Barrier-Free's Life Skills & Social Studio opened on June 1st and has been jam-packed with energy and great times!
The Studio uses an integrated-arts model to bring life skill and social skill learning to life while maximizing engagement.
Conversations 101 is a Studio segment that blends social skill learning with improvisational acting.
How it works:
The activity begins as a whole group, with all participants in a circle. Two participants model a "good conversation," passing a ball back and forth with the dialogue exchanges. After observing we discuss, "what just happened that made that a 'good conversation'?"
Next, "bad conversations" are modeled, i.e., one-word responses, emotional dumping, being distracted. After observing we discuss, "what just happened that made that a 'bad conversation'?"
We brainstorm conversation strategies together. Ideas include using a person's clothes to spark conversation, finding mutual interests, or talking about universal topics like the weather.
Time to employ our skills! Participants pair off and begin conversating. Each partner pair passes an "imaginary ball" between them as the dialogue exchanges. Partners rotate three times.
Finally, we circle back up as a whole group and process. "What went well? What was difficult? What strategies helped you?"
Conversations 101 is a fast-paced activity, keeping participants engaged as they actively participate in their learning and practice. These conversations are then reinforced and referenced throughout the Studio session as we converse during breaks and other activities.
The Life Skills & Social Studio serves neurodiverse adults 18+ with no age cap, including those with intellectual/developmental disabilities and autism.
We are located in vibrant Historic Downtown Sykesville, at 7520 Main St #103 Sykesville, MD 21784.
The Studio is currently welcoming new members! Get started today!
Everyone makes decisions everyday. Some decisions are small while others are large.
Sometimes we need help from others to help us make decisions.
There are decision-making principles to keep in mind when making a decision with your team.
•Everyone has the right to make their own decision(s) especially about things that affect them.
•Every effort should be made to support people to make their decisions: This means you're allowed to have help in making your decisions.
•Capacity should be assumed and is decision specific: This means that a person is assumed to be competent no matter what the circumstance.
•Decision making is a skill we learn: Decision making is something we practice to get better at. So, when we have large decisions we are able to decide easier.
People have the right to:
Sample Decision-Making Agreements can be found here:
Decision-Making Agreement 1
Decision-Making Agreement 2
Charting the LifeCourse provides a decision making portfolio. It can be found here:
LifeCourse Decision-Making Portfolio
Charting the LifeCourse also provides an assessment to figure out what supports are needed to make decisions in all areas of your life. It can be found here:
LifeCourse Decision-Making Assessment
Sometimes when we have to make a decision it is helpful to make a pros and cons list. It's helps if you weigh the positives and negatives to each solution. It's best if you pick the best choice for you. It also helps if you don't put off or procrastinate in making the decision. A decision-making worksheet can be found below:
Why is this important?
•This is YOUR life. You get to make the decisions.
•You can lead your plan
•You can have help/someone else can lead
•You can have family advocates
•You can have training to help you advocate
•You have the right not to have negative consequences (effect) by speaking up
•You may choose how long and how often you meet
Expectations Matter : My Life, My Choice, My Plan 2 hour module
Person-Centered Planning Training
Shared Support Maryland, Inc.
SYKESVILLE, MD—The Life Skills & Social Studio is coming to Downtown Sykesville as an extension of Barrier-Free—a non-profit, disability service organization that provides inclusive art, self-advocacy, and social programming to the community for adults with disabilities.
The Life Skills & Social Studio was created out of a need for more creative and innovative programming throughout the Howard, Carroll, Frederick, and Montgomery county areas. “Our premise surrounds neurodiversity” states Britt Burr, original founder of Barrier-Free. “Our goal is to combine elements of social practice and integration along with expressive arts opportunities.”
“It combines the best of both worlds” replies Lauren Burr, Executive Director, “It will have the inclusive practices we know and love along with that social club feel.” “With the added bonus of life skills heavily sprinkled in!” Adds Britt.
Both Lauren and Britt encourage Sykesville and the surrounding communities to join them at The Studio’s Open Houses on Sunday, May 16th from 1-3pm and Tuesday, May 18th from 4-6pm. “Everyone has been really welcoming to us so far and we’d love the opportunity to meet them face-to-face. Just drop in and say hello and check out the space.” says Lauren.
Interested parties are encouraged to check out The Life Skills & Social Studio at Barrier-Free’s website at www.BarrierFreeMD.com. “Please reach out to us with any questions.” states Britt, “We want to make this affordable and accessible for all.”
Britt and Lauren can be reached at info@BarrierFreeMD.com or welcome a text/call anytime at 301-799-8669.
Join us at an upcoming Info Session or Open House.
Jared Parrish is an all-star Barrier-Free"er" who participates in our Inclusive Theater Company B, social clubs, and numerous classes.
Recently, Jared played Robert in "I Do, I Think," Co. B's original show that premiered live on Youtube in March 2021.
In addition to Barrier-Free, Jared attends post-secondary school, rides horses, participates in Special Olympics, and more!
Thank you Jared for being willing to be a spotlighted Barrier-Free actor!
View the video interview or read the full transcript below.
Question 1: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm Jared Parrish. I'm 20 years old and I live in Westminster, Maryland with my parents.
Question 2: When did you become involved in Barrier-Free?
I joined Barrier-Free in September of 2019 and participate in theater group, social club, and classes.
Question 3: What is your favorite part of creating our original shows?
Right now, since Barrier-Free is virtual, it's fun to choose costumes and watch everyone on screen with their costumes. Everyone has a lot of fun together!
Question 4: Do you have a favorite character you've played?
I like playing Robert in "I Do, I Think," right now since he's funny because he has trouble staying awake.
"I Do, I Think" begins at 44:48.
Question 5: How has Barrier-Free impacted your life?
I've made new friends and also enjoy the theater productions. I even got to virtually meet people from England last year doing our drama productions.
Question 6: What interests do you have outside of Barrier-Free?
I attend post-secondary school in Carroll County. I also ride horses, do Special Olympics, watch TV, and read books.
Question 7: What would you tell someone that is interested in becoming involved in Barrier-Free programs?
I would tell them that Barrier-Free is a lot of fun and everyone is really friendly so you should definitely think about joining. Everyone has a place in Barrier-Free!
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The Barrier-Free blog exists as a space to share Barrier-Free news, helpful information, and a creative sharing space.