Latest Comments by Donna Maheady

Donna Maheady, MSN, EdD, NP 35,250 Views

Hello from Florida! I have been a nurse for over 35 years. Peds is my passion, but I have worked and taught in other areas (community, home health, camps). I am married with one daughter with autism. I quickly became an autism Mom/warrior! My advocacy resulted in writing about nurses with disabilities and founding www.ExceptionalNurse.com.

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  • 4

    Ashley,

    Thanks for sharing so much of ourself with us! Your story is music to my ears. Nurses with disabilities and chronic illness have so much to give to patient care.

    Some lessons "from being there"...just can't be taught.

    Be well!

  • 0

    Quote from iheartnursing91
    I have hearing loss and I just graduated with my BSN and passed my NCLEX 2 days ago! I dont believe hearing loss can stop someone from doing what they want to do. In fact, Nursing School has made me more confident and carefree about the fact that I even wear them.
    Bravo to you!!!! Congratulations!

  • 0

    Thank you so much for commenting and bravo to you!
    Love to hear any other tips related to student success!

  • 3

    Thanks for asking about which hospital Beth. I have the same question.

  • 18

    Dear needs a trach,

    I agree with Beth totally...first you need to take care of your health!

    I applaud your commitment and continued interest in working as a nurse.

    Just think of how many people you could have a positive impact on. What a role model!

    Honestly, I don't think acute care will be an option. But, I have a few alternative options for you to consider.

    You could:

    Facilitate an online support group for people with trachs.

    Develop educational materials for patients and families.

    Provide online training to families with technology dependent children.

    Work for a tracheostomy equipment vendor…. Make recommendations/answer patient questions regarding supplies and equipment.

    Work for an insurance company doing case management.

    Write a book about your experiences as a nurse and patient.

    Work for a non-profit such as the American Cancer Society or Lung Association.

    Write a blog for people with tracheostomies or health care professionals.

    Start a nonprofit to assist patients and families.

    Teach nursing online.

    Develop continuing education programs for nurses, respiratory therapists and first responders regarding tracheostomies, tracheostomy care and emergency interventions.

    Tutor nursing students online.

    Work for a camp for children with tracheostomies.

    Consult with school districts about services/inclusion of children with trachs in schools.

    Please get involved with other nurses with disabilities. They can offer you so much support!

    I wish you all the best and please feel free to contact me at any time.

    Donna Maheady

  • 4
    Joe V, tnbutterfly, traumaRUs, and 1 other like this.

    According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), a learning disability is a neurological condition that interferes with an individual’s ability to store, process, or produce information. Learning disabilities can affect one’s ability to read, write, speak, spell, compute math, reason and also affect an individual’s attention, memory, coordination, social skills and emotional maturity.

    The National Institutes of Health reports a wide range in estimates of the number of people affected by learning disabilities. Some of the variation results from differences in requirements for diagnosis in different states. Some reports estimate that as many as 15% to 20% of Americans are affected by learning disabilities and disorders.

    The good news is that resources are available to help nurses and nursing students.

    A University/College Disability Services Center is an important resource for nursing students. A student can meet with a counselor and discuss his or her individual situation. If reasonable accommodation is indicated, the nursing student will have to provide documentation of disability. Accommodations may include books on tape, extended time/quiet room for test taking or a note taker for classroom lectures.

    Book Share is a project supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. It is an accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Bookshare® is the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Their holdings include some books about nursing.

    Learning Ally is a national non-profit dedicated to helping blind, visually impaired and dyslexic students succeed in education. It started in 1948 in the New York Public Library and was called "Recording for the Blind". They utilized volunteers to record books for blinded veterans returning from WW II. Today, they offer the world’s largest collection of human-narrated audio textbooks and literature as well as solutions, support, and community for parents, teachers, and students. They have a number of nursing textbooks available.

    DyslexiaKey, developed by two Babson college students, is a custom keyboard for people with reading disorders. It can be used within any iPhone app. DyslexiaKey allows people to type in an open-source font called OpenDyslexic, in which letters have heavier bottoms to combat the common problems of letters flipping and switching. The app is available in the iTunes store for free.

