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Adaptive Ballet in the San Francisco Bay Area (cross-posted like a madperson) [20 Mar 2007|11:24am]

Hey, ya'll. I'm currently working with a student with autism and, after watching her on the safety bar of our classroom trampoline, have gotten the idea in my head that she could really benefit from an adaptive ballet class. See, we joke about her having rubberbands for bones for two reasons: one is her extreme flexibility and the other is her inability or unwillingness to stand straight (she loves to lean or twist herself or do almost anything but). Assuming it's an inability, the teacher in the classroom supposes she just might not have that centerline concept down. Assuming it's an unwillingness, she might not realize the benefits or the fun of standing up straight.

Of course, it's up to her whether or not she wants to change all that (oh, she's 7 by the way), but either way, I thought that adaptive ballet would be a good thing to try, see if she's interested.

Unfortunately, everything google is showing me is on the East Coast (Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, Boston) and we live out here on the Left Coast. San Jose, California, to be exact. Does anyone know of any resources out here that I might be able to take advantage of?
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Intro post [03 Aug 2006|10:36pm]

Hi everyone,
Thanks for allowing me to join this community. My name is Jennifer, and I manage a domestic violence program. Its a new postion for me, prior to this I ran a homeless program...but I went to school and whatnot to work in DV so its a bit of a homecoming for me and I am really glad to be back in this field.

Anywho, thats me and I look forward to getting to know all of you :-)
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Interview Help needed [07 Jul 2006|08:48pm]

I need some help here. I have just been asked back for a follow up interview. They want me to bring a disc with a 20-30 power point mock presentation. The problem? I can decide on a topic. The interview will be this week, so I'd like to get the thing completed by Monday so I have a few days to practice. The agency is a foster care agency. The trainings would be to parents/staff/foster parents. Topics I could do: early intervention, typical child development, medically fragile children, drug/alcohol issues/understanding the Family Service Plan.

Suggest a topic, please!

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A question... [09 Nov 2005|05:34pm]

[ mood | confused ]

Since working with the mentally disabled, I've seen some pretty disgusting things relating to personal and residential cleanliness. As a result, I think I've become somewhat obsessive-compulsive with washing my hands, wiping down anything I touch in my home with Colorox wipes (before I've washed my hands -- like doorknobs, faucets, etc), and doing general cleaning with large concentrations of bleach. Has anyone else had this experience? I'm afraid that it's becoming an obsession. With the amount of germs the ladies bring into their home from their day programs, it's definately nessecary at the residence...but at my home?

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Update: [06 Nov 2005|01:35am]

Debbie passed away last Thursday. I just found out today. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye, and I won't be able to be at the funeral, since I have to go back to school.

Thank you for anyone who was thinking of her and us.
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Prayers? [01 Oct 2005|11:29pm]

don't normally do this... but this is a special case.

I work with a lady who has severe mental and physical disabilities. I don't like her much, she is gross and her personality clashes with mine. But I love her, and she's God's child, and she is going to die this week unless there's a miracle.

She recently became very sick, aspirated pnuemonia, vomiting, infections, and most recently a staph variant infection that antibiotics cannot help. She's been sick for weeks, in and out of the hospital - mostly in. She has never been easy to feed, and being so sick it's pretty much impossible. This week the doctors tried to insert a gastronomy tube, and failed. I believe they have even tried some sort of colon tube (how that works I have no idea) and that failed too. From what I learned today, there are no options left for her. Something to do with her particular anatomy that makes a g-tube impossible. I'm no physician, so I can't give proper details. Plus, I've been away all month and just found all this out today.

She is going to starve to death unless something miraculous happens.

Please pray for Debbie, and the staff who work with her. This is very hard for us right now.
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Beyond the norm of "weird" [14 Aug 2005|11:53pm]

Okay, so a bit of a different thing here.

A lot of weird things can and do happen, almost anything, at work. We know this. People freak out, weird medical issues can and do come up, whatever can go wrong really WILL go wrong. But this was so beyond the pale, so bizzare.

