Assistant Professor at Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the neurobiology of emotion, social processes, and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Much of Dr. Herrington's research focuses on the emotional experiences of individuals with ASD - a topic that is often overlooked by scientists and service providers alike. One of Dr. Herrington's research initiatives is to establish whether ASD and anxiety disorders (such as specific phobia and social phobia) share common neural mechanisms; if so, this may lead to significant changes in how we conceptualize and treat ASD.

Martin Franklin, PhD, is the Director of the Child/Adolescent OCD, Tics, Trichotillomania and Anxiety Group (COTTAGe) at the University of Pennsylvania. He has devoted his career to the study of anxiety and body-focused repetitive behaviors (such as chronic tic disorders and trichotillomania, TTM) in children and adults. His clinical and research careers have centered on these disorders, with a particular emphasis on developing and disseminating effective treatments. Dr. Franklin has published theoretical, clinical and empirical papers and chapters, as well as treatment manuals.

Judith Miller, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with ASD for the past 18 years. As the Clinical Training Director for the Center for Autism Research (CAR), she leads the team of psychologists who both conduct evaluations in our research clinic and train the next generation of ASD diagnostic experts. Her research interests focus on diagnosis and classification issues in ASD, including screening and early identification, behavioral phenotype research, and the study of ASD and comorbid conditions.

Individuals with ASD can become highly distressed when faced with transitions, can become tied to nonfunctional routines, and can develop unusual fears. Is this anxiety? When an individual with ASD experiences more "traditional" anxiety, like a phobia or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, is the clinical presentation the same or different compared to individuals without ASD? Can the neurobiology of anxiety disorders help us understand why anxiety occurs in ASD? This presentation will orient the audience to these important clinical issues facing individuals with ASD, and describe research underway at CAR to help understand this critical topic.
Note: Parking is in The Wood Garage, allow 10-15 walking time to get to location
Colket Translational Research Building, Rm 1200AB
3501 Civic Center Blvd.
Philadelphia PA 19104

When: Thursday, Nov, 8, 2012 7-9 PM EST
Event Contact:

Julianne Fretz
Center for Autism Research (CAR) at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia