Living Your Life

 

    A voice enables an individual with significant physical disabilities to create a life for themselves. In college there were several of us who were significantly physically disabled but due to our ability to communicate. we were able to dictate papers to our aides. We were like our fellow students in that once we were not living at home we went from student housing to our own apartments. We, mentors and speech-language pathologists have the ably to give our clients the chance to create their own lives.

 

A person who starts working with a speech therapist and a mentor  at a young age to develop accurate communication skills will be able to go through the general education  system. The student will be able to dictate work to their aides so there is no question who is doing the work. There are some very intelligent significantly physically students out there so why not give them a communication device for them to be their best self?

 

An individual with accurate communication skills will be able to both live independently while earning their bachelors. We just need to help our clients with developing their communication skills to be able to be their best self. A person must be capable  of communicating without thinking about the physical aspect of it to  excel at their academics. Communication unlocks greatness in a person and we are the lucky ones who are able to help our clients with discovering their potential.

 

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

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Attitude

 

    Attitude makes all the difference in sessions and granted I have just worked with children who had their disabilities all their lives so I know it is different for adults who acquire their disability later in life. The client’s attitude makes all the difference with how quick he or she progress in their communication and social skills. The client has to want to communicate which means that the family can’t just hand everything over to them. The mentee has to understand that communicating is how they are going to obtain what they need in a quicker way. I have had all types of mentees over nine years in this profession and the mentees who were able to go far in life were the ones who weren’t just handed over anything they want. The mentees understood that they were required to work for things they wanted like anyone else.

 

The mentees who had to work for rewards understood that communication had the power for them to get the object that they wanted. This type of mentality will help the person in the future because it is going to be their capability to communicate that will help them to get the living situation that works best for them. Now, the client who is an independent communicator will be able to ask the right questions to make an educated decision.

 

We have to make our clients communicate for what they want because that is how their adult life will go. Communicating is how they will find the supported living service and the right aides.   Communication is how they will be able to set boundaries with their staff and the kind of relationship that they want with their staff. The person who grows up communicating will be ready to live independently. If we are able to start our clients having to ask for what they need and want, they will understand that they have to communicate for what they want.

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

 

 

STAFF

 

The reality of caretakers is there will be very few of them who will be able to have limited education. Stating this fact we, mentors and speech-language pathologists need to work with our clients on developing communication skills for them to thrive on their own. There is going to be that one staff who will be capable of helping them with the more academic work than others so the  individual is going to schedule work stuff with just the particular aide .

Our clients need to be capable of directing their attendants on what needs to get done for that day.   Independent living is all about the individual doing what they want when they want.   We, professionals have the capability to help our clients with  developing  communication skills to be able to manage a staff.   Communication  enables individuals to see the professional relationship between themselves and the staff.

Communication enables the individual to set boundaries between  themselves and their staff. Everyone is different so each relationship will look  different. Communicating will help our clients develop  real  staff that feels right to them. They can develop the relationships with each  staff that makes sense for them. The skill of communicating is going to enable our clients to decide how to build relationships with their staff.

 

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

A Person Who Is In Full Control Of Their Life

 

  A person who is a full quad but has accurate communication skills will be able to manage everything in their life. A child who grows up communicating with a communication device will be able to manage their life as an adult because communication will be natural for them. I was one of the first generation of significantly physically disabled children who had the opportunity to attend general classes as they figured out how to enable non-verbal children to communicate with communication devices. Now as a mentor it is my turn to enable children to be in control of their lives by helping them with developing their communication skills.

 

We, mentors and speech-language pathologists have the capability of helping our clients with developing their communication skills to be able to manage their lives someday. Communication from the toddler age will enable the child to go through the general educational program as they will be able to demonstrate their knowledge just like anyone else. A person who is able of communicating independently and accurately will be able to demonstrate knowledge like their peers are able of doing.

 

Children who are able to communicate will be able to demonstrate what they know through communicating. A child is going to be able to independently complete school work so there is no question about who is doing the work. The student will be able to direct their aide on how to do the work and truly earn their grades. If we are able to help our clients with developing their voice at an early age they will be able to go through school at the “regular” time span. We, professionals are capable of helping our clients to build a “typical” life from the start of their life so why shouldn’t we give that opportunity to our clients?

