Categories
Bridges Blog Series: Next Steps November, 2021

Next Steps November: Nurturing (Yourself)

It’s November, and the leaves aren’t the only things changing. We settled into the school routine, and the holiday season is gearing up. November is a great time to create bridges between our current realities and the futures we seek, so these are the topics we will explore this month:

  • November 2: Navigating (Your Future)
  • November 9: Networking
  • November 16: Niche (Finding Yours)
  • November 23: Nurturing (Yourself)
  • November 30: Nurturing (Yourself)

In this fifth installment of our “Next Steps November” series, we discuss Nurturing (Yourself) – why it is important and how to make it a strength for you.

What is Nurturing (Yourself) and Why is It Important?

Nurturing yourself involves taking the time and energy to focus on yourself and your needs. These days, it is easy to get wrapped up in external activities and lose track of what makes you happy.

Of course, not having homework and chores would be great, but nurturing yourself doesn’t mean running away from your responsibilities. Instead, it’s about making sure that you take care of yourself while you are taking care of your responsibilities.

Nurturing yourself helps to keep you physically and mentally healthy. While it can be tempting to just charge through day after day, you might find yourself feeling drained. This feeling can keep getting worse unless you put yourself on your to-do list and prioritize yourself.

How Do I Start Nurturing Myself?

Step back and breathe

The first step in finding what you need is to take a break from your busy life – even for just a few minutes. Put aside your homework and leave your chores undone. Turn off distracting media; just sit with yourself for a few minutes.

Identify what you need

What comes into your mind? What sounds good and relaxing? This can include a variety of things:

Activities

  • Meditation, Yoga
  • Sports
  • Running, walking
  • Creating art, knitting
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Singing, dancing
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Cooking, baking
  • Gardening
  • Many others

Entertainment

  • Movies and TV
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Attending live performances

Food

  • Special/favorite dishes
  • Special/favorite treat or beverage
  • Favorite restaurant

Make the time you need

After you identify what nurtures you, you need to make certain you take the time to do it. Consider scheduling a time for you; put nurturing yourself on your to-do list. This could be every day, three times a week, or anything or schedule that fits into your life.

Alternatively, make a list of what nurtures you, and go to it when you feel stressed or overwhelmed. Pick one of your choices and do it. Nurturing yourself not only helps you at that moment, it also makes you stronger and more ready to meet your responsibilities and achieve your goals.

Where Can I Find Out More?

The professionals at the Free Bridges Helpdesk eagerly await the opportunity to serve you. Please feel free to contact us anytime, including holidays and weekends. We are here to support you!

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Bridges Blog Series: Next Steps November, 2021

Next Steps November: Note-taking

It’s November, and the leaves aren’t the only things changing. We settled into the school routine, and the holiday season is gearing up. November is a great time to create bridges between our current realities and the futures we seek, so these are the topics we will explore this month:

  • November 2: Navigating (Your Future)
  • November 9: Networking
  • November 16: Niche (Finding Yours)
  • November 23: Note-taking
  • November 30: Nurturing (Yourself)

In this fourth installment of our “Next Steps November” series, we discuss Note-taking – why it is important and how to make it a strength for you.

What is Note-taking?

Note-taking can exist in many forms. For the purpose of this Free Bridges Transition Tip, Note-taking is the process of:

  • Determining what information is important
  • Capturing that information efficiently and effectively
  • Ensuring that you will be able to access your notes whenever you want to do so

Why is Note-taking Important?

Note-taking provides individuals with a tool to access important information long after the information is no longer being presented. Some individuals can memorize information well, but note-taking is still an important skill for them because the raw content of the information is only part of the picture. Facts and data are great to have, but the ability to compare and contrast information grows more and more important throughout our school years and into adulthood. By adding note-taking to your skillset, you increase the accuracy of your memory recollection and you provide yourself an efficient tool to discern relationships between facts and figures.

Note-taking can also help pay attention to presentations and improve your memorization process. The very act of taking notes engages you with the presentation, and your memory of the presentation can be triggered when reviewing the notes you have taken. Sadly, neither of these benefits are available by reviewing notes other people took.

How Should I Take Notes?

Note-taking strategies can vary based on individual strengths and needs as well as on the purpose of the note-taking, itself. Here are some examples:

Do your homework

Typically, in a classroom setting, there is a topic for the lesson of the day. You may have been assigned reading to do, and there may be an outline of the lecture or, at least, a vocabulary list.

  • As you read assigned passages for homework, make note of headings, sub-headings, and vocabulary words.
  • Put these into an electronic file that you can use during the upcoming lecture.
  • This will help you organize your notes and allow you to make certain that your spelling is correct (so that you may focus on the lecture and not on spelling).

Use any resources provided before the presentation

Whether in school, on the job, or at another kind of presentation, there are often materials used during the presentation (like PowerPoint slides) or handed out at the presentation (like guided notes, outlines, etc.).

