The Arc Amplified Blog Cover 2

Welcome!

Welcome Post Cover The Arc Amplified

Welcome to The Arc Amplified!

The Arc Amplified is a new online publication and source for sharing stories of inclusion and belonging,
bold activism and local change-makers in action. The mission of this platform is to amplify diverse voices
and “good news” stories from within the disability community in Snohomish County and across the
region.



Do you have a story of inclusion you want to share?
Are you leading local advocacy efforts?
Has your family or loved one benefited from activities or programs in Snohomish County that are
designed to advance community inclusion?

We want to know! Email Whitney Stohr, Parent to Parent Coordinator, at whitney@arcsno.org or call
425-258-2459 x 106.

*

The Arc Amplified is an online publication of The Arc of Snohomish County.
Learn more about our mission and values at arcsno.org.

26. Holiday Shopping Guide Part 2 The Arc Amplified 1

A Holiday Shopping Guide for Medical Families & Parent Caregivers

Part 2 — For Caregivers

And… we are back with PART 2 of our 2021 holiday gift guide, developed with medical families, kids with disabilities and parent caregivers in mind.

This part of our gift guide focuses specifically on gifts for caregivers! We are talking about gift items that the moms, dads, kinship and all other family caregivers out there are sure to enjoy this holiday season. There are also ideas for families who have in-home nursing or respite support.

(If you are still in need of gift ideas for the kids in the family, check out PART 1 of the gift guide. It was previously posted on our blog at tinyurl.com/2s4be43e.)

TO: MOMS & MOM-FIGURES

  • A Quality Pair of New Shoes

Can we get a round of applause for arch supports?! Seriously, though… mom-caregivers are non-stop! The role they play in the family often means that they are on their feet. All. The. Time. And boy, can that make the old dogs bark! A new pair of quality shoes with good arch and ankle supports may be the perfect gift for the always-busy, mom-caregiver. Dansko and Berkenstock clogs are popular brands among family caregivers, as are traditional running/walking shoes.

 

  • Certificate for Housekeeping Service

Between medical management, personal care tasks, appointment scheduling, phone calls with doctors, and errands to pick up medications and other items… and all of that on top of any outside-the-home job… It is no wonder many caregivers feel like they are constantly running behind on basic house cleaning! A gift certificate for a good, deep cleaning service would be appreciated!

  • Mindfulness Cards GraphicMindfulness Cards

With all that there is to accomplish during the day, it is natural for parent-caregivers to feel exhausted, overwhelmed and anxious. Mindfulness practice strategies can help family caregivers clear their minds of stress and reestablish calm breathing. A simple pack of mindfulness cards or a journal can support the emotional wellbeing of mom-caregivers and encourage them to take a moment for self-care.

  • “Mom Coupons”

One gift moms always appreciate from their young kids are cute, handmade “coupons” entitling them to “One at-home manicure” or “One time cooking dinner” or some other home task. They are both thoughtful and adorable! (Shoutout to Alaina Kube, Parent to Parent Coordinator, for this suggestion!)

  • Electric Mug Warmer

Electric Mug Warmer graphicThere is a quip that goes: “How to Make Iced Coffee: 1. Have kids. 2. Make coffee. 3. Forget you made it. 4. Drink it cold.” It is both funny and true. That is why an electric mug warmer would be a much appreciated gift for the mom-caregiver you know and love.

  • Salon Day Gift Certificate

Parent-caregivers understand the struggle of carving out time in their schedules to take care of themselves. But, taking time for self-care and respite is important! Sometimes, even a simple haircut can make you feel completely rejuvenated. This holiday season, encourage mom-caregivers to take time for themselves with a gift certificate to their favorite, local salon.

  • A Standing Coffee Date

Schedule a year’s worth of coffee dates with your mom-caregiver friend. She may appreciate having a reason to get out of the house and spend an hour of adult time with a friend each month. Three cheers for that special mom-to-mom time with your girls! Amiright?!

