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George Braddock Chat Transcript

November 21, 2011 2 comments

On Monday, November 21 George Braddock hosted a live chat about how to advance community living for adults on autism spectrum.

George Braddock is President of Creative Housing Solutions LLC. He pioneered the implementation of person-centered planning principles to homes for people with disabilities. George provides environmental engineering services for persons with intellectual and physical disabilities, families, providers and governmental agencies.

1:55
Hi Everyone! We are about to get started!
1:56
Comment From Sip

hooray :)

1:56
Comment From Guest

Great!

2:02
This is George Braddock and I am welcoming everyone to this chat. My background is construction and I started doing housing for people with developmental disabilities in 1984. In 1985 my daughter was born and she has developmental disabilities. Since 1984 my company has done over 1,500 projects for people with developmental disabilities. We are very committed to serving individuals in our communities and keeping families together. We believe that the roll of the physical environment in supporting that outcome has been underestimated.
2:02
Comment From Elizabeth Wilson

I am having a hard time potty training my son who has autism. He won’t go on his own, I have to take him on a routine bases. is there any suggestions on how I can help him at night, because he doesn’t sta dry at night

2:05
Hi Elizabeth – One of the barriers that we often find for people in toilet training has to do with the condition of the bathroom itself. Often times we find that people with ASD can be very tactfully defensive so the space itself needs to be as neutral as possible. It needs to be enough room around the toilet so people don’t feel too confined. It is really helpful if the space is warm and you address other types of sensations around the toileting experience. Is it cold, is there a fan running, is the light too bright, or not bright enough? You can sometimes help encourage people to use the toilet a friendly place to be.
2:06
Comment From Raissa from Georgia

What are some of the standard remodeling things you do for families with younger children with autism? Also, as my children get older, what home modifications start becoming more of a necessity as they enter adulthood?

2:12
Hi Raissa – although we recognize that every individual with autism is unique, our experience has taught us that there are actually quite a lot of common housing modifications that generally support most folks with ASD. We call them unique commonalities. We have identified six of those commonalities. We can start off with the most common modifications – the Autism Friend Home – the goal is to reduce risk and anticipate activity. Every home there are things that can hurt people. We want to focus on health and safety where the individual is the priority. Sometimes in addressing a home we have to assess the risks and dangers depending on the individuals circumstances from the start. These include things like seizures, the importance of protecting the person’s body from injury. We also find that it is good to anticipate unconventional use and eventually housing is not designed for simply people with ASD. We anticipate water play. Water is almost always a source of interest. It is often a coping skill for folks with ASD and we need to manage it to keep the water from damaging the home, but also support the person who is using water to satisfy them. We find that doors are often a problem. The way the slam, the way they communicate frustration and anxiety. We use pocket doors quite frequently and fiberglass doors because they are light weight and strong and not as likely to hurt you. It is important to select furnishings that take into account the individual involved. Often times vesicular activity such as swimming, rocking, jumping, bouncing, making sure the furniture will put up with those things. Those are the basics of an autism friendly house!
2:13
Comment From Karen

My son who is 17 and has more “classic autism” is very adversely effected by certain sounds. Even though his bedroom is downstairs in the basement, he hears the television through the floor upstairs, and even the slightest TV sound bothers him. We could all use headphones as a solution, but I was wondering if you had ideas on sound insulation techniques for our home. We already have carpets but the sound still travels between the two floors. So if he is up at night rambling outloud to himself, we can hear him through the floor, and it keeps us up, and he can hear our TV, even on low, and that keeps him up.

2:18
Hi Karen – The key to sound deadening is separation so that sound waves cannot move continuously through. There are a number of materials that will help in this regard and there are also construction techniques that will provide a space between materials to control transmission of sound. There are products, mass laden vinyl, which is a very dense, rubberlike material that is quite an effective sound deadening material. It could be placed on the carpet or on the ceiling between floors. There is type of channel where there is a resilient channel that can be installed and has a little rubber isolating block on either end of the bracket. That can be screwed to the ceiling and then the dry wall ceiling plied to it will deaden the sound between the floors. We have also had some luck with a cork material applied over a material that is like a fiberglass that can be up to half an inch thick. Then the cork panel can be attached.
2:19
Comment From Guest

What can extended family members do to make their homes more “ASD-friendly”?

