Happy New Year from Communication A to Z

Posted January 1, 2015 by communicationatoz
Categories: Uncategorized

Being a caregiver to a person with special needs has its’ own stresses and pressures. The pressure of making sure that the person(s) you are caring for are safe and receiving the things they need can be daunting. I often ask myself, “how can I best help the person I am serving, what can I do better to enrich their lives and the lives of everyone around them.” That is a question that we as caregivers will always ask. It is our primary job to meet the physical and/or emotional needs of the people we serve. People in this field know how rewarding making a difference in someone’s life can be. We also know how challenging and exhausting caring for people with special needs can be.
Being a person who cares for individuals with special needs can be taxing as we look at increased workloads, stressful environments and individuals who may demonstrate challenging behaviors. C. R. Figley described what is called “Compassion Fatigue” which is the “cost of caring” for others who cannot care for themselves. This can lead to emotional exhaustion, decreased empathy for the people in your care and in some cases… physical abuse. For you, it can eventually turn into depression and other stress related illnesses.
Signs of Compassion Fatigue are but not limited to:
  • Exhaustion
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Decrease ability to feel sympathy or empathy for the person we care about
  • Poor decision making
  • Inability to separate work from home
  • Reduced desire to come to work and help those around you
So how can we prevent the stressors or “Compassion Fatigue?” The best way to take care of others is to make sure you take care of yourself.
  • Find outlets or hobbies you can do to help reduce the pressures of the job or caring for that special person
  • Recognize your needs
  • Take a break when you start feeling overwhelmed
  • Make plans to get away or just hang out with some friends for a laugh
  • Know what you have and do not have control over
  • Work out or even try meditation, yoga or breathing exercises
  • Find a balance between taking care of yourself and others to make sure you don’t forget your needs
Make sure you take a few minutes each day to do your own personal inventory of what you need to keep you balanced and ready to meet the challenges of caring for the people in our charge. Give yourself a pat on the back and know that you make a difference in someone’s life. Most importantly… know that you make a difference in your own life. Remember to be good to yourselves and the rest will take care of itself.
Wishing you every happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year. Thank you for being our customer. We look forward to continuing our relationship in the coming year.
All the best to you and your family,

Carla Walden
Communication A to Z 

What are Social Stories

Posted February 24, 2013 by communicationatoz
Categories: Social Stories

Asking Others To Play "Social Story"

Asking Others To Play “Social Story”

What Are Social Stories

I Will Follow the Rules

Social stories are the visual representation of situations or events that happen in our lives.  Modeling is a powerful tool to teaching children on the autism spectrum, children with communicative disorders as well as other disabilities that affect their ability to understand abstract information.  The story helps depict some particular social skill, life skill or behaviors that are acted out using visual strategies of symbols, pictures and verbal instruction.  These strategies take a concrete approach to learning to help the individual understand what is being said, how they should react and how to recognize situations that occur that they may be struggling with.

What is a good social story?

A good social story will focus on a particular event that provides information to a social, emotional, behavioral, or everyday life skill event.  This can include trips to the store, how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, meeting new people, playing appropriately with others as well as appropriate manners at the table, in community settings or when becoming frustrated or angry.

Social stories should address:

  • Confusing situations for children with autism such as social situations.  They should provide details and information that creates a concrete understanding of abstract thoughts.
  • It should explain how to react to certain situations and the expected behaviors they should engage in during these events.
  • A social story will explain the consequences to unwanted actions and what could happen if they engage in those inappropriate behaviors.
  • Social stories can even explain simple things like everyday life skills such as going to the bathroom and why it is important.  Many of our children struggle in this area.
  • A social story can explain the actions of others and how they should react in those situations such as when someone tries to get you to do something you know is wrong, teases you, or doesn’t want to play with you.  Situations like these are difficult for individuals with poor social skills and creating that concrete understanding helps them develop the coping skills needed to address these situations in everyday life.

Social stories provide a concrete form of learning that is a role model for appropriate behavior.  It creates a main character in a story that allows the child to identify with the story and the strategies they use to respond appropriately to situations they may struggle with in life.  Providing an individual with special needs a solid form of learning everyday life skills is a great way to improve their ability to be more independent and successful in life.

The State of California and New Elder and Dependent Abuse Changes as of 2013

Posted February 4, 2013 by communicationatoz
Categories: Uncategorized

Check out the link to for more information.  We will be providing training in this area to all the homes we serve and will be posting more information later this week in regards to what this all means


About Communication A to Z

Posted February 1, 2013 by communicationatoz
Categories: Uncategorized

We believe that every person has the right to the same opportunities regardless of their disability.  We specialize in teaching communication  and skill development in a positive environment that promotes the skills individuals need to become more productive and independent in life while reducing or eliminating existing challenging behaviors.  We work with individuals of all ages and developmental needs in school, home and residential facility’s.


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