Tonight a man parked himself in front of House 4 (not my house). He apparently decided it would be a good place to live, and just sat down on the patio and refused to move. Just a guy off the street (the manager in charge said he looked like he might be living on the streets). Eventually she had to call the cops to remove him.

Now, an institution of disabled and psychotic clients wouldn't be my first choice of a place to live. For one thing, the decor is quite medical. And even if I figured it might be a good place, a house with residents who have major psychotic issues would be my LAST pick.

Geez, some people.
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And there's more... [01 Aug 2005|05:52pm]

What a wonderful weekend.

In addition to being relief house staff, I'm also the centre's lifeguard. They have a tiny, ancient pool that the folks can swim around in. There's just one guard, me. And they were desperate to get me.

The pool stinks. It's ancient. The spinal boards are scary and shabby, and have no headrests. There's missing tiles, sharp debris on the bottom. There's a perpetual leak which leaves a puddle on the deck. And what scared me the most, there's a couple missing covers. One is a cover over a jet. the whole thing is missing, and there's a gaping hole in the pool wall, and an exposed pipe. There's also another uncovered pipe, though it doesn't seem to be an intake or outtake jet. Another of the jet covers is in disrepair, with tiles around it missing. I'm very afraid someone is going to get his or her hand stuck in one of the pipes.

In my professional judgment, I deemed the pool unfit to be opened for the past two weeks. I've billed 'em for both shifts, because our collective agreement specifies that if I come in and am not needed through no fault of my own, they have to pay me at least part of the hours. After the first weekend, you'd think someone would call me to say it wasn't fixed, but no. I also have written several memos about things needing to be fixed, demanded they write policies and procedures and compile a list of all the seizure-risk clients and all the levels of support needed. Basically, I've made a pain of myself. But they need it.

They wouldn't do this stuff on their own, but it needs to be addressed, ASAP. These are serious hazards and issues in a facility that can handle NO MORE screw-ups.

I taled with the manager on Wednesday again about the pipes, and I asked her if someone could even rig up something temporary so I wouldn't worry about someone getting hurt. By the time I'd driven home, someone had called to say my pool shift for the weekend was cancelled. Okay, fair enough, if they can't get it fixed.

But when I come in to work on Saturday, I hear a rumor they've hired some poor 16-year-old kid, someone's niece, as a guard. Since I have to leave in September anyway, this didn't upset me too much. But when I confirmed with the on-call manager that my pool shift was cancelled for Sunday,. she said yes.

I come in Sunday evening, and someone tells me that the pool was open during the afternoon. Apparently they cancelled my shift, hired a new guard, and scheduled HER in. All without telling me what was going on. Some poor kid they can push around and who'll think she can't make waves and push for things. and I don't even know if I'm fired or not. They certainly have no call to fire me for this. I've been a good guard.

I'm angry and the refusal to fix things, the nepotism, the dishonesty, the attempt to pull one over on me. I'm generally displeased. And I pay union dues, so tomorrow the union head gets a call.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Wanna bet they don't fix the exposed pipes?
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Just another week at the mad-house [01 Aug 2005|04:55pm]

And I'm not talking about the clients.

First let me explain a bit about the background here. Important things to know:

1. We are served by a cafeteria. The menu is a three-week rotation, and the guys eat what they're given. Have you tried eating cafeteria food for a year or two? What if you didn't get a choice in what to pick? Yeah. Sometimes life sucks.
2. Weekend staffing is sparse and difficult. One person is 8-8 (takes her break at the end, leaves at 6:30). One is 9-9, and has to take her break in the middle, and this is the longest, most difficult shift in the schedule. One is 11-11 and can leave at 9:30, usually. Quite often regular staff take vacation hours when they're scheduled for 9-9, and relief comes in and does the last four hours.

Okay, the main event. This could get long, bear with me.

I was working 8-8 on Saturday. I was working with a full-time staff (call her Emily), who was 9-9, and another relief (say, Shannon), 11-11. Emily took those vacation hours, and another relief staff, Susan, was in for the 5-9.

