Starfish are masters at letting turmoil wash around them. They are also excellent models of resilience. This short video uses imagery from the sea and provides a strategy to get grounded, steady the breath, and cultivate four key aspects of resilience: purpose, connection, adaptability, and hope.
Become present and let thinking float away as you treat yourself to this opportunity to take a few minutes to care for yourself.
Even young children can become grounded and calm if breathing with intention is fun and accessible to them. This short video features two young models showing how they give their stuffed animals a ride while they breathe into and out of their tummies.
Have your child choose a comfortable place to lie down and place their stuffed animal on their tummy. Help them to notice what it’s like to breathe and watch the stuffy go up and down. Ask them what it feels like to notice their breathing and their stuffy taking a ride.
Our five-year-old model says, “I loved it and felt like I could fall asleep.”
Anxiety around bedtime is a struggle for many people of all ages. Whether the challenge is to fall asleep or stay asleep, worry doesn’t make getting enough zees any easier. Here is a strategy for calming that uses a body scanning strategy combined with breath awareness.
Parents might share this practice out loud to help a child go to sleep. The child also might learn to use all or parts of the technique on their own. Once you understand the basic strategy you can adapt the wording to meet your own needs or the needs of the person you are sharing this with. Some might even fall asleep before you get through the whole practice!
If you or another person experiencing this practice do not have all of their body parts you can ask whether it feels good to imagine those body parts while doing the body scan or whether it feels better to include only body parts that are present. For a person who is deaf or hard of hearing or for people who respond well to sensory touch, there is the option to gently touch parts of the body while moving through the practice. Once learned, the practice can be silent, internal, and personalized. Be creative about how to make it workable and useful for any person who might benefit.
To help with sleep, body sensing starts with the feet…
Please make yourself comfortable in bed or another space where you can relax and listen to the 10-minute meditation provided in this video.
When you are finished listening, if you are not yet ready for sleep, you may wish to begin again with the body sensing, always starting with your feet and traveling awareness up through the body, noticing the breath throughout your own journey into rest.
The Meditation Script
If you prefer to read this script aloud to someone else or to yourself, here are the words from the video:
Notice that you have two feet. On your feet there are toes, big toes, second toes, middle toes, fourth toes, and baby toes. Notice your feet and toes. Notice what your feet and toes are touching. Is it soft or hard? Cool or warm? Are your toes and feet relaxed? Notice that you have ankles. Your legs have a lower part. You have two knees. Your legs have an upper part. You have hips. Notice what your hips, legs and feet are resting on. Is there anything you could change to be even just a little bit more comfortable?
Notice your tummy. Notice that as you breathe in your tummy goes up. As you breathe out your tummy goes down. Notice what it feels like to breathe in and out of your tummy. As you breathe in, you are noticing that your tummy is filling up. As you breathe out, you are noticing that your tummy is getting empty. What does breathing feel like? Just notice.
Notice that behind your tummy is your back. You have a lower back, a middle back, and an upper back. Inside your back there are ribs, and your ribs have a back part, two sides, and a front part. Your front ribs meet at your chest.
Notice that when you breathe in, your tummy fills up and so does your chest. Your ribs get a little wider. When you breathe out your chest goes down and so does your tummy. Your ribs settle in. See if you can notice what it feels like when your tummy and chest fill up with breath and when they empty of breath. Notice how long it takes for a breath to come all the way in and to go all the way back out again. Your body knows how to breathe all by itself and does this all day long. Notice how it feels to pay attention to your body breathing.
Notice that your chest is in between your shoulders. Your shoulders are connected to your arms. Your arms have an upper part. You have elbows. Your arms have a lower part, and you have two wrists. Notice your hands. You have fingers. Each hand has a thumb, first finger, second finger, third finger and a baby finger. Your hands have a back part and a palm. Notice what your shoulders, arms and hands are resting on. Is it soft or hard? Cool or warm? Are your arms, hands, and fingers relaxed? Is there anything you could change to be even just a tiny bit more comfortable?
Notice that your heart is beating inside your chest. You are breathing, and your heart is beating. Your body is taking care of its basic needs to be healthy and alive. Notice that right now you are safe. Notice the room you are in and whether there is lightness or darkness or some of both. Notice any sounds that are near or far. Notice that your body is breathing. Your chest and belly fill up each time you breathe in and empty each time you breathe out. Make any little changes that you need to be slightly more comfortable.
