Category: Uncategorized

Activities That Can Be Done from HomeUncategorized

COVID-19 Safe Activities To Do At Home – DIY Gifts for the Holidays

Staying home has been an adjustment for all of us.

Here are a few ideas to make staying in just as fun going out.

‘Tis the season of giving! This year is finally coming to a close and now is the perfect time to show your friends and family that you have been thinking of them. There is no better gift than one you make yourself. Instead of buying a gift, make your loved ones something special by giving a gift that came from your hands! These DIY gifts are portable and easy to mail so you can keep yourself and your family safe during the holidays.

DIY Gifts for the Holidays

Hot Chocolate Bombs

This DIY project has taken the internet by storm, it is the Hot Chocolate Bomb. The Hot Chocolate Bomb is a fun new way to make hot cocoa. It is a chocolate ball that contains hot chocolate powder and marshmallows inside. Once it has been assembled, all you need is to pour hot water or milk on top of the sphere and your hot cocoa is ready to enjoy! This is a great gift to send to friends and family, it is portable and fun! They are fairly simple to make and are just as fun to put together as they are to drink.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

If you don’t know what gift to give to a friend or family member, a sugar scrub or any other “self-care” item is usually a safe bet. There is no better feeling than pampering yourself and having your body feel taken care of and refreshed. This Peppermint Sugar Scrub DIY from Mom 4 Real will leave your skin feeling smooth and nourished and also give you that holiday feeling with the smell of peppermint.

Homemade Natural Candle

It is time to ditch the ready to buy candles and time to try to make your own. Why, do you ask? Aside from this being a fun project that you can personalize to your own liking, it also makes a great gift. These candles are made from natural ingredients so you don’t have to feel guilty about giving them to your loved ones. You can give these candles as a gift or keep them for yourself. Whatever you decide you will definitely want to try this DIY.

Photo Ornaments

If you are looking for a sentimental gift to give to a loved one, this DIY is perfect for you! In this great DIY from Simple As That, your photo can be turned into an ornament! Photos are great ways to capture beloved memories, they capture important moments that you don’t want to forget. Photo ornaments are a great way to remind your loved one of your favorite memories with them. Your photo ornament will be special to unwrap and will be a special reminder every holiday season of your memories.

Ugly Holiday Sweater

Nothing screams the holiday season like ugly sweaters, because they are everywhere! This DIY is the perfect gift to give your funniest friend, who wouldn’t get a good laugh unwrapping an ugly sweater?! Use your creativity to make this DIY! You can use glitter, print images onto fabric, use paints, add bells and buttons. This truly the gift that keeps on giving and the possibilities for this DIY are endless. Give this as a gag gift, your friends will definitely get a laugh out of it!


Simple As That- Photo Ornaments

100 Days of Real Food- Homemade Natural Candles

Mom 4 Real – Peppermint Sugar Scrub

OwlBBaking – Hot Chocolate Bombs

Avsenik , Klara. “Smoothies inside Mug on White Plate .” Unsplash , 24 Jan. 2019, unsplash.com/photos/CYJP0T5-6xs.

Photography , Siora. “Red and White Candy Cane Lot .” Unsplash , 13 Feb. 2019, unsplash.com/photos/HA8nANYdXE0.

Hall, Rebecca Peterson. “Lighted Candles .” Unsplash , 2019, unsplash.com/photos/aN-zGYlxiCI.

Westfall , Sarandy. “Person Taking Photo of Pictures .” Unsplash , 15 July 2018, unsplash.com/photos/fLKRaBoa4-E.

Cottonbro. “Girl in Red and White Mickey Mouse Long Sleeve Shirt Standing Beside Brown Wooden Table.” Pexels, 9 Dec. 2020, http://www.pexels.com/photo/girl-in-red-and-white-mickey-mouse-long-sleeve-shirt-standing-beside-brown-wooden-table-6139343/.

opened books near croissants
Activities That Can Be Done from HomeUncategorized

COVID-19 Safe Activities To Do At Home – New Hobbies

Staying home has been an adjustment for all of us.

Here are a few ideas to make staying in just as fun going out.

There is no better time to try a new hobby than now. During COVID-19 and the winter season, you will be happy you found new projects to occupy your time. There are so many new hobbies that you may enjoy, so much so, you may just want to incorporate it into your daily routine! After all, it is never too late to learn something new.


