Meet Julia

©2008 Kimberly McGuiness
Julia is the sole inspiration behind this blog and its creation. It's through her life's journey and experiences that we have come to know that every day is a unique blessing and should be celebrated to it's fullest, from the smallest accomplishments to the biggest. So..........

Who is Julia? 
  • She is smart & funny
  • She is 28 years old
  • She graduated May 2011
  • Loves to be with Dad
  • Only child in family
  • Likes to travel
  • Likes to help with any project
  • Likes books, learning to read
  • Likes learning on the computer
  • Likes to participate in Special Olympics
  • Loves going to school
  • Likes to spend quiet time with Mom
  • Likes art, to draw and paint with watercolors
  • Likes getting mail and sending cards to people
  • Likes to be outside
  • Likes to go shopping
  • Particular about her clothes
  • Likes to eat out
  • Likes playing in the water
  • Likes boating
  • Likes watching baseball, football and Nascar
  • Like photography and taking pictures with her phone
  • Likes gardening and taking pictures of the sunflowers she grows
  • Likes to volunteer and help people
  • She is a good worker and dreams of having a job
  • Likes going to social activities with her autism group and DIGS
  • Likes playing frizz bee
  • She is Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • She is Moderately Intellectually Delayed
  • She is Speech/Language Impaired
  • She is Autistic

What are Julia’s strengths?
  • Always has a smile, her spirit and love are infectious
  • Pays attention to visual details
  • Likes to help around the house
  • Arts, crafts and building things (putting things together and being creative)
  • Sports (being physically active and part of a team)
  • Sensitive to others
  • Physically strong
  • Willing to learn
  • Good Worker
  • Autism Group and other social activities through DIGS
  • Doesn’t forget a thing
  • Uses a variety of communication strategies (sign language, picture symbols, written language, text messaging)

What are Julia’s successes?
  • Ray A. Kroc Award
  • Spirit Award
  • Diploma
  • First place ribbon for her photography at a local fair in the animal category
  • Has many ribbons/medals from Special Olympics
  • Can fold and put away own clothes
  • Can make independent choices
  • Have numerous principals’ awards
  • Have several soccer trophies/medals
  • Artwork has been displayed for public viewing
  • Is good at operating a computer
  • Can clean her bedroom by herself
  • Can make her bed by herself
  • Gets dressed independently & makes choices about her clothing
  • Can make/cook a small simple meal independently for herself
  • Can do her own laundry and other home chores

What are Julia’s greatest challenges?
  • Dealing with unexpected, Anxiety
  • Some reluctance to doing things on demand when the proper visual supports, communication or explanation is not in place or has been introduced.
  • Inability to move forward once “stuck” on a particular topic of interest
  • English Language, Communicating with unfamiliar partners
  • Retaining previously learned information or skills when consistence and proper communication is not present
  • Processing new information, when visual cues/tasks list/communication is not present, including an interpreter
  • Proper alignment and control of eye muscles and eye contact
  • Sensory Integration, doesn’t like the touch/feel of things with stiff fur like doll hair
  • The impact of her disabilities in life skills and work opportunities, living with Deaf/Autism
  • Professionals in community/work place setting ignorant to her communication and learning needs and who lack proper training
  • The fear of being without a job or being taken advantage of while on a job or in a work environment.

What supports are needed for Julia?
  • A supportive inner circle team to monitor her needs and they are met appropriately
  • Staff with quality expertise in sign language
  • Communication supports (sign language, picture communication symbols, text messaging,etc)
  • Establishing friendships
  • Increase receptive/expressive sign skills/knowledge for success in the work place
  • Opportunities to be included in the community
  • Use of assistive technology to perform life skills, (her current phone and purchase of iPad in the future)
  • Have a routine which is structured yet flexible
  • Environment which promotes parent involvement
  • Opportunities to participate in variety of community activities
  • In depth training for work opportunities with a job coach having qualified sign language communication skills and knowledge Julia requires to be successful

What are the dreams for Julia?
  • Have meaningful employment
  • Volunteering in her local community
  • Expand her ability for communication
  • To learn/comprehend the English language
  • To travel, explore areas outside of her box
  • Have a circle of friends that know her and who help her succeed in a positive way
  • To become independent to the best of her abilities
  • To be active in the community
  • To be able to communicate clearly her own dreams and desires
  • To explore every option to maximize her learning and work capabilities
  • To live independently as possible in an English speaking community


Julia has a great desire to be a part of the group and does not want to be singled out. Therefore, a cooperative learning environment with the openness to try anything and everything works best for her. After all, no determination has been made as to her full potential. Due to Julia’s range of needs including, her language and communication mode, and academic level, opportunities for direct interaction with qualified professional personnel and appropriate socialization among peers are critical for her participation in work and community functions. As Julia moves forward, effective communication and consistency on learning will maximize her chances for a smoother transition towards independence. Professionals must strive to provide the necessary supports for communication, as allowable/directed by law to help Julia become successful in whatever opportunity she is being considered for in the community workforce.

Prepared by Kimberly McGuiness, Julia's Mother