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journey skills

Katie Sweeney Podcast with Journey Skills - CO/LAB Theater Group

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Katie Sweeney Podcast with Journey Skills - CO/LAB Theater Group

The world gets smaller and smaller for our Autism and Developmentally Disabled communities, and we continue on the journey with Debra Caldow of Journey Skills, which is based in England. Debra has a new Podcast with my BBW (Beautiful Broadway Wife) Katie Sweeney:

Journey Skills Podcast - Collaborating for the Future with Katie Sweeney of CO/LAB Theater Group

In this episode, Katie Sweeney, a parent and board member of the CO/LAB Theater Group in New York, talks about her individual journey and the role musical theater has played not only in her life but also her son’s life.

Katie talks about CO/LAB and how they help individuals with developmental disabilities change the way they see themselves and, through reaching out to the wider community, change the way others see them as well. Here collaboration is about bringing people together and using everyone’s individual strengths to create something more than one person alone can create. Katie also talks about the wider impact that finding and building a collaborative community around her son has had when it comes to planning and imagining what the future might be like.



We have a vision for our daughter, and we want to provide a central hub for like-minded parents and carers. There is an assumption that our children are at the crossroads: left to their own devices they won’t achieve independence or success in their terms; but given the right forethought and input they will be able to reach a certain level of independence and purpose. We live in the land of hope, determination and optimism.
— Debra Caldow of Journey Skills

Other Journey Skills Podcast include:

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Podcast with Journey Skills: "Possibilities with Mike Sweeney of Carousel 51"

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Podcast with Journey Skills: "Possibilities with Mike Sweeney of Carousel 51"

I met Debra Caldow of Journey Skills via Alison Berkley of Invictus Enterprises, and Alison did a Podcast with Debra here.

Debra is based on the Southeast coast of England in Kent, and they position their Podcast and Blog as:

“We have a vision for our daughter, and we want to provide a central hub for like-minded parents and carers – a place to find resources that will help develop skills around purpose, relationships and daily living skills. Young people with additional needs can achieve many great things, and we want to help them on their path to greater independence.  We aim to provide practical resources to parents and carers to make the journey a bit easier.”

It’s interesting to hear the comparisons and contrast of USA and England for Autism services, and here is my first Podcast (22 minutes):

Podcast Episode 52. Rather than waiting until we have to act the better option is to start exploring what is already out there and start actively working towards creating solutions. This is exactly what this week’s podcast guest Mike Sweeney is doing.

Mike talks about the various projects that he has become involved in as he looks towards finding a community for his son Dustin to live in when he is ready for independent living.

Mike talks about how he has moved from thinking of housing as being the most important focus of his efforts to the realization that work would as he puts it “changes peoples perspective”.

He also discusses how the system in the USA is changing towards young people with additional needs being given more control over their own futures through what is known as self-direction. Mike also reminds us how important integration is in terms of ensuring that our young person with additional needs can have an independent future even when we are no longer around.

Although Mike’s journey is not a unique one, there is much to learn from the way he is navigating his way through the challenges. Listening to Mike’s story will help you as you plan ahead for your own son or daughter’s future independence.
— Debra Caldow of Journey Skills - Kent, England

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