Create your own content for social media

Apps like TikTok and Instagram have many viral challenges that you can take part in. Jumping onto social media trends and sharing your photos and videos with friends is a great way to show off your creativity. You just might be the next internet sensation. Give it a try!

Bake treats for your furry friend

Time to break out your cookie cutters! Baking and cooking are some of the best parts of the holiday season. This year, try and show some love to your pets by baking homemade dog treats! Check out a few dog treat recipes from Good Housekeeping. If you don’t have a dog, consider giving this as a holiday gift to your favorite dog lover and their pup!

Get moving with a fitness routine

As much fun as it is to relax on the couch, it is really important to move your body and be active. Try an online yoga class, look up Youtube workouts, or put on your favorite playlist and dance! Test out a few exercises and classes to find a routine that works for you.

Start reading regularly

Don’t scroll just yet! Although reading may have been a little boring and bland to you in the past, it doesn’t mean it’s not good to try again. Reading can be really enjoyable, especially if you find a book on a subject that you actually like. This might be self-help books, fictional novels, or books that will help you advance in your career. Reading is a great way to keep you remind sharp and a good way to disconnect from technology. Check out the Best Books of the Year from Barnes and Noble.

Learn a new language

If you have a little extra time on your hands, learning a new language is a great way to spend it. Knowing multiple languages is a life skill you will be happy you have in your repertoire. Being bilingual or multilingual is great for jobs, making friends, and traveling. There are many great apps you can use nowadays to learn languages, like Duolingo. It is free and easy to use, you can find it on any app store.


Rose, Josh. “Person Taking Photo of Woman.” Unsplash , 4 Nov. 2016, unsplash.com/photos/qWBoBpeOxjo.

Hochgesang, Julian. “Person Molding Clay .” Unsplash , 25 Nov. 2018, unsplash.com/photos/huepD-06_pQ.

Vega, Kike. “Silhouette Photography of Woman Doing Yoga.” Unsplash , 9 Dec. 2018, unsplash.com/photos/F2qh3yjz6Jk.

Peñalba, Fabiola. “Person Reading Book with Cross Legs.” Unsplash , 6 Apr. 2018, unsplash.com/photos/-kl_XvEOqMU.

Okubo, Leonardo Torshiro. “Unknown Person Writing on Chalkboard.” Unsplash , 21 May 2019, unsplash.com/photos/jBSTNenQxok.

Shea, Kari. “Person Lining Assorted-Shaped Cookies on Baking Sheet inside Kitchen.” Unsplash , 26 Nov. 2016, unsplash.com/photos/euGck1ifvp0.

Jacobsson, Jonas. “Bokeh Photography of Open Book .” Unsplash , 4 Feb. 2018, unsplash.com/photos/0FRJ2SCuY4k.

Tingey , Wesley. “Silhouette of Woman Doing Yoga.” Unsplash , 11 June 2019, unsplash.com/photos/zjO7xkCogZM.

crop woman with sandwich in hands
Independent Living SkillsUncategorized

Independent Life Skills: Eating a Balanced Diet

Why is a balanced diet important?

Eating a balanced diet is an important part of living a healthy and long life. A poor diet can lead to obesity and illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.

Individuals with IDDs can have secondary conditions because of their diet. Secondary conditions are additional physical and psychological problems that limit one’s ability to enjoy life. The most common secondary conditions include fatigue, weight problems, constipation, and diarrhea.

person holding sliced vegetable
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Pexels.com


Adequate and Safe Diet

It is important to have a diet that is sufficient in amount and quality. This includes having a variety of foods that favor food preferences and fruits and vegetables. Having three meals a day and snacks throughout the day is the basis for a healthy diet.

Individual Needs

Every diet should be formed around an individual’s needs. Medical conditions and needs should be the top primary. Additionally, it is important to consider secondary conditions when deciding on a specific diet. For example, a low carb or low-fat diet might work well for one individual and not for another. Because of the individual nature of diets, it is highly beneficial to talk to a medical professional to see what works best for you.

Heathy Diet

A diet needs to have a variety of healthy foods. The number of different variations in diets allows for each individual to find what works for them. Commonalties are seen in most diets. For example, most suggest having healthy fats, lots of fruits and vegetables, and a limited amount of sugar. Furthermore, for some healthy eating patterns is all that is needed and not a rigid diet.