2:23
Hi Guest – If you are going to have guests in your home with ASD it would be wise to understand some of the issues before they come to visit. It is likely that they will arrive anxious and experiencing some stress. It can be helpful to not too much pressure on them when they first arrive. If they are disorganized, they tend to live more rigorously in their environment, you might want to take things away that are easily broken. Typically we find from about 3 feet about the floor to about 5 feet above the floors, is the area where most handling, grabbing, and exploring takes place. From leaving fragile things out of this zone can help. Trying to manage the amount of stimulation, from televisions to radios and other things that are making noise, flashing lights. Just being aware that an overly stimulating environment results in more anxiety in the visit. If you can create a place where they can participate in usual activity and have some control over their social interactions, it can make for a better visit.
2:25
Comment From Cynthia Bartlett

Do you find that adults with autism/intellectual impairments respond differently to various colours and lighting types?

2:30
Hi Cynthia – We definitely have found that color can make a great deal of difference for some people with ASD. We spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out colors that work and are preferred. We can do this by observing a person’s choices when various colors are offered. Some of the standard thinking around the impact of color attaches reds, yellows, and oranges to more high energy activity. Whereas blues and greens and browns tend to be more calming. In the area of lighting there is good evidence that flickering lights often associated with florescent can be a problem for some people. If possible divide lighting sources with dimmers which gives a person more control. Good quality natural and artificial light are key to a good environment.
2:30
Hi everyone there was a typo in my first answer to Elizabeth! I meant to say, Tactilely-this means relating to the sense of touch, rather than tactfully!
2:31
Comment From Jody Schinnerer

Our 19 year old son finds our walls a good target when he gets frustrated. He has punched and kicked holes in the wall. He hasn’t hurt himself yet. We patched the holes and repainted but are there materials that would prevent injury to our son if he continues to hit the walls??

2:37
Hi Jody – Damage to walls is not an unusual behavior. There are a number of strategies that will make walls that are strong enough to withstand this kind of testing. There are various layers depending on how serious the person is about making holes in the wall. Sometimes if the person is just hitting the wall or kicking it occasionally, as opposed to all the time, you can add a protection material called wainscoting. This can be fiber glass reinforced plastic called FRP or solid wood panel. In some cases even carpeting glued to the wall will work. For people who are more determined to make a hole in the wall, strong building enforcement will be necessary. This can include adding the additional layer of Sheetrock or removing the existing wall finishing material and reinforcing the wall assembly with plywood. Then any number of finishes can be applied to the ply wood to make a normal looking wall. In cases where people may injure themselves from hitting the wall we have applied a half inch of foam to the wall and then protected the foam with a material such as FRP or kourguard.
2:38
Comment From Dina

Hello. I have a 19 yr. old son, who is in the mild/ mod category of Austism. He is developmentally 8 yrs. old. He has a terrible fear of separating from us. Ian suffers from the extreme anxiety that is typical if the disorder. My husband and I can’t bear to think of placing him in his own living environment. Do you have an opinion about how to best address this situation?

2:41
Hi Dina – We have had good success on a number of family homes by creating a living space for a young person with ASD within the family home. Sometimes this is an addition onto the home that accommodates the small living space usually a bedroom, bathroom, and sitting area over which the person has control. This area is designed to support their interests and lifestyle preference. We have found that as people mature, they naturally want to have some separation from their family. Even if they remain in the same home. We call it expanding the family. We have had a number of these projects prove successful in the last 15 years.
2:43
Comment From Sip

I’m very sensitive for sounds too, at night even the slightest whisper can wake me, and I can recognize people by feetsteps…and smell,that’s also trouble sometimes for me, too much different impulses at the same time is annoying

2:47
Hi Sip – Sound proofing at this level is very difficult. A room can be quieted using acoustical panels. These can be loosely attached to the wall and ceiling. There is also a sound deadening glass that can be installed in windows. This is very expensive. For some individuals white noise or preferred sound background can mask the sounds that are troubling. Solid core doors with weatherstripping or smoke seals can also help quiet the space and keep unpleasant odors out of the room. Drapes or curtains also deflect sound. Good quiet ventilating fans int eh room can also address most of these issues.
2:48
Comment From Andra

My son is 18 yrs old and has high functioning Autism. He is developmentally about 9 years old. He wants to eventually live on his own but I am concerned about what kind of environment to put him in that will be supported. Are their community types that I should look at? Are there commmunities out there that can provide for my son?