Notice that you have a neck and a head. Notice what the back of your head is resting on. Your head has a top part and two sides. You have eyebrows and two eyes. Your eyes can close so that your top eyelashes and your bottom eyelashes touch each other. Imagine that there is a color behind your closed eyes that is a soft dark blue. Notice how you feel when you peer into this deep blue space behind your eyes. Notice if there are any edges to the dark blue or if it seems to stretch forever, like the night sky.
Notice that you have a mouth. Inside your mouth there is a tongue, and you have teeth. Your mouth has a right side and a left side. Your mouth is resting.
Notice that you have a nose with two nostrils. Air comes into your nostrils and goes out through your nostrils. Notice that air traveling into your nostrils moves down into your chest and tummy. After the air empties from your tummy and chest it leaves through your nostrils. Notice the long journey that your breath takes through the body, from the nostrils to the chest and belly. Out from the belly, the chest, and the nostrils. What does it feel like to watch your body breathing?
Notice the shape of your whole body and what your body is resting on. You have feet and legs. You have a tummy and a back. Your arms and hands are resting. Your whole body is comfortable and resting. You are breathing with your nose, your chest and your belly. Your eyes are closed, and there’s a dark blue color behind your eyelids. We’re breathing in and breathing out through our noses. We are safe and resting. We are noticing what it feels like to rest.
Every person’s story has the potential to impact how others think or act. Disability rights have been legislated because of individuals who spoke up and sparked change. This video introduces a strategy for telling a potent story in two or fewer minutes, using your own hand to guide the process. Think of this as a hand model for an inspirational elevator speech to improve or inspire:
A meeting with public officials
Legislative forums or candidate meetings
The Arc of Washington State provides pathways for people to participate in legislative advocacy. The Arc serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages and their families.
Some staff members at PAVE are certified to teach Telling your Story with a Purpose, a training created by the state’s Department of Health and Seattle Children’s Hospital. For support to create your story, fill out a PAVE Helpline request, and a trained staff member will contact you.
Questions to consider first:
What is the challenge or problem that you, your child or your family faces? Think of a problem that also affects other people and families. Consider writing one sentence about people in general and one sentence about your own story, child, or family.
How does this challenge affect others?
How might this challenge affect others if nothing changes?
What needs to change?
What can be done to improve the situation?
Who has the power to make a change?
Key information for your story:
Who are you? Be sure to say your name and the district, city, or town you live in.
If you want to include information about other people be sure you have permission before sharing anything confidential, such as names, ages, or health information.
Clearly and simply describe the problem or challenge.
Explain why this is important.
Include a short story (4-5 sentences) about how this issue has affected you and your family. If possible, use a positive example – a situation where things went well and why you want others to have a similar experience.
What do you want your listener to do? State your request in one sentence with 30 or fewer words. Avoid a general request for “support.” Provide a clear action:
“I ask you to vote for…”
“I want you to change this policy in order to…”
“I want you to fund a program that…”
Stop and check: Consider if your comments might make the listener feel criticized or attacked. Focus on the solution. Make sure you’ve included statements about how others in the community can benefit.
End by restating your request and saying thank you. When possible, thank the listener for something they have done in the past that you appreciate–voting for a bill, serving on a committee, funding a program.
Summer activities might look different in 2020 because of measures to slow spread of COVID-19. Here are some links and ideas for accessible staycations and other recreation options. This list is subject to changes and updates. Have a suggestion to add? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that these resources are not affiliated with PAVE, and PAVE does not recommend or endorse these programs or services. This list is not exhaustive and is provided for informational purposes only.
Crip Camp 2020: The Virtual Experience Join fellow grassroots activists and advocates this summer for a virtual camp experience featuring trailblazing speakers from the disability community. All are welcome, and no prior activism experience is necessary to participate.
Camp Korey This 15-year-old program honors the courage, strength, and determination of children with serious medical conditions by providing a camp environment with specialized medical support. 2020 programs include virtual camps and campfire Fridays.
Taste of Home catalog of Free Virtual Museum Tours From the safety of home and for free, visit the Louvre, SeaWorld, the Winchester Mystery House and many more museums. For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art provides a free 3-D tour of its exhibit halls.