The meal for dinner was mac and cheese with ham bits. It sounds gross, and it looks gross, and it tastes gross. I feel terrible feeding the guys something I won't eat. Since our house really can't get out much, often the weekend funds get used to buy food and we cook a meal ourselves. Usually this is barbeque, which is nice, but only two of the guys (out of ten) can enjoy it. The rest have minced or puréed diets. So I figured I could make pasta, use the really tiny seed-like noodles, and folks could ALL enjoy it.

I talked this over with the other staff, particularly the full-time staff who's been there forever, and is really picky about making sure guys get the right diets. For the record, I'm pretty picky myself. She felt what I was planning would be good, we even worked something out for the guys who can't have tomatoes. I went shopping, got all the stuff, and started cooking when I got back home. This was about 2:30.

At four, Emily leaves. Things are fine till 5. I am feeling great because finally I feel like I'm doing something pretty cool for the guys, something different. Then Susan comes in.

I am the Devil, Part 1Collapse )

I am the Devil, Part 2Collapse )

AftermathCollapse )

But now there's this written complaint, in an totally inappropriate forum, about me. Everyone can read it. Fortunately, everyone reading it thinks she's nuts and is wrong. Some crazy stuff has happened in the past because of unjustified complaints staff have made against each other. My manager is away right now, but she gets back Wednesday, and I'm going to be going in to explain what was happening. I'm just so mad about this all. ARGH.
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Channelling [21 Jul 2005|10:29pm]

So today I was working, and Sam (I think I'll keep calling him that for the sake of continuity) was being... funnier than usual.

He is infamous for his babbling. His endless disconnected questions which have no bearing whatsoever in reality.

Do you make cows? You wouldn't hit a cow down, wouldnja? Whatja do that for? No, Alma did it! Are you Jan? Shame on you! Don't hit me! I want cookies! Cookies! Gimme cookies! Whaja do with a cow? Can I go home with you? Who sleep on my bed? What'sa cow say? Got any cows? You don't make cows, do ya?

And so on and so forth.

Well, today he was doing his usual, sitting in his geri-chair so the staff could have dinner without him stealing their juice or being yelled at about cookies. And he starts up with the questions, and the cows.

Except today he's either channelling Little Old Lady, or he's on Helium. Except we know it's not either. Pitch your voice and octave or two ahead, and ask out loud, "Do you make coooooooooooows?"

Priceless. Reminds me why I love him so.
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Obligatory Intro Post [20 Jul 2005|02:19pm]

Hello, All.

My name's Ali, and I work right now in a large semi-institution with mentally disabled clients, many of whom also suffer psychotic issues. I'm now 22, and I've been at this sort of stuff off and on since I was 19.

My earliest experience was in a l'Arche community. l'Arche welcomes residents of all abilities, so i got a real mixed bag there. But it was a wonderful way to be introduced to the field. It's a live-in situation, so it was in many ways more intense than what I do now (I'm just relief, and the setting is more "professional"). I was there 8 months, and I have to say, their support for staff is almost as good as the supports they have for the residents.

I then worked in a camp where I oversaw all the kids who needed special supports, and since it was an integrated camp, not all the staf were really ready to deal with these "special" kids.

Right now, as I said, I work in a home. it's tough to describe... It's not a community living setting, but it's not what one thinks of an "instituation," either. It's got higher security, because some of our guys wander, but it's very personal, much more than a hospital or nursing home setting. "My guys" are mostly in the severly disabled range, most can't walk, about half can't feed themselves, and there's a LOT of diapers to change. They're a pretty good bunch, and I don't have to worry about psychotic episodes. I know I'm not ready mentally to deal with some of the craziness, the restraints, the wariness, the worry about hairpulls and hitting and biting and all the stuff.

And straying a bit from a strict "introduction", I really still need to write some stuff out of my system. One of the guys, I'll call him Sam, hauled off and hit me in the face. Not the usualy powerless slaps he deals out, but a real good whack. It hurt, and it surprised me. And even though it was more than a month ago now, I am still really bothered by a kid (in an elementary school) who bit me several times and scratched me, leaving bruises through kevlar. In the crisis, I'm okay, but I find myself after feeling really shaky (normal), and even later, like now, really upset about it and anxious. I hear all the stories from the veterans at work, and I wonder how they can continues to come in to work and deal with this crap and get hit and spat on and such. How does one grow that shell? Does anyone here have any helpful stories or comments on this?