    Voxdox uses text-to-speech technology to aid users with disabilities. The app combines e-readers and text-to-speech apps so that users only need to use a single app to have documents read out loud to them.

    Math disabilities tutorials are available from the Middlesex University’s Numeracy Support Department. In a number of tutorials presented on YouTube, teachers demonstrate ways to do math without using a calculator, metric unit conversions and drops per minute.

    Great Ways to Learn Anatomy and Physiology is a highly visual text for anyone studying anatomy and physiology. It provides innovative techniques. User-friendly, this accessible text brings complex processes to life with imaginative diagrams and storylines which aid understanding, reinforce memory and also support students with memory, dyslexic or mathematical difficulties.

    First person accounts also document success stories of nurses and nursing students with learning disabilities. Toni Sugg, RN, graduated from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, in May 2011 and received the Nursing Excellence Award for her class. Toni shares her journey with dyslexia in Minority Nurse (2014). Tino Plank, RN, MS wrote a chapter called “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Paths to success for nurses with learning disabilities”. He suggests sharing a “learning bio” with nursing faculty. It can serve as a way to introduce yourself, share your goals, learning disability and accommodations if needed.

    Organizations can provide information, suggestions, support and advocacy. Examples include:

    The Department of Labor Job Accommodation Network JAN - Job Accommodation Network

    Learning Disabilities Association of America Support and Resources for Adults with LD

    National Center for Learning Disabilities Not Found - NCLD

    Attention Deficit Disorder Association Home | ADDA - Attention Deficit Disorder Association

    If you are a nurse or nursing student with a learning disability, what helped you most? Please share your thoughts about these resources and your experiences. Other nurses and nursing students can learn from you!


    References

    Book Share. Bookshare | An Accessible Online Library for people with print disabilities

    Dyslexia Key. DyslexiaKey - Making Typing Less Frustrating For Dyslexia on the App Store

    Learning Ally. Learning Ally | About Us - Helping BVI Student - Helping Dyslexia

    Learning Disability Association of America (LDA)

    McKissock, C. (2014). Great Way to Learn Anatomy and Physiology. Palgrave Macmillan.

    Middlesex University, Numeracy Support Department.

    Middlesex University, Numeracy Support Department. Math without using a calculator.

    Middlesex University, Numeracy Support Department. Metric Unit conversion

    Minority Nurse (2014).. Retrieved from Challenges of a nursing student with dyslexia

    National Institutes of Health (NIH). How many people are affected/at risk for learning disabilities?

    Plank, T. (2014). Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Paths to Success for Nurses with Learning Disabilities in D.C. Maheady (Ed). The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

    Smartphone apps helping students with dyslexia.

    Voxdox

  • 0

    Quote from happy_life
    do people really confuse "autistic" with "artistic"??!? That would drive me nuts if I was the parent of an autistic child!! You are a saint
    Today, people don't confuse the words...but 29+ years ago they often did. It was a new word...especially for lay people.

  • 0

    Quote from BethBoynton
    Besides being beautifully written and heartfelt, it seems that Lauren inspired much of your work which is helping nurses with disabilities, the patients they serve, and the organizations they work for, and the nurses they work with.....OMG...pretty amazing!
    Thanks so much for the kind words Beth. You are right...Lauren has impacted so many people!

  • 0

    Thanks so much for the kind words! Your family sounds amazing!

  • 1
    poppycat likes this.

    Quote from poppycat
    people with any kind of disability are held back only by people who tell them they can't do something.
    So true!!! Thanks for commenting!

  • 1
    Hollybobs likes this.

    Quote from Hollybobs
    Oh my goodness that is lovely. You couldn't write that unless you shared some of those joyful, "love for life" qualities you describe in her, I reckon she may take after her mum a little! "
    You are right! She does have many of my qualities!

  • 0

    Quote from audreysmagic
    I wish there was a love button for this! Lauren sounds amazing, and for as many challenges as autism can provide, it's so wonderful to see a parent celebrating their autistic child instead of trying to get them to "pass for normal."
    Thanks so much!

  • 0

    Thanks so much! She is our joy!

  • 38

    My daughter, Lauren, is a member of the group of young adults who grew up on the evolving autism spectrum. For Lauren, a clear diagnosis eluded all of the professionals for many years. Over time, the spectrum expanded and Lauren landed as an “artist in residence”.