  • Before the presentation, politely request accessible electronic versions of all materials used during the presentation.
  • Even if you cannot get accessible electronic versions, get what you can. Please feel free to contact the Free Bridges Helpdesk for tools and strategies to make inaccessible paper or electronic documents accessible for you.
  • Review these materials; they will show you the important highlights of the presentation.
  • Consider creating a note-taking template based on the materials. Using accessible electronic documents, you can create the presentation outline. By using this document as an outline, you can better focus on the presentation, and you should have more time to take any additional notes you need (and to highlight important parts of the outline).

Listen for clues of importance

Speakers often use verbal and visual clues to stress the importance of certain parts of their presentations. For the visual clues, consider asking the speaker to also include verbal clues (such as: “I am pointing to this word.” “I am underlining this word.” “This word is blinking on the PowerPoint.” Here are some verbal clues that a word or phrase is important:

  • Repetition
  • Change of voice (pitch, tone, etc.)
  • Raising one’s voice
  • Speaking more slowly

How Do I Know If I Am Taking Notes Well?

This is a great question, and it will take time to answer. The key to good note-taking is that it works for you. In addition to asking your peers, teachers, and/or parents about the quality of your note-taking, consider whether your notes are helping you achieve your goals:

  • When you study for tests, does the information in your notes make sense?
  • Do tests or quizzes contain items that are unfamiliar to you?
  • Are you feeling more confident about the subject?

Where Can I Find Out More?

The professionals at the Free Bridges Helpdesk eagerly await the opportunity to serve you. Please feel free to contact us anytime, including holidays and weekends. We are here to support you!

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Teen Blog

Programs Newsletter Nov21

News from IMAGE Teen and Young Adult Programs November, 2021
Highlights
Always THANKFUL for our families!
This time of year we are always mindful to reflect on what we are most thankful for. At IMAGE we know that our Teen and Young Adult programs could not thrive without the support of our families. It is our families who take the time to register for sessions, drive to programs and commit to extending our curriculum at home and beyond. In these busy weeks ahead don’t forget to take a few moments to consider what you and your family are grateful for. As always we are beyond appreciative of all of the ways that our families work to support our programs including the sharing of social media posts, spreading the word to family and friends about our programs, giving kind feedback to favorite instructors, as well as contributing to our Annual Giving Tuesday campaign and our daily Sponsor a Student drive. Together we can continue to grow, to reach more students, to support more families and make a difference in our community.
Giving Tuesday Campaign Announcement. Connect program participants pose during a food drive event. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3Cw2LAo
Caption: Image of Connect Program Participants smiling and posing together during a Thanksgiving Food Drive.
http://weblink.donorperfect.com/IMAGEgivingtuesday2021
Peer Mentor Spotlight

Cartoon Sticky Note that says "Next Time".
Fall Application is CLOSED! Applications for students wishing to become Peer Mentors for the Fall session of the Connect program have now closed!
Interested in applying for Peer Mentorship?
Application will reopen this winter! Stay tuned!
Questions? Email Jessica Leone at Jleone@imagemd.org
Caption: Post it Note with the writing “Next Time”.
Celebrating Fearless Moments
At IMAGE we encourage our teens and young adults to step outside of their comfort zone to reach their greatest potential. One way that we do that is by reminding students that is okay to be unapologetically themselves, fearless of who they are and what others may or may not think of them. We hope this month’s celebration of fearlessness past and present inspires you to celebrate yourself and all that you contribute to the world around you!
Here is to being FEARLESSLY you today!
A Connect Program Participant Working with the Aide of her Personal Assistant and Towson U Student Intern to utilize her communication device during a Connect Program event.
Connect Program Participant Ellie Smith working with a Towson University Student Intern and Personal Aide to use her communication device during a Connect program session.
Utilizing a communication device a Connect Program participant makes her voice heard during a Connect Program Session! Go Ellie!
Upcoming Events
Two hands connecting two separate puzzle pieces. The Connect Program
THE FALL SESSION IS FULL!!! Stay tuned for future session registrations.

October 19th 6-7pm (Virtual)November 2nd 6-8pm (In-Person)November 16th 6-7pm (Virtual)November 30th 6-8pm (In-Person)December 14th 6-7pm (Virtual)December 28th (In-Person)

The Connect Program is a program that empowers teens and young adults with disabilities to step outside of their comfort zone, make connections with their community, build social experiences and recognize and achieve skills needed for increased independence in adulthood. These skills include money management, time management, social and communication skills, personal hygiene, meal planning and decision making skills just to name a few.

Contact jleone@imagemd.org learn more.
Click here to Register
PreETS Self Awareness and Self Advocacy Training Program
Registration now open for sessions starting in November!