Anyway, I'm glad to be here. I love what I do, and the good days can be truly magnificent. But the crummy days can be equally crummy. Somehow, though, it's worth it. Probably because of the good days.
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Co-worker issues [15 Jul 2005|12:55pm]

[ mood | infuriated ]

I have a co-worker (whose real name I've revealed to everyone in the community as of yet, through my LJ, but anyways) who I'll call Debbie. Debbie and I do not get along. Debbie first started as relief, doing a few shifts in the house. In fact, I worked with her on her first shift and trained her, which also pisses me off, because apparently I gave her such a good introduction for the house that she went and applied for my old full-time position, which is why I'm out of a job in a week. Here's a re-post of what I posted in my journal last week:

I really don't like Debbie. She is unfriendly, nonresponsive, does not answer questions and never makes eye contact. This is a fifty-something year-old woman, mind you. She doesn't do any work, she doesn't attempt to do anything, and in less than a week, she's going to be all on her own. I wouldn't be suprised if she doesn't make it past her first 3 months.

My boss asked me to take her to the grocery store with me to show her how we do grocery shopping, which pissed me off for several reasons.

1) Who the hell needs to be shown how to shop for groceries?
2) We have new menus and shopping lists that are confusing and complicated. I don't need the extra confusion at the grocery store.
3) Have I mentioned I don't like Debbie? I don't want to spend more time with her than I absolutely have to.
4) I'm not even supposed to be doing the shopping. I'm relief.

So I begrudgingly take her to the grocery store. We go and get two carriages, which was much more of a production than it should have been, because she's off somewhere in space. Then this exchange in the dairy aisle:

Me: (blah blah blah, explaining about what kind of eggs to buy)
Debbie: (staring off into space)
Me: ...are you listening?
Debbie: (giving me a dirty look) Yes, I am listening.

Two minutes later, as I'm explaining about whole vs. skim milk (which should be an easy concept to grasp) ...

Me: So we usually just get 3 whole gallons and 1 skim gallon unless staff ask for diff--
Debbie: (offended) Why did you ask me if I was not listening?
Me: (calmly) ...because you weren't looking at me, and you showed no indication that you were listening to anything I was saying. It was question, not an accusation.


Okay. So, I come in for my shift on Wednesday, and my boss asks to speak to me outside. I knew it had something to do with Debbie.

We go outside. My boss asks me why I didn't show Debbie how to make the grocery list, like she had asked. I explain that the new lists and menus are really confusing, and I told Debbie I was going to do it myself this week and show her how to do it next week. Boss says "fair enough", and wonders out loud why Debbie failed to mention that part. I ask Boss if she heard what happened at the grocery store on Saturday.

Boss: Yeah, I did...she said you yelled at her in front of a crowd of people, and she said "I'm not going to take this anymore", and went out and waited in the van for you to finish.

... ...which, as detailed above, is definately not what happened.

In the days since, I've had several run-ins with Debbie, and have had many discussions with Boss about my observations (Boss and I have a good relationship, and Boss trusts me, so I'm not that worried about her slandering me). This woman is a two-faced backstabber and I want nothing to do with her. Unfortunately, I have a 13 hour shift with her tomorrow, and I've been told to take her grocery shopping with me again. I protested to Boss, and Boss told me I have no other choice. Not only that, but she doesn't do any work, talks on her cellphone for half of her shift and gives other staff dirty looks when we ask her for help. I'm not the only employee to have problems with this woman, but, of course, she acts completely different when Boss is around. Not to mention that she treats the ladies we serve like animals and does not interact with them. (She recently claimed that she didn't know one of the residents spoke. After working 6 shifts at the house. The resident in question is a complete chatterbox.) Upon explaining to her that we sit with the ladies at the dinner table at mealtime, she responded, "Do I have to?" She is unfriendly, interruptive and rude.

This woman infuriates me. I am having violent fantasies about her. Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with people like this professionally?

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