    Lauren’s “artistic abilities” are quite limited in traditional terms. Her fine motor skills are weak and she doesn’t “Love” to paint, draw or work with clay. She does enjoy sitting at a table and being part of a group participating in craft activities.

    Despite these limitations, Lauren helps to paint the landscape every day with her own special palette…. her heart. With the stroke of a painter’s brush, Lauren brightens everyone’s day. She says “hello” and shakes hands with…the rich, poor, old, young, disabled and able-bodied.

    She puts a smile on the face of the clerk in the grocery story, the bus driver and the elderly man sitting alone on a park bench. She is sensitive to the baby who is crying and the person wearing a band aid.

    Her obsessive compulsive qualities add a facetious and often humorous side to her approach to life. She’s not quite ready for a comedy club…but she is funny to watch as she methodically puts her dishes away in the exact same spot, drinks every drop of her drink and recycles every bottle and can.

    Lauren’s room is always clean, neat and orderly. On one occasion her cousin left a wet bathing suit on Lauren’s bed. Later, everyone was looking for the missing bathing suit. Alas, it was found. Lauren put the wet bathing suit “away” in the clothes hamper!

    Culinary arts are Lauren’s specialty. Lauren loves to eat and she can make her Mom or a staffer feel like Julia Child…with just one word, “Delicious”! She loves to help out with cooking and has been found up during the night eating her lunch packed for the next day.

    The stage takes the performing arts to new heights. Lauren has performed in sign language plays and dance recitals. She has more fun on stage than any star on Broadway. Lauren doesn’t know that the way to Carnegie Hall is “practice, practice”, but videotaped performances help her to relive the experience over and over.

    The visual arts offer an opportunity for Lauren to have her photograph taken and to say “cheese”. She spends hours looking through her boxes of photographs, even the ones friends and family members wish would be thrown away.

    Dark days can be filled with behavior issues, seizures, or acting out (taking her clothes off in public places, pulling hair and or tearing a shirt or necklace off someone). But, Lauren’s resilience teaches us patience….as she springs back the next day with the grace of an Olympic diver.

    Much like the back side of a beautiful needlepoint, Lauren is part of the fabric of the human family. Her seizures, flapping, moans, unsteady gait, and tremors are often tangled together. But, on the front side of the needlepoint is a beautiful face, eyes bluer than a robin’s egg, and the sweetest smile.

    Her Dad is an architect. With the skill of a sculptor, Lauren has shaped his commitment to the Americans with Disabilities Act and his efforts to make workplaces accessible to people with disabilities. She has taught him much about tolerance of people with differences.

    I am a pediatric nurse practitioner and nursing educator. With the precision of an artist arranging the pieces of a mosaic, Lauren has guided the pieces of my life into a new pattern of giving. I became a better, more caring nurse and educator as well as an advocate for nurses with disabilities. I founded a nonprofit organization for nurses with disabilities and wrote three books. I also blog about Lauren and life as an adult living in supported living at “Autism parenting is an Olympic event” Autism parenting is an Olympic event!!!

    With the precision of an artisan bricklayer, Lauren has helped to build our commitment to each other, to her, and others within the disability community. Our marriage is solid---built on a strong foundation of love, grace, and humor.

    Now after, 29 years, if someone asks me if Lauren is “artistic”, I proudly say, “Yes she is!” And, today’s your lucky day. You just won a free ticket to one of her shows………

  • 3

    Quote from Nurse Beth
    It's a personal choice and the comments above are pro going/remaining anonymous. There are positive and negative sides to either choice. I'll speak to the opposite opinion.

    My choice is not anon, on my blog nursecode.com and on Twitter @bhawkesrn. Here's my experience:

    It takes skill to learn how to express yourself professionally, especially on hot topics. Writing as myself has forced me to acquire those valuable life and communication skills.
    Hi Beth,

    I couldn't agree more. I am proud of the work I do blogging at Exceptional Nurse and opt to put my name on it.

    I teach nursing and would never throw a school under the bus.

    A professional and thoughtful dialog is possible! It does take skill, experience, and practice. When you are open to public critique....you have to learn to use your words well!


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