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Dr. Krysti's Parenting Wisdom & Tips - #5

Helping you live the joys and trials of raising a child with special needs

I’m Dr. Krysti DeZonia, Ed.D., BCBA-D, TERI’s Director of Education & Clinical Services. My son Jarred was born with multiple disabilities, so I know the challenges parents face (and the rewards they receive) when raising a child with special needs.

I have 45 years of experience working with children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. I also have a Master’s degree in Special Education with an Autism focus and a Doctoral degree in education. Helping people with special needs is my life work.

I’d like to share the things I’ve learned and implemented here at TERI and provide ideas that might be of help to you along the way.

Watch for my blogs here on the TERI website and on social media. Remember you’re not alone!

Now for my fifth tip!

Meaningful contributions: Using a time bank as a form of currency


A time bank, as its name implies, is a system wherein time serves as a form of currency. For instance, if a person spends an hour running an errand for someone unable to drive, they earn one hour in the time bank. This earned hour can then be used to pay for a service provided by another time bank member, such as a haircut.

The concept is relatively straightforward, but its application in social services work makes it especially intriguing. Currently, the provision of services for individuals with developmental disabilities is based on deficits - the more "problems" a person has, the more services they receive. Consequently, when funding is reduced, these individuals lose access to much-needed services.

In contrast, a time bank operates on the principle that everyone has something valuable to contribute to their community. The core tenets of this system include:

  • Recognizing that everyone is an asset

  • Acknowledging that some work cannot be assigned a monetary value

  • Emphasizing that assistance is based on reciprocity rather than financial transactions

  • Promoting the importance of social networks for enhancing quality of life

  • Upholding respect for all human beings

To benefit individuals with special needs, consider establishing a time bank within your network of friends and family, with the person with special needs as a key participant. This approach not only expands their social circle but also offers them the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to their community.

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