Health.gov provides some helpful recommendations for basic guidelines on healthy eating patterns.

Below is a fun video explaining the basics of a healthy meal.

Previous Independent Life Skills Blogs:

Independent Life Skills: Being On Time

Independent Life Skills: Personal Hygiene


Montana Disability & Health Program


Success Stories in the IDD CommunityUncategorized

Success Stories in the IDD Community: Sujeet Desai

Who is Sujeet Desia

Sujeet Desai is a musician who has mastered 7 different instruments. He was also born with Down Syndrome. Desai found his love for music during primary school. His instruments of choice include bass, clarinet, piano, violin, trumpet, drums, and alto saxophone. He started with violin and continued to learn more and more instruments. Desai graduated high school in Syracuse, New York in 2001 with a 4.3 GPA. He then went on to attend the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in South Hadley, Massachusetts. There, he studied Music and Human Services for two years before graduating in 2003. 

Then, he went on to become a teacher’s aide for a local elementary school in the music department. Desai also continued with musical volunteer work after graduation. He now performs in churches, schools, and nursing homes to bring a smile to the faces in his community with his musical talent. 

Exceptional inspiration | Local News | niagara-gazette.com
Source: https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/niagara-gazette.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/90/e90266ba-5424-50f8-bc22-d8ab0cea425f/53ed483da5e92.image.jpg?resize=1200%2C915
Musical Career

Throughout his musical career, he has performed in almost all states of the United States and 13 different countries around the globe because he wants to share his gift with as many people as possible. One of his greatest musical accomplishments was performing in Carnegie Hall on May 20th, 2015 where he received a standing ovation from the crowd. He has received many awards for his talent including World Down Syndrome Day Award, Achievement Award for United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons, and the Thank You Award from the Special Needs Developmental Center in Dubai. 


Aside from awards, he has been recognized in many other ways such as documentaries and interviews. There are two documentaries about him as well as interviews featured on television and in newspapers. The Wall Street Journal featured him as well as Time Magazine. His television interviews took place on Oprah, 20/20, and The View. 

Desai has found much success in the music industry, but also branched out to participate in the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show in 2011. Down Syndrome Foundation hosted the show. There, he received an award for Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy. 

Above all, Sujeet Desai does not his Down Syndrome keep him from being successful or bringing happiness to people around the world with us music.

Watch a brief interview with Sujeet Desai from News 4:

Sujeet Desai’s website can be viewed here




blur bubbles cleaning close up
Independent Living SkillsUncategorized

Independent Life Skills: Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is an important life skill for everyone to learn. As an adult, you are expected to be able to take care of yourself and that includes keeping up with your hygiene. Especially in 2020, the concept of hygiene has become more important than ever in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.


Routines and schedules can be helpful to the development of skills. Schedules can be a visual representation and reminder for tasks that need to be accomplished. Furthermore, a schedule allows for a child to have a reference and increase the probability the hygiene tasks become an everyday routine.

Equally important, is staying consistent with your schedule to create a routine that will stay. For instance, if you decide that your child will take a shower every night after dinner then if possible it is important that you stick to that schedule. Hopefully, if a routine is created then your child will be able to follow it on his/her own without a reminder.

person washing his hand
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Hand Washing

Hand washing is an essential life skill, it promotes good personal hygiene. Creating a visual step list for handwashing can be helpful in the learning process. Starting the learning process with small steps can make it easier for children. Often trying to learn everything at once can be overwhelming and intimidating.

Example List:

  • Turn faucet on
  • Wet hands
  • Put soap on hands
  • Scrub both sides of hands
  • Rinse hands
  • Turn off faucet
  • Dry hands

In addition, lists for hygiene tasks can be beneficial to ensure no steps are missed. Having a visual representation that can be checked as needed allows for a routine to build and the task to be learned. Furthermore, the goal of creating a routine for your child is to become more independent and be able to take care of their own hygiene.

Soul Dogs Services

Soul Dogs, Inc. offers job readiness training that teaches life skills that prepare people for adult life. These skills include personal hygiene, attendance, interpersonal relationships, and more!

Learn More: Soul-Dogs-Inc.org

Previous Independent Life Skills Blogs:

Independent Life Skills: Being On Time