Want to be referred for this program?Contact Jessica Leone jleone@imagemd.org for information
The Self Awareness & Self Advocacy Training program through DORS is a five week program utilizing curriculum designed to empower teens with disabilities to explore areas of self awareness and promote the importance of self advocacy to enhance the overall independence and vocational opportunity of each student. During this program students will work with professional staff from The IMAGE Center to begin to engage in curriculum addressing Self Awareness & Advocacy, Disclosing Disability, Rights, Future Outlook, Transition Outlook and Utilizing Resources.
Contact jleone@imagemd.org learn more.
IMAGE 1: Two Hands connecting puzzle pieces.
IMAGE 2. Displays of work done by PreETS students recalling “What is Self Advocacy”?
Maryland Rehabilitation Conference Logo for November 18 & 19th expo at the Sheraton @ Towson
Support Youth Programs at The IMAGE Center
plant growing in cupped handsSponsor a Student Today!
Caption: Two hands holding a growing plant.
Connect with The IMAGE Center
www.imagemd.org | 410-982-6311
Categories
Bridges Blog Series: Next Steps November, 2021

Next Steps November: Niche (Finding Yours)

It’s November, and the leaves aren’t the only things changing. We settled into the school routine, and the holiday season is gearing up. November is a great time to create bridges between our current realities and the futures we seek, so these are the topics we will explore this month:

  • November 2: Navigating (Your Future)
  • November 9: Networking
  • November 16: Niche (Finding Yours)
  • November 23: Note-taking
  • November 30: Nurturing (Yourself)

In this third installment of our “Next Steps November” series, we discuss how to find your “Niche” – your place in the world.

What is a Niche?

The OxfordLanguages/Google dictionary defines “niche” as “a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.” More specifically, a “niche” is a situation or environment that “fits” a person’s skills, talents, and desires.

A niche tends to be highly individualized and geared toward a particular person, but there are many areas of a person’s life, and one can develop niches in more than one area of life.

Why Is It Important to Find My Niche?

Choice. Finding your niche is a result of you making choices that fit you, not necessarily following patterns set by others.

Up to now, most of your life, at least the life you remember, has been spent in school. Most of that time has been spent in classes you didn’t choose; they are classes everyone is taking. This starts to change when you get to choose electives in high school, and it keeps changing from there.

After high school, you will be in charge of more and more choices: further education versus employment, and what kind of education or employment you will pursue. These are very important decisions because they will help determine what you will do in your adult life.

You will almost certainly spend many more years working than you did as a student in school. It is worth spending some time now to decide where you want to spend your time as an adult.

How Do I Go About Finding My Niche?

As noted above, niches are very individualized, so it can be helpful to really examine what is special about you.

  • What do you like?
  • What do you like to do?
  • What would you like to be able to do (even if you cannot right now)?
  • What do you dislike, and why? Would you like it more if you could change it or your skills?

To explore these questions, it can be helpful to consider this question: “What If You Had a Magic Lamp?” With this magic lamp, you can wipe out current obstacles to your dreams. Begin without limits (disabilities, finances, etc.). Focus on your interests, your skills, your dreams. Don’t let “reality” encroach in just yet.

Next, explore WHY these are your dreams. Why do these activities sound good? What about the activity fills you with joy, with energy, with purpose?

Once I Have Found My Niche, What Do I Do Next?

Now, we can bring “reality” into the conversation. What are the current obstacles that separate you from your magic lamp dreams?

Skills

  • Do you need more skills to get there?
  • Do you know how to get those skills?

Finances

  • How can you get funding to get the skills you need?
  • If your magic lamp dream job doesn’t yet exist, how can you make it into a job, OR what kind of paying job can you do while pursuing your dream outside of work?

Disability concerns

  • Are there parts of your dream job that “require” physical traits you do not have and cannot change?
  • If yes, are there similar jobs that you COULD do. For example, current technology does not allow a blind person to perform neurosurgery, but blind individuals CAN pursue employment in the area of neurology, including in research, patient care, management, etc.

Make your dream come true

  • Many “jobs” that exist today didn’t exist 30, 20, or even ten years ago. Advances in technology and changes in lifestyle create new job opportunities. Today, there are jobs waiting to be filled in the areas of technological accessibility and cybersecurity. More and more, people are seeking help from talented chefs and other individuals who can share new ideas with them. Tap into your talents and remain ready to move with the times.
  • Turn your passion into profit: From micro-entrepreneurship (Etsy shops, Patreon accounts, etc.) to social media influencers, people are pursuing their passions and finding ways to make a living doing what they love to do.

Get more information

  • Don’t stop exploring. In every field, there are many jobs that might not be obvious from the outside. For example, a high percentage of law school graduates end up in non-attorney jobs, including business, non-profit, and education-related positions. “After the JD” Study Shows Many Leave Law Practice. These individuals still use the skills they learned in law school, but they are not practicing law in traditional ways. Talking with attorneys and individuals in other fields can help you understand what kinds of opportunities are out there.
  • Connect with potential mentors; check out last week’s Bridges Blog, Networking, for details.
  • Contact the Free Bridges Helpdesk; we are eager to help!