2:53
I think this issue is one of the most troublesome for families. What kind of living opportunities are going to be available for their children when they choose to leave home.Developing inclusive communities is what we all need to be involved in. People need more than an affordable house, they need a place in the community. Often times, only conventional housing is available. Housing modifications tend to focus on physical disabilities. People with intellectual disabilities need environmental modifications as well and their effect can be as profound. Much work needs to be done to educate builders and developers to make this a reality. Living in a community means not just creating more set asides, but creating real neighborhoods where people with disabilities are welcomed and valued. This means encouraging individuals involved with all kinds of disabilities to work together to support the creation of these kinds of inclusive neighborhoods. Not neighborhoods that congregate people with disabilities, but are welcoming of that diversity because involvement within this community is part of what defines community.
2:53
Comment From sherry wine

i have a 12 yr old son with autism he dont wanna go to bed at night time he wants to stay up and play games and gets on the computer and he wats to talk back any suggestiond

2:56
Hi Sherry – this is a situation where we have had some success with technology in the past. Being able to exercise some control over access to games and other activities is sometimes necessary while people build the capacity to manage those situations themselves. A computer providing information for controlling a device is different than mom and dad turning it off. I think of it a little like the difference between getting a ticket in the mail when you run a traffic light. You are angry, but your anger is not directed at another person. Supporting an individual to make the right choices requires balance and good judgement between freedom and appropriate, healthy, behavior.
2:57
I appreciate this opportunity to be involved in this chat and hope people found the information useful. Included with this chat is contact information to my website and links to the Autism Speaks network. Thank you for your attention!
2:58
George’s guide: Making HoMes tHat Work a resource guide for Families Living with
autism spectrum Disorder + Co-occurring Behaviorshttp://www.afaa-us.org/atf/cf/%7B3A65C524-1EB0-4098-97F5-88AB429252C6%7D/Making%20Homes%20That%20Work.pdf
2:59
For more information on George: http://gbcchs.com/
2:59
Check back to the Autism Speaks website,www.autismspeaks.org for updated information on housing!

LIVE Chat with George Braddock

November 16, 2011 3 comments

Autism Speaks’ Family Services is thrilled to be offering an hour live chat with George Braddock, the President of Creative Housing Solutions LLC.  Please join us on Monday, November 21 at 2:00 p.m. to learn about the work that Mr. Braddock has done to advance community living for adults on autism spectrum.

To join the chat – click here!

George Braddock is President of Creative Housing Solutions LLC. He pioneered the implementation of person-centered planning principles to homes for people with disabilities. George provides environmental engineering services for persons with intellectual and physical disabilities, families, providers and governmental agencies.

George brings to this work an extensive construction background from the field with experience gained from the completion of over 1,500 person-centered projects. He has contributed to the closure of three major state institutions adding significantly to this effort by creating community-based person-centered physical environments that work and make sense for the people who will live and work there. More than 1,000 individuals previously institutionalized now live in community in homes developed, designed and or/constructed by Mr. Braddock.

In addition to developing welcoming and inclusive multi-family housing opportunities for people with ID/DD, George’s work involves developing inclusive, authentic community opportunities for people with disabilities.  Further, he has recently published by the State of New York OPWDD: Making Homes That Work: A Resource Guide for Families Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Co-occurring Behaviors.

Safety Planning

November 8, 2011 13 comments

I am a grandmother of a child with autism and I worry when my grandson comes to visit he will wander from my home; how can I make sure this doesn’t happen.”

This is a frequently asked question by family members of individuals with autism. It’s critical for families to put a safety plan in place and increase awareness of the safety risks for the individual with autism.

We would like to hear from you about what steps you took that worked to insure the safety of your family member with autism. Please share your experiences so that others may benefit. For more information visit: Autism Safety Project at: www.autismsafetyproject.org

Additional Safety and Autism resources in November’s Community Connections include; Safety and Autism, with updates to the Autism Safety Project and feature Safety in the Home Workbook and Video, a resource developed for families by Ohio State University faculty and funded by a Family Serves Community Grants.  Please join us for two Facebook Live Chats scheduled, on Nov 15th at 4-5 pm EST Dennis Debbaudt, www.autismriskmanagement.com will present “How to Prepare for an Autism Emergency,”  and on Nov 20th at 2 pm EST George Braddock, from Creative Housing Solutions, will present his work Housing designs.

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