TO: DADS & FATHER-FIGURES

  • Gift Certificate for “Maker” Classes or Workshops

A gift certificate for a “Maker” Workshop can make a great gift for dad-caregivers who like to tinker or make things with their hands. The SnoCo Makers is a group of local hobbyists and people interested in creating. They have a MakerSpace workshop in Everett. Not quite ready for in-person meet-ups? No problem! There are countless opportunities to get involved in maker workshops online.

  • Comfy Loungewear

When it comes to home-based caregiving, comfort is key! When shopping for a dad-caregiver, consider gifting him some comfy sweatpants or other loungewear. In addition to comfort-level, look for a quick-drying material in dark colors, because… you know — kids.

  • Quality, Dad-Kid Time

Giving a dad-caregiver some special, quality time with his child is a wonderful gift. Create a “day out” package for the duo with a gift certificate for lunch and a movie, bowling or some other fun activity you know they will both enjoy.

  • A Good Pair of Slippers

Who doesn’t love a good pair of comfortable slippers?! Of course, there are many options available for purchase online, but a pair with thick rubber soles provides dad-caregivers the extra traction they may need to respond to a busy toddler or an unexpected medical situation.

  • EcoTubie Stainless Steel Syringe graphicStainless Steel Syringe Set

For dad-caregivers of kids with feeding tubes, a fancy, stainless steel syringe or two can make a great gift. These are more environmentally friendly than your typical plastic syringes, can be cleaned and reused countless times, and free you from the worry of running short on your monthly allotment of feeding supplies.

  • A Relaxing Massage

Caregiving can take a significant, physical toll on the body. Every caregiver needs time to relax and work out the kinks.

  • A New “Go-Bag”

It is common practice for families of kids with serious medical diagnoses to keep a “go-bag” backpack with emergency medical supplies, medication lists and personal items for overnight hospital stays near the front door of their homes, or in the back seat of their cars. Having a medical bag handy can be life-saving! Giving a dad-caregiver a nice, new duffle bag or backpack to replace an old and well-used one is a thoughtful (not to mention, practical) gift. When shopping for go-bags, keep color in mind — consider family preference, but also the importance of the go-bag being readily identifiable by emergency personnel. (My family has an oversized, red backpack that we use as a go-bag.) Also, for many families, a rule of thumb is: the more pockets, the better!

               *Shoutout to Medical Dad Jason Hendrickson for some of these ideas!

TO: NURSE CAREGIVERS & HOME-HEALTH AIDES

  • Personalized Ornament

If your caregiver is someone who celebrates the Christmas holiday, the wide world of the internet offers many ornament options. There are ornaments for both home health-aides and nurses (and just about every other health professional you know!). If you order soon, you may have just enough time to have the ornament personalized with their name and still arrive before December 25th.

  • Lunch Box GraphicCute, Insulated Lunch Bag

In-home caregivers may pull long, ten- or twelve-hour shifts in your home. While they may place their lunch in the family refrigerator, a nice, insulated lunch box still makes a great gift.

  • A “Jar of Thanks”

This is a fun gift you can work on with your kids. Purchase a large, gallon-sized jar and a pack of cute notecards. Take time thinking about the times you were especially thankful to have your caregiver in your life. Write a short story on each card and place it in the jar. If you are feeling extra thankful, try writing a card of thanks for each day of the coming year.

  • A Meaningful Mug

Nurse Coffee Mug GraphicFor the caregiver who runs on coffee or tea, consider a warm beverage mug with a cute quote or meaningful print. Fill with tasty chocolates or hot cocoa packets and a candy cane for an extra dose of sweetness.

  • Something Unique, Sentimental or Handmade

There is nothing quite as touching as a gift given from the heart. If you are someone with a special skill (like quilting or knitting), then you have the ability to make the caregiver in your life a truly unique and one-of-a-kind gift. Another option for families who have grown exceptionally close with their in-home caregiver is to create a special scrapbook with family memories and photos that include the caregiver, or simply print one really special photo of your child and that caregiver and have it framed as a gift.

