Tag Archives: developmental disabilities

At Home Concerts Pt. 2

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At Home Concerts Pt. 2

Hello! For those of you who don’t know, my “big girl” job is as an independent provider for adults with special needs. Pre-COVID, community integration was my specialty and I was always finding exciting activities and events for my clients to participate in that they might not have had access to before.

One of my favorite haunts “back in the day” with a client who is a music lover was a vinyl record club at the library where a group of our now good friends would sit around, eat pizza, listen to music, and talk about anything and everything. It was such fun and we both miss it a lot so, naturally, at home concerts had to happen when record club was no longer an option.

At home concerts are one of my favorite activities to do with clients now because it’s fun, safe, and I love singing and dancing with my pals! If you remember my original At Home Concerts post, you will know I taught one of my friends how to use YouTube and we are still going strong on watching his favorite golden oldies artists perform.

My other client has a much different taste in music, though. He loves rap! And so do I so at home concerts with him are an absolute trip. In fact, he was the one who introduced me to Cardi B and she’s one of my faves now! Every week we alternate who is going to pick the album and we spend the entire time dancing on opposite ends of the room, laughing, and talking about everything from the important to the downright silly.

Pre-COVID, at home concerts were the last thing on my mind when I could take my clients to all kinds of wonderful events where live music was played. Post-COVID, I find at home concerts to be an inspired idea and it has become my new favorite part about my job.

Exploring different genres of music, hearing songs I’ve never listened to before, and seeing my clients have fun is a high point of my day when we feel like listening to some tunes. We all consider our at home concerts to be an exciting event and it could be for you and your friends/family too!

Dress as your favorite artists, celebrate a different theme or genre, or even learn the different dances of the times so you can better groove to the music. An at home concert can turn a blah day into something really awesome – all it takes is a little creativity. 🙂

What are some of your favorite at home activities? Do you have any suggestions for what my clients and I should listen to next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Simple Popsicle Stick Halloween Craft

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Simple Popsicle Stick Halloween Craft

Hi! Lil Red may not be the craftiest gal in the bunch but, I’ll be damned if I don’t try my best with my clients when we’re creating something together. One of my pals had a plethora of Popsicle sticks so I figured we could try to do a Halloween craft with them by painting them into little ghosts. While my client opted for making names of his loved ones out of the sticks (So sweet!), I made the following for Johnny’s desk at work and something special for my crafting partner. Check it out:

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I started my crafting palooza with something easy by painting the Popsicle sticks white and making little ghost faces with Sharpie markers once the paint was dry. Simple, yes, but they turned out so cute I decided to try my hand at a few more designs even though they were going to be much harder for my non crafty self.

I thought a Frankenstein stick would look awesome and I knew Johnny would love it so I looked up a picture of ol’ Frank and did my best. While the green paint on the stick dried, I practiced drawing his face several times on paper before I Sharpied in the final effort and, frankly (lol), I couldn’t believe how good it turned out. In fact, it ended up being Johnny’s favorite creation.

After seeing my Frankenstein, my client asked me if I could make him a Barney one. I told him I’ll see what I can do and got to work on two Barney themed Popsicle sticks. In honor of the Barney Halloween episode that he loves, I painted a stick purple with green polka dots, just like the pumpkin Barney had in the show.

The real challenge, now, was going to be making Barney’s face because I can’t draw for crap. Lol, like with Frankenstein, I looked up a picture of Barney and practiced drawing his face while the purple base paint dried. Once I was satisfied, I Sharpied in the face of the friendly purple dinosaur and I thought it turned out great. I added a green tummy and his yellow toes and my client was so happy with what I made him, which is all that matters to me.

To wrap up our crafting, I made a Jack-O-Lantern stick to complete Johnny’s spooky set. Both my client and I had a blast with our arts and crafts hour and I was so happy to come up with something that was simple but we both enjoyed so much. Oh you crafty, huh?!

Would you consider yourself crafty? What is something that you have made that you are proud of? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Ballooning Around

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Ballooning Around

Hello! As of right now, there has been a sharp increase of COVID cases in Ohio. Myself and Johnny, both of our families, and all of my clients are hunkered down more than ever and the feeling of having “nothing to do” is particularly strong. As an independent provider for people with special needs, I am constantly trying to figure out ways to keep my clients entertained from the comfort of their home. This past month, I learned that something has simple as a balloon can be a whole lot of fun.

My most senior (and high risk) client’s brother celebrated a birthday in October, so we spent a lot of time making decorations and discussing birthdays of years’ past. The piece de resistance, however, was definitely when I blew up a ton of balloons the day before and the morning of the big day. My client loved selecting which color balloons he wanted and he wrote his brother’s name on every single one.

