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Donna Maheady

Donna Maheady

Pediatrics, developmental disabilities
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Donna Maheady has 38 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics, developmental disabilities.

Greetings from sunny Florida! I am a pediatric nurse practitioner, autism Mom/warrior, nurse educator, author and blogger. My name is Donna Maheady (pronounced “Ma head e”). I have a wide range of nursing experience both in academic and practice settings. Pediatrics is my love and passion but I have also taught many other topics. I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and I have being practicing and teaching nursing for over 35 years. I grew up in Connecticut and went to nursing school at the University of Bridgeport. I received my MS in nursing from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a certificate as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from the University of Texas Medical Center at Galveston. I received my doctorate in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University. I am married and have one daughter who is 28. Lauren is diagnosed with autism, mental retardation and epilepsy. My advocacy work for Lauren was the foundation for my later research and publications about issues related to nurses and nursing students with disabilities. My husband and I love to travel. Our trips have taken us to Italy, Spain, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand. I am the founder of the nonprofit resource network for nurses and nursing students with disabilities www.ExceptionalNurse.com. Author of three books "The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities", "Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses working with disabilities" and "Nursing students with disabilities change the course", I have also written numerous articles about nurses and nursing students with disabilities as well as other topics. I blog about all things related to nurses with disabilities http://exceptionalnurse.blogspot.com/ and tweet @ExceptNurse. I also blog about parenting an adult daughter with autism at http://autismolympics.blogspot.com/. Born to become a nurse....nursing is my passion!

Donna Maheady's Latest Activity

  1. Donna Maheady

    Both Sides of the Bedrails

    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!
  2. Donna Maheady

    Nursing with a hearing loss: Yes you can!

    Bravo to you!!!! Congratulations!
  3. Thanks for asking about which hospital Beth. I have the same question.
  4. 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
  5. 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 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 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 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. Voxdo 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 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 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 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 Learning Disabilities Association of America National Center for Learning Disabilities 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 Bookshare | An Accessible Online Library for people with print disabilities DyslexiaKey - Making Typing Less Frustrating For Dyslexia on the App Store 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. 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
  6. Donna Maheady

    Is She Artistic or Autistic?

    Today, people don't confuse the words...but 29+ years ago they often did. It was a new word...especially for lay people.
  7. Donna Maheady

    Is She Artistic or Autistic?

    Thanks so much for the kind words Beth. You are right...Lauren has impacted so many people!
  8. Donna Maheady

    Is She Artistic or Autistic?

    Thanks so much for the kind words! Your family sounds amazing!
  9. Donna Maheady

    Is She Artistic or Autistic?

    So true!!! Thanks for commenting!
  10. Donna Maheady

    Is She Artistic or Autistic?

    You are right! She does have many of my qualities!
  11. Donna Maheady

    Is She Artistic or Autistic?

    Thanks so much!
  12. Donna Maheady

    Is She Artistic or Autistic?

    Thanks so much! She is our joy!
  13. Donna Maheady

    Is She Artistic or Autistic?

    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.........
  14. Donna Maheady

    Can blogging hurt or harm your career

    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!
  15. Thanks fo commenting Beth. Let me know if I can help spread the word!!!
  16. Communication is key! In order to be successful, people have to know about your cause or organization and the work you do. A blog is an excellent place to share information with people who may potentially benefit and with readers who may support you. It is all about exposure! Here are some helpful tips: Showcase the mission, background and history of your organization or cause on your blog. Answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) in one blog post. Then, you can refer people to the post when a question is asked. Keep your blog posts simple (Give it a Kiss). Remember that most readers have short attention spans. Get your message across as succinctly as possible. As they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words". Use your blog to share pictures and videos. Do you provide blood pressure screenings, collect donations for medical missions or school supplies for children, walk or run for a cause or provide a food pantry to low income people? Take pictures of your activities or donations and share them with your readers. Do you provide assistance to nurses in need? Knit hats for premies? Tell people about it. If you receive food or in-kind donations from individuals or other organizations, give them credit. Are you raising money for a Walk or Run for a cause such autism, developmental disabilities, cancer, MS, epilepsy, cerebral palsy or mental illness? Are you participating in the "Great Give"? Blogging allows nonprofits and charitable groups to share information and fundraise for minimal to no cost. You can tell potential donors about your cause and where to send checks or how to donate via credit card or PayPal. Show the impact of a donation. When people donate to a cause, they like to see examples of the work the organization is doing and how their money is being used. Do you award scholarships? Tell readers about the awards and the recipients. If you provide meals to the homeless, share how much it costs to provide 5 meals. Are you walking or running to raise money for a cause? Share specific information about why funds are needed. Showcase the work done by your volunteers. People like to be recognized for the work they do. Share stories and pictures of your volunteers "in action". Provide links to other resources related to your cause. This helps your followers as well as demonstrates your support for organizations with similar missions. (Hint: they may support you as well). Ask supporters to write a guest blog post. This helps to makes your work credible in the eyes of your readers/followers/donors. Encourage action and engagement with your posts. Ask readers a question or ask for suggestions. Include a survey or poll. Make people feel like they are part of the cause. If someone leaves a comment, make sure to respond. Promote social sharing. Get the word out about your work on facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, LinkedIn and other social media sites. Be sure to include social sharing buttons on your blog. Post comments to other blogs. One hand washes the other. Other bloggers may return the favor! Give people an easy way to sign up for your blog posts. This will help to keep your readers connected. Share your content with others. Often, other bloggers are looking for content to support or promote. Showcase awards or recognition your organization or group has received (e.g. newspaper articles, TV coverage). This adds to your credibility and exposure. Tell people how to help you. Give readers a job or mission. Ask readers to share your blog with others, answer questions or leave comments. Encourage them to organize a fundraising team, collect supplies, or volunteer at an event. Thank your donors!! Write a blog post about your donors and include their website and blog. Always remember the Golden Rule! "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Good Luck and have fun! Have a question, comment or suggestion?