Happy holidays to everyone! Wherever you are, and however you celebrate, may this season bring a sense of calm and peace; joy, hope and light.

 

**********

Whitney Stohr is a Parent to Parent Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her three-year-old son Malachi and husband Jason in Lynnwood. Connect with her online at whitney@arcsno.org.

25. Holiday Activities Series Cocoa Bar

Fun, Family, Holiday Activities for Under $25 — A Series

Activity: Hot Chocolate Bar

 

What you need:

  • Hot Chocolate

Prices will vary depending on your preferred brand and type of hot chocolate. A simple 8-packet box of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate mix costs $2-3.

  • Marshmallows

A bag of regular mini marshmallows costs around $2, depending on where you shop. Marshmallow loving families may opt for the jumbo puffs, and those on a vegetarian/vegan diet can look for gelatin free options (or make your own!)

  • Candy Canes

A 12-pack of the traditional, red-and-white (peppermint) candy canes costs about $3, and you can often find them on sale at local grocery stores. You may opt for candy canes of different colors or flavors, or instead, choose a box of peppermint sticks or other minty candies.

  • Chocolate Chips

A bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips will cost about $4. Alternatives might include white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or Andes chocolate mints.

  • Whipped Cream

A spray can of Reddi-wip whipped cream also costs about $4.

  • Sauces

A drizzling sauce over cool whipped cream adds something special to a mug of hot chocolate. Fan-fav flavors include dark chocolate, white chocolate and caramel sauce. One bottle of good drizzling sauce can cost around $4.

  • Sprinkles

Top off your mug with your choice of sprinkles. A small bottle of the popular rainbow sprinkles will cost $2-3. There are many other options that can bring color and good fun to your Hot Chocolate Bar, including winter and Christmas themed sprinkles.

Other topping options include: Cinnamon sticks, course sea salt, toasted coconut, toffee bits, fruit jams or syrups, espresso powder, chili powder or puppy chow!

Prepare for fun!

1.  Create your Hot Chocolate Bar! Spread it out on the kitchen table and tell the kids to go to town. (Mom, dad or a big sibling can serve as the “official hot milk pourer”)

2.  Turn on a holiday movie, grab a winter themed puzzle, or just sit around the kitchen table together and enjoy the company (and the chocolate!)

3.  Go back for seconds… and thirds…

**********

Whitney Stohr is a Parent to Parent Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her three-year-old son Malachi and husband Jason in Lynnwood. Connect with her online at whitney@arcsno.org.

24. Holiday Shopping Guide Part 1 The Arc Amplified 1

A Holiday Shopping Guide for Medical Families & Parent Caregivers

 

The holiday season is here!

For those who have already completed their holiday shopping — congratulations! You are my personal inspiration.

For those of us, who were going about our regular business a few days ago, looked at the calendar and realized it was already December 1st… This one is for you! (You are amongst friends here!)

And, of course, for the in-betweeners: Those still looking for the “perfect” gift for that one amazing, family member — This is for you too!

I have compiled a list of gift options for everyone in the family.

This list — Part 1 — is all about the kids (including our adult kids)!

TO: OUR A-MAZING KIDS

  • Sound Puzzle ImageSound Block Puzzles

These block puzzles have knobs of varying sizes and a noise or song that plays when the puzzle piece is correctly matched. Puzzles are fantastic developmental tools, and the knobbed grips can support the adaptive needs of your child with a disability.

  • Cool, Adaptive Shoes

For kids who require extra shoe support or shoes that can stretch around AFO/orthotics, a cool pair of new shoes could be a hit. Billy Shoes are a great option for people of all ages who wear orthotics. They’re made right here in Washington and are now available for purchase at Target.

  • Weighted Blankets

They are comfortable and calming. This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves the feeling of being snuggled up and wrapped tightly. Weighted blankets are soothing and may help promote deep sleep.

