Most people with developmental disabilities now live in the community – with their families, in group homes, with foster care providers, in supported living situations, or on their own. Living in the community has many positive benefits but also many potential risks. Many people with developmental disabilities do not understand the dangers of legal substances like nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine. They may know very little about illegal drugs. They may also lack important preventative skills like recognizing dangerous situations and people and knowing how to say no and resist harmful temptations. They may participate in a limited range of healthy activities and have a small social support network of friends. Most of the current drug prevention programs are too abstract, fast-paced and text-based for people with developmental disabilities.
The Resisting Dangerous Drugs program is designed for people with developmental disabilities. Video lessons accompanied with easy to read worksheets and audio stress management exercises make this an ideal program for people with limited reading skills. The program is designed to be done together – by you and the person with developmental disabilities. In the program we call the caregiver – parent, direct support staff, advocate, or friend – the LEARNING PARTNER. The person with a disability is called the LEARNER. Together, both LEARNING PARTNER and LEARNER go through each section of the program. There are seven section that you do together. Each section consists of several lessons. Each lesson will have a short video program followed by a worksheet that is done together. At the end of each section, we have a short mindfulness-based stress management exercise for both of you to do. We also have a downloadable MP3 mindfulness audio exercise that can be downloaded for you and the LEARNER to use at other times in the day.
The very first section is for you, the LEARNING PARTNER. In this section we provide background information and instructional strategies (for example role-playing) for you to use with the LEARNER. Your main role as the LEARNING PARTNER is to complete the program activities together including the mindfulness activities, to practice the role-playing situations, and to give the LEARNER feedback.
Dr. Martin R. Sheehan, integrates a background in research psychology, Direct Instruction, special education, and media development. He is the owner of Double S Instructional Systems and has received federal funding for over 15 National Institutes of Health Small Business grant projects.
He has served as the Principal Investigator for projects on improving anger management for adults with disabilities, positive behavior supports for educators who work with challenging students, abuse prevention, dangerous drug prevention, nutrition, weight loss and exercise, leisure, and future planning programs for individuals with developmental disabilities.
For 12 years he worked as an administrator in charge of programs for high school students with developmental disabilities. At that time he developed and supervised classrooms for students with autism and other developmental disabilities who exhibited severe acting out behaviors.
He also has worked in the past as a therapist for a local counseling center and specialized in helping individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities and also with helping parents with their difficult children.
He is a certified DIR "Floortime" Provider -- an approach that emphasizes following the child's lead and helping them learn to self-regulate their behaviors.