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Navigating Life as we Know It

Storytelling Podcasts

Navigating Live as we Know It seeks to build an educational and entertaining way to help the people around those with Special Needs better find the way to live their best, most self-determined life possible, and how to manage the challenges of the systems

Navigating Live as we Know It seeks to build an educational and entertaining way to help the people around those with Special Needs better find the way to live their best, most self-determined life possible, and how to manage the challenges of the systems


United States


Navigating Live as we Know It seeks to build an educational and entertaining way to help the people around those with Special Needs better find the way to live their best, most self-determined life possible, and how to manage the challenges of the systems








Being Here Now, an introduction to NLAWKI's Mindful Moments

I'm probably showing my age...but some of you might remember the routine of "defragging" your computer to allow it to work more quickly and efficiently. It was once described to be as allowing your computer to take some time to put files away and "clean up" it's desk. This was it was able to work better. Well, wouldn't it be nice to defrag your mind on occasion? Just to put away the loose ends and clutter that we tend to accumulate and bog down our brain and sap our energy? Well, you can...


42. The Right Place To Land - Finding the Best Nest

"There's no place like home!" In the Wizard of Oz Dorothy said these words and clicked the heels of her ruby slippers three times. Instantly she was transported back to her farm home in Kansas. This makes for an enduring story...but getting into the right home presents a little more of a challenge today. Especially if you live with an intellectual and/or developmental disability. You have many obstacles to contend with, such whether you want a roommate(s), where you will,...


41. Forgiveness: The Pathway from Emotional Pain to Growth

Everyone has heard the phrase "forgive and forget." That isn't always possible, or even advisable. It is important to remember. To recall emotional pain that has played a destructive role in the course of your life and in your relationships. With these memories it becomes even more important to forgive, or to ask forgiveness, so you may convert the hidden pain your have experienced in your past from suffering to growth. A very empathic person, Shannon has accumulated great knowledge and...


40. Finding The Emerald City

Remember Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz? She had an impossible task. First retrieve the broom stick of the Wicked Witch and deliver it to the Wizard of Oz who would grant her wish to return to her home in Kansas. Doesn't life feel like that sometimes? Impossible task? Improbable goals? Flying Monkeys all around you? Attempting to find and secure affordable, community based, appropriately supported housing during a skyrocketing real estate market makes snatching a witch's broom stick look easy,...


39. Letting Go and Letting Grow

It's hard to let go of things...and I have a garage filled with items I should have let go of years ago. But I keep thinking, maybe I'll find a use for this "thing." But I hardly if ever do. It is much different letting go of people, but it is natural and necessary when raising children to "let them go" in order to "let them grow." We learn by facing new life challenges, often making mistakes in the process, but learning from our experiences! I have personally made my share of mistakes and...


38. A Short Bridge to Inclusion

Bridges create opportunities for connection. They empower travel to visit people and places that might otherwise be inaccessible. And they often unite people together to pursue common goals. Some are span enormous distances while others are measured in feet and inches. Today’s show is about one of the world’s smallest bridges. But it may be one of the most important bridges you will ever cross. The “bridge” we explore today is named Zavikon, a company founded by our guest, Rebecca...


37. The Risks of "Integrated Care"

The Space Shuttle, with over 2.5 million parts, 230 miles of wire and 1,060 plumbing valves was once described as the most complex "machine" ever made by man. For successful results it's mission requirements complex systems and a flawless degree of accountability were essential. Flaws in those complex systems resulted in the disasters of Columbia and Discovery. Our health care system, experienced from a patient perspective, appears to rival the Space Shuttle in complexity. But in the case of...


36. Charting The Labyrinth of Planning and Services

Most of us at one time or another have driven down a dark road and found ahead of us a deer transfixed, staring into our headlights? Have you ever felt like you have something in common with the deer? In the disability community we face a labyrinth of rules, regulations, benefit levels, service options, waivers, forms and...well you get the picture. It all looks more like and obstacle course than a path forward. It's in unchartered waters like these that a navigator, someone who knows and...


35. A Proven Recipe for Inclusive Employment

"You can't age out of being in a family" according to Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Executive Director of the Friendship Circle in Bloomfield Michigan. Over the past 27 years as children within the Friendship Circle have grown so has the capacity of Friendship Circle to meet their employment needs and enhance the quality of their lives. The Soul Cafe and Soul Studio, launched in 2016, are located inside the Friendship Circle’s Farber Center where they provide a loving and inclusive environment that...