  • Adaptive Art Supplies

Is there a budding artist in your midst? Maybe coloring and drawing are among your child’s IEP goals… Or, perhaps you have seen how art therapy benefits your child. Adaptive art supplies make fantastic gift items (and stocking stuffers!) for both little hands and hands that benefit from the added support of the adaptive design. Options include adaptive paint brushes, painting kits, color crayons, and more!

  • Scooter boardsPlastic Scooter Boards

The parents out there may remember these scooter boards from PE class in elementary school. They are loads of fun and just so happen to be a physical therapy tool in disguise. Scooter boards can help build gross motor skills and develop body coordination in multiple positions.

  • Indoor Mini Trampoline

Mini trampolines are a fun gift for all the high-energy kids out there! The best part: They are built to be indoors, which means — hello! — an ideal, rainy-day activity! Many different options are available, including those with balance bars for added stability.

  • Cube Chairs

Best suited for your preschool-sized kids, cube chairs are colorful, moveable, stackable seating options. They are low to the ground and light-weight, durable and easy to clean. A chair can be flipped on its side and used as a table. These are highly adaptable for household use, and provide solid back and trunk support for kids.

  • Sensory Swing

Sensory swings have long been used as therapy tools and are now widely available for home use. Swings can help develop core strength and stability. They provide vestibular input and are just… FUN! There are different style options out there, so shop around to find the best fit for your child.

TO: THE SUPER SIBS

  • Sibshop Book graphicBooks by Sibshops

Sibshops is a national program offering support for the siblings of children with disabilities. (The Arc of Snohomish County offers Sibshops for both the 8-12 and 13-18 age ranges. Visit our monthly calendar of events to register your child to attend an upcoming Sibshop.) The organization behind the national Sibshops program has published several books on what it means to be a “Sib” and all of the joys, challenges, fears and triumphs that exist alongside their sibling status. Order the books online at siblingsupport.org.

  • Monthly Outings of the Sib’s Choosing with Just Mom or Dad

Give your child the gift of time this year. Set a standing date on the calendar each month that is reserved for just you and your child. Spend the afternoon together and let them guide the activity. That focused time together is a gift for the both of you.

  • Overnight Trip

If you have the ability to get away for the night, give your child the gift of a fun-filled, overnight stay with either mom or dad — or both of you, if possible! Plan something that is of specific interest to your child. Take them to their favorite restaurant and pack a board game or puzzle for that evening at the hotel. Often, it is those special experiences that create a lasting memory.

  • Adventure Challenge Book GraphicPersonalized Adventure List

An “adventure” or “challenge” to-do list that includes various activities, games and sightseeing ventures is a gift that lives on past the holiday season. These to-do lists can present opportunities to carve out time for your child and you to check-off tasks, either individually in a parent-child pair, or as a whole family. While lists and books are available for purchase online, it can be fun to create a personalized list that honors your child’s interests and hobbies, as well as your family’s needs.

  • Hobby Gift

Has your child shown a special interest in a particular hobby over the past year? Do you share a special interest with your child? If so, consider a gift that might cultivate that interest, and — perhaps — is something you can do together. If you are a musician, maybe your child would like to take up an instrument so that you can play together. A gift of personalized baking supplies may lead to the two of you spending more time together in the kitchen. Are there complex LEGO sets that call for a combined parent-child effort? Hobby gifts can naturally create special moments to spend extra time together.

TO: OUR ADULT KIDS

  • 2022 Activity Planner

Is there any better time than now to set someone up for success in the New Year?! For those who still prefer a low-tech, paper-based calendar, the gift of a high-quality planner may be just the right choice. There are seemingly endless options out there, so consider what set-up might best suit your child’s daily life. Planners keep us all on track and are a daily exercise for our time management and executive functioning skills.

  • Adult Coloring Book GraphicAdult Coloring Books

Coloring books are fun for all ages! An adult coloring book and a simple set of colored pencils can provide a nice distraction during long wait times in doctor’s offices or during bus commutes to and from work. And it easily fits in a purse or backpack!