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Bridges Blog Series: Next Steps November, 2021

Next Steps November: Networking

It’s November, and the leaves aren’t the only things changing. We settled into the school routine, and the holiday season is gearing up. November is a great time to create bridges between our current realities and the futures we seek, so these are the topics we will explore this month:

  • November 2: Navigating (Your Future)
  • November 9: Networking
  • November 16: Niche (Finding Yours)
  • November 23: Note-taking
  • November 30: Nurturing (Yourself)

In this second installment of our “Next Steps November” series, we discuss how to engage in “Networking” to build your system of supports as you move forward on your journey.

What is Networking?

While there are many definitions of networking, this article focuses on networking as a means of gathering information and people to help you make decisions in your life.

Networking involves intentional communications with others as you build relationships with individuals in areas of mutual interest. These areas might be career-oriented (law, education, business, etc.), disability-specific (blindness/low vision, other areas of disability), recreation-oriented (sports, gaming, crafts, etc.), or lifestyle-oriented (living alone or with a non-family roommate, cooking in versus eating out, big-city versus small-town or rural living, etc.).

Why is Networking Important?

Networking gives you access. People in your network can help you discover information you didn’t know existed. Or they can help you connect your needs to seemingly unrelated resources. You can also collaborate with individuals in your network to develop ideas that no one individual has; in doing so, you can make real the saying, “All of us are smarter than any of us.”

What is the Key to Networking?

The most important, and sometimes hardest, facet of networking is building mutually-beneficial relationships. While it’s fine to get information once and move on, networking involves much more than that. Networking often results in mentor-mentee relationships, and these relationships can last for years. Also, even if you are a young person networking with professionals in a certain field, know that you can, and should, be contributing to the relationship.

How Can I Start Networking?

Free Bridges Helpdesk

Reaching out to the Free Bridges Helpdesk is a great step in networking. We can help you find the information you need immediately, and we can also show you how we found these resources. Put another way, we will “give you a fish” AND “teach you how to fish.”

We also have great connections with blind/low vision individuals in many professions, with varied interests, and of different ages. We are also eager to connect you with networking resources related to your interests (both career and personal) that are not directly related to blindness/low vision.

Blindness/low vision-related resources

APH CareerConnect

APH CareerConnect is “an employment information resource offered by the American Printing House for the Blind for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired. CareerConnect provides employment information, career exploration tools, and job seeking guidance for individuals with vision loss and the professionals who work with them.”

Blog: CareerConnect Blog

Explore Careers for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Find a Job As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Succeed at Work

National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) “is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940 and currently headquartered in Baltimore, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in all fifty states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.” “Through our network of blind members, we coordinate many programs, services, and resources to defend the rights of blind Americans, provide information and support to blind children and adults, and build a community that creates a future full of opportunities.”

“We are the only organization that believes in the full capacity of blind people and has the power to transform our dreams into reality. We believe in blind people because we are blind people—from our democratically elected leaders to our diverse nationwide membership.”

NFB’s headquarters are located in Baltimore, Maryland.

NFB Career Mentoring

NFB Divisions

NFB Committees

NFB Groups

NFB State Affiliates

American Council of the Blind

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) “was founded in 1961 but many of its state affiliates and local chapters have a history that can be traced back to the 1880s.” and “is comprised of approximately 70 state chapters and special-interest affiliates representing a diverse range of groups within the blind community, including students, families, teachers, attorneys, governmental employees, entrepreneurs, vending stand operators and the LGBTQ community.” “During its nearly 60-year history, ACB has become a leader in national, state, local and even international advocacy efforts.”

ACB’s mission is “To increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people.”

ACB headquarters are in Alexandria, Virginia.

ACB Special Interest Affiliates

ACB Professional Employment Associations

ACB Peer Support and Mentoring Resources

ACB State Affiliates

Other resources

Professional associations

Many careers have professional associations, such as the American Bar Association for attorneys, the American Medical Association for physicians, etc. These groups provide individuals involved in these professions opportunities to network with others. These groups are also great sources of information for individuals seeking information about the profession and wanting to connect with working professionals to find out more about the career. Please reach out to the Free Bridges Helpdesk for more information.

College alumni groups

Many colleges, including community colleges, have career development offices. Most also have alumni groups, and they are happy to connect students with individuals who have graduated and are working.

Individual interest groups

Interest groups are great resources for networking. Whether you want to connect with fellow Minecraft enthusiasts, marathon runners, book clubs, or other interests, you can probably find like-minded people happy to become part of your network. Please reach out to the Free Bridges Helpdesk for more information.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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