34. A Party with a Purpose - Coordinating Goals and Support for a Self Determined Life

Today’s episode is an interview with Annette Downey, the Executive Director of Community Living Services, an organization that provides Independent Support Coordinators, (abbreviated as ISCs) for Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Kent Counties in Michigan. And as of July 2021, CLS has expanded their services to Ottawa County. For non-Michiganders tuning in I think you will find this interview relevant as well. No matter where you live in the United States or its territories, people with...


Special 4. The Art of Conversation via Chat Chains

We're back and we've got a new trick! NLAWKI Returns a couple weeks ahead of our OFFICIAL SEASON 2 START DATE with a special release about a new way to learn conversation skills - CHAT CHAINS! Check out the links below and make sure you tune in to our official Season 2 startup on the 28th of July! Most neurotypical individuals learn to communicate naturally as we grow and mature both verbally and through body language. Individuals with autism and various other developmental disabilities...


33. Nothing About Me Without Me 2; Finding Strength in Circles

Imagine growing older...but never growing up. Never being allowed to make decisions or choices that influence your future, or bring you happiness. Never being able to "grab the brass ring" because the person(s) who make decisions on your behalf think it's either too risky, or beyond your ability to achieve. What a small and lonely world to live in! Today we present the second installment of a two part episode on supported decision making. We discuss the value of presuming competence...not...


32. Nothing About Me Without Me; Understanding the Dignity of Risk Pt 1

We all seek advice from time to time. Especially when confronted with a challenge that is unique to us. Sometimes that trusted advisor is a friend who has expertise in solving the problem we face, or a professional who can help us navigate our way to a desired outcome. And if all else fails, today we have YouTube tutorials in just about everything from how to open a jar of pickles, to Do It Yourself brain surgery! Help and support pervades our environment, if only we seek it. Seeking support...


31. Finding a Vision for Community's Future

Community (Cambridge Dictionary) “all the people who live in a particular area, or a group of people who are considered as a unit because of their shared interests or background.” Vision (Cambridge Dictionary) “the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. could develop in the future and to plan for this.” Everything starts with a Vision that grows through collaborative thinking and culminates in the birth of a new Community! Today we hear from Jennifer Knapp, Executive...


30. How to Bridge The Gap Between Disability and Employment

Everyone benefits when all are included! Many of us have experienced challenges obtaining employment. If you have a developmental or intellectual disability those challenges take on a whole new dimension. You have skills. You have abilities and interests. You want to “give back” to your community and be accepted for who you are. But too often the world does not understand your value… or what you have to offer. Today we speak with Dirk Bakhuysen with Beyond26 and Rev. Bill Gaventa who...


29. Let's talk about Disability, Housing, and the Awesome Power of Coalitions

Our culture places great emphasis on rugged individualism. Our heroes and role models are risk takers who face overwhelming odds and obstacles but, in the end, through grit and determination come out on top. They prevail! (with considerable help from those working behind the scenes) But behind every great and lasting accomplishment is a group of individuals who collaborate and create. They identify a host of challenges and obstacles and use their creative, collaborative genius to craft...


28. Let's Talk About Changing your Dreams...

Everyone wants to live a beautiful life, but in every life we are faced with challenges. Many of those challenges involve processing grief over the loss of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, or the loss of the dreams we had set for our lives. For parents providing care for children with developmental and intellectual disabilities there exists a whole new level of stress and unrecognized grief that can shatter our dreams and blind us to the beauty of life that surrounds us. With her new...


27. You Know You're thinking about it: Legal Planning & Disability

Legal planning is intimidating, but nobody wants to leave others on shaky ground. The key is a Well Laid Foundation, and friend of the show Dan Blauw is here to help us understand some of the important parts of that foundation building. Please stop by this episode's BLOG for further information. Take a look at some of the other episodes from DANIEL L. BLAUW, PLC, Attorneys and Counselors at Law Creative Housing Options with Dan Blauw What are ABLE accounts and how can they help you? with...


26. Exploring Autism Pt IV - What's going on age 11 and up?

Part 4 of our Exploring Autism Series digs into what happens after 10 years old? As usual our friends at Brains give us plenty of amazing information, and there is a followup powerpoint ON OUR BLOG so stop on by and follow along! This is our last interview with Brains for Season 1, but if there is something you'd like us to investigate, send us an email at


25. Let's Chart a Life Course Pt 2

We return with our 2nd episode about Charting the life course, a more intensive way to plan for the future that is applicable to ANYONE! Please follow along on OUR BLOG and let us know if you have anything else you'd like us to research by emailing