Abilities United launched “Solutions, Navigating Life” podcast designed for people with developmental disabilities but appropriate for all people.

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A team of Abilities United managers met to discuss how to provide better mental health services and fill the needs of participants and families who have restricted and overwhelmingly booked schedules. After brainstorming a variety of options, the idea of a podcast providing useful health and wellness information to the participants would be a way to reach them when and how they are available and provide them the information they need when they can and need to access it.  The topics would be common issues such as how to handle transitions, anxiety, change, etc.

In discussing this concept,  the staff also realized that these are universal issues to all people and that the podcast could benefit the entire community as well the people with developmental disabilities and their families that Abilities United serves.  Charlie Weidanz, CEO of Abilities United states, “The unexpected benefit of this podcast is that more people can be included in receiving the knowledge and expertise of Abilities United staff and other featured community experts in early intervention, education, therapy, vocational training, and employment,  all the areas that Abilities United specialized in.”

The podcast, named “Solutions, Navigating Life” will bring the expertise to the people any time, anywhere, as opposed to them having to come to the Abilities United campus in Palo Alto. Soheila Razban, Vice President of Programs, stated, “Offering wide variety of quality services at our agency, and thinking about strategies to take the next steps brought us to the idea of podcast where we can bring everyone together as a community and find solutions to the common problems while we build a stronger support structure.”

The “Solutions, Navigating Life” podcast is hosted by Abilities United staff member and Menlo Park resident, Andrea Throndson. Andrea is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in grief, disabilities, and addictions. She worked at Kara, a nonprofit grief counseling agency for 5 years while obtaining her licensing hours. She also works with Community Health Awareness Council in Mountain View and the Addictions Institute in Menlo Park. She has a private practice in Palo Alto. Andrea began her career at Abilities United 15 years ago as an Independent Living Skills instructor and Employment Services trainer. In 2007 she became the Abilities United Community Connections Developer, a new service designed to provide community engagement opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.  To achieve this goal, Andrea formed 50 partnerships with local non-profit organizations (Avenidas,  NCEFT, Stevenson House, YMCA, etc.) who provide volunteer jobs and community activities for adult participants of Abilities United. Andrea also produces our television productions with the Mid-Peninsula Media Center.  Before coming to Abilities United, Andrea managed the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford. In her spare time, Andrea teaches yoga at the local YMCA.