  • Fitness Pass

A punch pass or monthly membership to a gym or other exercise class is a wonderful gift for those who are active and interested in such programs. For those who require adaptive support, the YMCA of Snohomish County offers inclusive programs in dance, yoga and other activities.

  • Items for Organization

Organizational tubs and storage boxes are always helpful gift items — especially for those who have recently moved or are planning a deep Spring-Clean in the New Year. Perhaps a stand-alone, bathroom cabinet or shoes racks are needed. A large, magnetic, refrigerator calendar or a tabletop, erasable white board are also solid gifts to help keep our lives, our homes and our schedules as organized as possible.

  • Join a Team Together

Is there a special activity, hobby or sport that you and your adult child both enjoy? This holiday season, consider paying league dues or the entry fee for two people. Invite your child to join you for cooking classes, a bowling league or a book club.

TO: THE WHOLE FAMILY

  • Museum or Zoo Memberships

The gift of a family membership is, literally, one that keeps on giving all year long. Family memberships, such as those by Imagine Children’s Museum or Woodland Park Zoo, allow for endless family fun and many memorable outings.

  • Sound Puzzle ImageFamily Kites

Let’s go fly a kite! Well, maybe, let’s make plans to fly a kite once the spring flowers bloom…. Still, how exciting for the kids to each unwrap their own bright, colorful kite this holiday season! It makes it easy to imagine many beautiful, sunny days spent with family at the park. (Check out this article for information on some of the best kite-flying hills around the Seattle area: tinyurl.com/ycks2us9)

  • Day Trip Adventure by Train

Plan a short family excursion by train! Even if your destination is a place you have visited many times, the journey along the rails offers a fresh perspective and a new experience. For the holidays, give each kid an envelope that contains a homemade train ticket with your destination depot and information on activities that you plan to do upon arrival. (Here are five day-trip options by train: tinyurl.com/2p8bfehw)

  • Sleds and a Trip to the Mountains

Tis’ the season! With a family gift of new sleds, make a plan to get outside and embrace the beauty of the Cascades! The great thing about sleds is that there are options that meet the needs of different family members. A saucer sled may be the right fit for the daredevil of the family, while a toboggan with a high backrest can provide the additional trunk support that another family member needs to fully enjoy their time on the mountain. (Check out this list of nearby sledding hills: tinyurl.com/4etw8czw)

*** Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Holiday Gift Guide with ideas to honor the parent and family caregivers you know and love!

**********

Whitney Stohr is a Parent to Parent Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her three-year-old son Malachi and husband Jason in Lynnwood. Connect with her online at whitney@arcsno.org.

Trauma Informed Resource Guide The Arc Amplified 1

New Resource: Trauma Informed Resource Guide

Public Trauma Informed Resource Guide Cover GraphicThe Arc of Snohomish County recently released a new, public resource — a 2021 Trauma Informed Resource Guide — to support individuals, children and families impacted by trauma and to provide information and tools for professionals to approach their work through a trauma-informed lens.

The guide includes information on trauma, trauma-based responses and trauma-informed care. There are also links to helpful information and tools on self-care, mindfulness, kindness and resilience. The guide includes resources available in both English and Spanish.

CLICK HERE to download the complete 2021 Trauma Informed Resource Guide.

 

Note: This resource guide was researched and created by The Arc of Snohomish County staff members Rachel Kube and Luz Cobián. The intended purpose of this guide is to list an array of online resources related to trauma informed approaches. Inclusion or exclusion of material does not reflect endorsement.

22. Building a Parent Caregiver Network

The Importance of Parent-Caregiver Connections:

3 Ways to Build a Network of Experienced Parent-Friends 

Who do you turn to during times of high stress?

Who do you call when you need advice? Who is there to listen?

Who is there when your childcare falls through, or you need an overnight bag dropped off at the hospital?

Who will sit with you in the quiet after a particularly hard day of caregiving?