National Parks Virtual Tours Insider provides links to virtual tours of 32 national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Arches National Park.
NASA Kids’ Club and NASA STEM @ Home The NASA Kids’ Club offers video-style games and opportunities to learn about the work of NASA and the astronauts. The STEM @ Home programs provide interactive modules in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12.
Sesame Street Caring for Each Other Favorite Muppets provide sing-alongs, interactive games, and other ready-to-use materials to spark playful learning for the whole family during COVID-19 and beyond.
Storyline Online Have you noticed that there are a lot of famous people reading books? Storyline provides a place to find many of them in a virtual library.
Nomster Chef Picture-book recipes for Kid Chefs and added tips for grown-ups are designed for families cooking together at home.
Aspiring Youth Summer camp opportunities with in-person and online options. Camps provide opportunities to explore theater, art, climbing and more.
Camp Killoqua These Camp Fire programs are open to all — including youth who are not members of Camp Fire. Camps strive to be inclusive; acceptance and participation is open to everyone regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, or other aspect of diversity.
Pirate Treasure Hunt: Dress up as pirates to follow clues that lead to a bounty of treasure! Decorate the house, offer goldfish- shaped crackers as snacks, and design an X to mark the spot where the treasure is found!
Under the Stars: Stay up late to learn about astronomy. No cost apps like Sky Map and Star Walk help locate planets, stars, and constellations with ease. Make it fun on a warm night with a blanket on the grass to keep you comfy while you gaze up!
Unplug and get off the grid: Make a point to unplug and tune into fresh air, exercise, and nature. If you don’t already know an outdoor spot to explore, All Trails can help you find hiking or walking trails.
Check out PAVE’s Lessons at Home videos: We’ve got short, curiosity-inspiring projects that require limited equipment for those “I’m bored!” moments.
Consider that 20 percent of the population has a disability. That’s one-fifth of all people who need extra support! Caregivers for those high-needs individuals may experience compassion fatigue and stress at high levels. National Geographic’s film, Stress, Portrait of a Killer, provides an overview of the risks and includes a story of parents who care for a child with special needs (See Minute 38 for that section of the report).
The way to manage chronic stress is consistent self-care. Here are ways to stay mentally and physically healthy. In other words, here’s how caregivers can pull on that oxygen mask first in order to be well enough to assist others!
Meet up with people who get what you are going through. Schedule coffee with another parent with similar challenges on a regular basis. Parents often find each other at school, but here are other ideas about where you might find one another: Special Olympics practice, Special Needs Parent-Teacher Association, extracurricular events. A local Parent-to-Parent network can help by matching parents with similar interests or by providing a regular parent-group meeting.
The body uses sleep to recover, heal, and process stress. Here are ideas if anxiety or intrusive thinking interrupts sleep: Turn off screens after 7 p.m.—or use a blue-light filter; find sleep-music beats or a hypnosis program online; drink a calming herbal tea, such as chamomile; journal to process thoughts before bed. For more ideas, visit Sleepfoundation.org.
Go for a walk, practice yoga, swim, wrestle with your kids, chop wood, work in the yard, or have a living-room dance party. Moving releases feel-good body chemicals. Check out the Mayo Clinic for more information on exercise and stress.
4. Be Mindful
Mindfulness can be as simple as taking time to notice your breath and focus attention there. Other ways to focus the mind for a general calming benefit: meditate, color, work on a car, build something, do art, put together a puzzle. The key is to find a quiet place that feels nurturing and calming. For more resources, check out mindful.org.
5. Make Time
An overfull calendar or unscheduled chaos can take over the day. A carefully organized calendar, managed with realistic boundaries, can help: If someone requests time, the calendar clearly shows when a meeting is possible. Parents can set SMART goals for a day, week or month: Assess whether the goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and bound by a clear Timeframe. PAVE’s article on SMART Goals can help parents manage time while learning about how to assist with educational planning. Another resource with time-management tools: calendar.com: Why Stress Management and Time Management Go Hand in Hand.
6. Seek Help
Respite care provides temporary relief for a primary caregiver. In Washington State, a resource to find respite providers is Lifespan Respite. Parents of children with disabilities can apply through the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) to seek eligibility for in- home personal care services and to request a waiver for respite care. For further detail about how to access services, refer to wapave.org DDA Access video or Informingfamilies.org DDA services.