ILO’s April 27, 2020

ILO Families

ILO’s Families Pull Together

Over the past week I’ve been getting in touch with all of ILO’s families. What an amazing group of people we have!

Here’s what I learned during these calls:

  • ILO is truly a community of parents and self-advocates.
  • Parents are grateful for the opportunity for their self-advocates to participate in ILO’s virtual meetings and activities.
  • Parents agree that all the work the ILO staff is doing to stay connected with self-advocates is helping ease their social isolation.
  • The parents also feel there may be stronger connections between the self-advocates when the pandemic is over.
  • The peer-to-peer connection is such an important part of the virtual support. The self-advocates are coming out of their comfort zones to help one another especially with relieving anxiety.
  • All the parents are aware of the extra effort the ILO staff is making with the self-advocates. (The community builders make sure they connect with all the self-advocates in their pods whether it is on GroupMe, FaceTime or one-on-one phone calls.)

From ILO’s inception our families have been integral to our supportive communities. They have helped define our community framework and continue to be actively involved in each POD’s viability.

Upcoming Virtual Family POD Meetings

To carry on our established Family POD Meetings, over the next three weeks we will be hosting Virtual Family POD Meetings via Zoom. Not exactly the same . . . but no one will have to vacuum or clean-up!!

Discussion will include:

  • Family Sharing
  • Community Builder Updates
  • Overview of ILO Virtual Meetings
  • ILO Measurables and SA Schedules
  • New Self-Advocate Resource webpage
  • A virtual project with local fire departments
  • VOTE REMOTE Campaign
  • Dealing with the COVID-19 Outbreak

Please join us, see date and time for each POD below.





DC/Bethesda POD
Monday, April 27th 7:00pm-8:30pm

Zoom Link Will Be Sent By Email

Upper MC POD
Monday, May 4th 7:00pm-8:30pm

Zoom Link Will Be Sent By Email

We Love to Celebrate!

Happy Birthday!

  • Darina
  • Matt G
  • Robert S
  • Ellie
  • Ella

Hello Olive!

Olive continues to share her wisdom with us on social media:


  • The value of routine in reducing anxiety
  • The importance of wearing a mask
  • Using yoga to de-stress!
  • Learning to relax
  • Finding ways to ease social isolation

Thanks for the feedback on our virtual
Georgia Aquarium adventure, Andrea!

3 Strongly Recommended ILO Self-Advocate Weekly Social Activities

Staying Well Emotionally, Mentally and Physically

Group Emotional
Wellness Check-In

  • Dealing with social isolation
  • Managing anxiety, stress, and worry
  • Sharing and caring!

Weekly Virtual POD


Including some life skills training:


  • April – Safety
  • May – Relationship Building

Physical Activity

  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Walks Healthy Eating

Group Emotional Wellness Check-In

Self-Advocates Sharing & Caring


Touch and Feel Virtual Meeting

Sharing our suggestions with each other for coping techniques for feeling anxious, stressed, or worried:

  • Taking Walks, Exercise & Yoga
  • Listening to Music ü  Coloring
  • Playing Video Games
  • Zoom Calls
  • Talking on the phone with loved ones

ILO Community
Developed specifically for ILO

Can We Assist YOU?

During this ‘new normal’ ILO is here to help YOUR family and SELF-ADVOCATE in every way possible.

  • Overwhelmed and don’t know where to go for assistance?
  • Lost your support (day programs, etc.), and need alternatives?
  • Running out of ideas for dealing with social isolation?

ILO is here to help! Please reach out to me directly. Maedi Tanham Carney, ILO Executive Director at

Weekly Virtual POD Meetings:


Learning to Stay Safe!

Gregory, and his Direct Support JJ,
taking a walk near NIH showing how NOT
to protect yourself from COVID-19 germs!
But they are . . .

  • Getting Fresh Air
  • Exercising
  • Social Distancing from Others

Olive, ILO’s new mascot, with her owner Ellie, showing HOW TO properly protect yourself from COVID-19 germs!

ILO Community Resources – Safety

Click the image to open the document!

Social Distancing and Hygiene


Calling 911 & Asking for Help

Handling an Emergency & Kits

Using a Fire Extinguisher

Learning to Deal with Stress & Anxiety:

All three ILO PODs met last week for virtual Zoom TRAINING & SHARING sessions.

All three sessions were well-attended and Self-Advocates did a great job of participating and actively engaging with the group. We learned we need to include the following in making a schedule:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Physical Activity
  • Connecting with Others
  • Learning Something New
  • Doing Something Fun
  • Helping Someone Else
  • Talking to a Family Member, Friend or Therapist About Our Feelings

Learning to Deal with Stress & Anxiety:

ILO’s self-advocates had a chance to express themselves and their feelings during the safety meeting. As a group, we took the time to acknowledge the things that we are grateful for. Here is a list of questions that we asked:

  • What am I grateful for?
  • Who am I checking on?
  • When am I going outside?
  • How am I staying active?

The self-advocates all agreed that they were grateful for each other. Staying connected via zoom has strengthened the Rockville pod in so many ways.

ILO Community Resources

Dealing with Anxiety:
Making a Schedule

Dealing with Anxiety:
Dealing with Anxiety:
Staying Balanced

Had a lovely day –
checked in with all but one of my entire ILO crew. Grateful!


Staying Physically Active

Physically Active with Create Calm Yoga

Sundays in May, 1:30 pm – You MUST Register (but
only once)

FREE! to ILO Self-Advocates and Community Group Self-Advocates

Join Us!

ILO has gifted ILO self-advocates with free Sunday Virtual Yoga classes through May, provided by Create Calm professional instructors. Many of our self-advocates participate in this virtual event. Check the ILO Calendar (

Calendar & RSVP Reminders

Please check the ILO website calendar for upcoming virtual and rescheduled events. Our calendar ( is updated on a weekly basis.

We have made the decision to postpone most of our special events to a later date in 2020 – this includes Social Sundays, Parent Presentations, Hike, Bike & BBQ (rescheduled for October 10), and our Beers and Cheers Fundraiser.

SPECIAL NOTE: Regarding Social Sunday Bowling Bowlero – we hope to be able to start Bowling up again soon but at this point it may be the Fall. We are looking at other options like virtual BINGO, trivia, etc. We’ll let you know within the next week.­

In the Meantime – We Stay

Darina Shares Her Stuffed Fish with Banana Leaves Masterpiece

Self-Advocates Go On a Virtual Flamingo Adventure

We Need Your Help Now! Will You Help Support ILO?

The services that we provide to our self-advocates are largely funded by fundraising events, and by donations. During this time we are not able to hold these events. Please consider a donation to help us continue providing support!

 The CARE Act permits eligible individual taxpayers who do not itemize deductions to take an above-the-line deduction of up to $300 for qualified charitable contributions made during such taxable year, except for contributions to a
non-operating private foundation or to a donor advised fund.


If you are an ILO Community Group member, please be sure to JOIN ILO’s
Private Facebook Group to connect with other members.
ILOCommunity Group- Private
If you are not an ILO Community Group member, please go to: to learn more.

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