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

Being Able To Control Your Life

 

An individual who is capable of using their communication device at it’s full capacity will be able to live how they want to. As a mentor, I am typically looking for the mentee to communicate easily and without me having to prompt them. By the age of twelve I shouldn’t need to prompt the mentee with questions for them to talk in sessions but rather he or she should be capable of holding a conversation without my help. I had a mentee who needed my help at the age of twenty which had been an indication for myself that she might have an intellectual disability. Children who are “typically” developing usually are able to communicate by themselves by the age of seven.

 

Children who are “typically” developing usually have their communication skills well enough to be in general classes so they don’t get too far behind in school. I like to take the mentee out on their physical education or their resources periods to work on their communication and social skills. The student would usually work on having conversations with myself or we will go to a café to practice ordering food. The  client will be able to earn credit for working on the skills with me so they aren’t missing out on credits. If the student is able to master ordering then I can move on to working on their conversation skills just to make sure they will be ready to live independently.

 

I also had mentees who were so far behind at twenty that told me that they might always need assistance with communicating. With these types of mentees I can predict that they will always need a family member or a trusted friend around them to help them to stay safe. The world is way too dangerous to send an intermediate communicator out to live independently as someone can easily take advantage of them. An intellectually disabled person with accurate communication skills is able to live safely. Personally I feel safer if the client is “typically” developing as there are a lot of little details that the client has to navigate through to live the life they want.

 

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

A Voice to Control Your Life

 

     As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I live in the city where the independent living movement originated so naturally we will have more resources here for people to live how they want to. A person still needs accurate communication skills to be successful at living life and at holding a job. We,  speech-language pathologists and mentors have the capability of helping our clients with developing their communication skills.   Communication enables the individual to live independently as all it takes is a person with significant physical disabilities to have accurate communication skills to be able to manage a staff.

 

Communication skills are what enables a person to interview supported living services staff. It also allows the person to set boundaries between themselves and the aides so that everyone knows their roles within the relationship.   A person will be able to direct their caregivers on what needs to be done that day.   Personally, I don’t give my aides orders as I feel they are adults who are capable of seeing what needs to be done around the house. Other than making appointments I let my staff decide what needs to be done around the house but that is just me other people can feel that they need to give their aides a list of chores every day.   Everyone manages their staff differently as we are all different in how we build  relationship with our staff.

 

Everyone is different and some people are capable of balancing a friendship and a professional relationship at the same time. Communication enables people to decide what kind of relationship they want to build with their aides. Nothing is wrong but rather everyone has to figure out which kind of relationship works for them. The person sets the boundary between the staff and I have seen many kinds of relationships between people and their staff.

Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children

 

Controlling One’s Life

 

As professionals in speech therapy we have the power to give children a tool to be able to control their life. A voice to an individual with significant physical disabilities gives them the ability to manage and control their life how they want to live it. I am currently having trouble getting the parents of one of my clients to understand that they must start bringing her to school more consistently in order to allow me to teach her the communication skills needed for her to live independently one day.

 

As speech-language pathologists and mentors we have the education to give children with complex speech and physical disabilities a voice to be able to direct care givers on their care, so they can someday live on their own.   The ability to adequately communicate allows adults who are locked-in the power to live in their own homes with people performing their care. I know a lot of people, including myself, with significant physical disabilities who live on their own by being able to direct care givers with their care.

 

I am a firm believer that if I am able to help my clients to become independent communicators, they will most likely be able to move away from home. We have the education to give significantly disabled children a voice to one day move out of their family homes. Children who grow up communicating and have expectations put on to them will grow up understanding and developing personal expectations. Communication levels out the playing field for our clients so that they are able to do the same things as their able bodied peers.

 

We have the knowledge and the drive to do this for our clients, so let’s give families typical children because that is what they are for the most part. Communication with communication devices allows children to grow up with the typical expectations that any other child would have growing up. The child with the ability to communicate can go to mainstream classes and hopefully on to college. This all starts by us giving the clients a voice and we can watch them being typical children.

Until Next Time,  Enjoy Your Children