 

The value of these listening-ears, these hand-holders and these drop-everything-and-pick-your-kids-up-from-school-because-you-just-caught-a-ride-in-the-back-of-an-ambulence-with-your-toddler people cannot be overstated. These are your support people. This is the network of people we build up around ourselves. We rely on each other.

All parents can benefit from a well-established, supportive network of family, friends and/or community members. However, as parents of children with disabilities, we also need other medical families and caregivers in our lives.

We need people who understand our day-to-day routines because they, too, are living something similar. We need people who share the lived experience of caregiving and hospital stays, stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. We need people who have an informed perspective, who are available for the occasional rant, a good ugly cry, or to talk through new ideas for respite and care options. We need people who also spend hours navigating disability systems, sitting through IEP meetings and chauffeuring their kids back and forth to physical therapy and doctor’s appointments like other families do ballet and soccer practice.

We need those people in our lives. In addition to other family members, long-time friends, helpful colleagues, and loving members of our church and school communities, we need parent-caregiver friends.

But, how do you find these people?

Where do you connect with other family caregivers so that you can build these relationships?

1.  Community Events & Activities

There are many different activities and community programs that support children with disabilities and their families. Seek out these opportunities to connect by searching for them online or asking around at your child’s school. There are Special Education-focused, parent-teacher groups in some school districts that create an easy opportunity to connect with other parent-caregivers. Other local nonprofit organizations host online events and meet-ups for diagnosis-specific communities. (Here is a list of local programs and services supporting individuals with disabilities and their families: tinyurl.com/yckyauak.)

2.  Go Virtual

The power of technology means that individuals and small groups, once disconnected due to geographic distance, now have the ability to coalesce and build community online. There are countless parent pages and discussion groups on Facebook geared toward every type of disability. Searching via hashtags for other parent-caregivers on Instagram allows for more direct, personal connections. Twitter provides an ideal platform for quick conversations and information sharing. (Search for targeted conversations, such as those using #FamilyCaregiver or #DisabilityTwitter, to join the discussion) The podcast network has also expanded to include a number of terrific channels that focus specifically on caregiving issues and what it is like to raise a child with a disability. Guests on these podcasts will often share resources and ideas for how to connect with other parent-caregivers and medical families. (Check out the award-winning, Puget Sound-based podcast “Once Upon a Gene,” by parent-caregiver Effie Parks.)

Whatever the platform, the important thing is to engage! Share information, say “hello!” to other users, and comment on their posts. These platforms are all about building connections!

3.  Caregiver Support Groups

The Arc of Snohomish County offers several parent-caregiver support groups that provide parents space to find support, share their hopes and fears and everyday challenges, and swap information about local resources. There are also groups for family caregivers of adults with disabilities and for sibling caregivers. (More information below!) Other organizations may offer diagnosis-specific groups, or groups based on some other shared experience such as language, ethnic background or religious/spiritual practice.

The Arc of Snohomish County — Caregiver Support Groups:

  • Mother’s Network: For moms raising children with developmental disabilities. Meets monthly on the 1st Saturday, 10 am – 12 Noon.
  • Father’s Network: For dads and male caregivers raising children with developmental disabilities. Meets twice monthly on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays, 7 – 9 pm.
  • Padres Unidos: A Spanish-language support group for parents raising children with developmental disabilities. Meets on Fridays, 10 – 11 am
  • Miercoles de Mamas Cocina y Manualidades: A Spanish-language support groups for moms raising children with developmental disabilities. Meets monthly on the 2nd Wednesday, 7 – 8 pm.
  • Adult Caregiver Support Group: For the parents of adult children with developmental disabilities. Meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday, 11 am – 12:30 pm.
  • Washington State Adult Sibling Meetup: For siblings of adults with developmental disabilities. Meets monthly on the 3rd Thursday, 4 – 5 pm.

Visit our calendar of events for more information or to register to attend an upcoming support group meeting: arcsno.org/calendar.

**********

Whitney Stohr is a Parent to Parent Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her three-year-old son Malachi and husband Jason in Lynnwood. Connect with her online at whitney@arcsno.org.

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