Once we had plenty of balloons ready, I asked my client if he wanted to hit it back and forth together and he was all for it. In fact, so much so that we have played “Balloon Bounce” pretty much every day that I’ve seen him since. This has been my “sneaky” way of incorporating a more, for lack of a better words, “active” activity into my client’s routine and he has so much fun that it doesn’t even feel like a little work out.

We have dubbed ourselves the Balloon Bounce International League and we have nicknames too! While we’re hitting the balloon, we always play our favorites tunes and it brings my client back to playing volleyball in the Special Olympics. My only rule? Placing items that could get hit throughout his room elsewhere so nothing breaks!

Balloon Bounce is one of the most simple past times I think I have ever come up with and it really is a blast. All it takes it a little creativity and imagination and even the smallest activities can become a new daily favorite. Hey, I’ll take it!

How do you get creative with activities at home? How did you celebrate any recent birthdays? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Deeana Creates From Pexels

Working In The Care Profession During COVID Times

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Working In The Care Profession During COVID Times

Hello! For those of you who don’t know, I am an Independent Provider for people with special needs and I provide care in home and in the community. I have been an essential worker since the beginning of all of this COVID business in March and, I’ll be honest, sometimes I just want to crawl back in bed instead of go to work!

Because I work with some very high risk families, I have been essentially in my own state of lock down for the past seven months. Coffees with friends have turned into FaceTime dates and dinners out with Johnny just means Door Dashing something now. Of course, this is all A-okay, though, because I would never forgive myself if I ever brought this virus to any of my clients. It’s a lot of pressure but it’s just me doing my job.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will not be “going out” and Johnny has too, since we live together (Believe me, I wouldn’t want to. Just the thought of going to a bar or restaurant makes me cringe!). This has put us in very close acquaintance with our TV, Nintendo Switch, and each other literally every day, lol.

Although it can feel like a lot to be so limited to my apartment, I do still treat myself monthly to getting my nails done and it is my outing to look forward to. I know that many of those working in the care and health profession are doing everything that they can to keep their clients and patients safe and I applaud all of them because it’s not easy, that’s for sure.

I also encourage all of us who are hunkered down to participate in a “treat” to help lift your spirits. After a rough day at work or even just hearing the state of the world on the news, I never say no to a pick me up. Whether that be pampering myself with a face mask or maybe ordering something small online – it’s important for me to be in the best mood I can to continue being able to give the best care that I can to my clients every day.

I am very thankful to my clients and their families because they motivate me to be extra careful every day. I am also very thankful to everyone in the health and care profession as well as all employees right now who continue with their duties despite potentially being in harm’s way. We rock and I wish nothing but the best for all of you! ❤

How has your job been affected from COVID? How do you keep your spirits high right now? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

A Great Day

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A Great Day

Hi! It is always hard to go back to work after having any type of time off, whether that be from being sick, a vacation, or what have you. When I returned back to work after a stint with a sinus infection this month, I can’t say that I was thrilled lol but the ride to my client’s house with Cardi B bumping was enough to get me right back into work mode and it ended up being a great day.

I had to take my client to the eye doctor as well as help her pick out some glasses – it was definitely a long time coming for a new pair! I have always loved helping people pick out glasses and I take a lot of pride in picking out a lot of the pairs that my mom has had throughout the years, so I knew that we were both going to have some fun.

My client and I both decided that it was time for a totally new style of glasses as opposed to her old metal frames so we experimented with a lot of different styles. After finding a few “winners”, I took her outside so she could she what she looked like in a picture without her mask on. It’s hard to imagine a whole new look with more than half of your face covered!

Once we had a quick photo shoot, we both decided that a funky pair of deep purple square plastic frames were the way to go. And, I’ve got to say, they looked fabulous on her. The best part? She knew she looked awesome too and I could tell my client was feeling herself with her brand new look. My friend had such a sense of pride for trying something completely different and the frames working out perfectly was the cherry on top.

It may seem like a simple outing, but a quick trip to the eye doctor reminded me of how much I enjoy my job. I felt amazing because my client felt amazing and I had something to do with it. It made her day and it made my month! ❤

How has someone made your day recently? What was the last new thing you tried? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Feeling Presidential

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Feeling Presidential

Hi everyone!! For those of you who don’t know, my “big girl job” is as an Independent Provider for people with special needs. Most of my clients are not too interested in politics and that is totally fine. However, one of my clients decided he wants to become president this past week. With nothing to do cause COVID, we turned our time together into running his campaign and nurturing his dreams.

My client and I made posters, campaign speeches, and discussed all of his platforms and strategies. It proved to be educational for both of us because he learned more about what it takes to become president and I got to learn about all of the things that are really important to him. It was also just plain fun and something different.

If you work in the field like me or if you have children, this could be a great idea to get them Feeling Presidential too. Spend some time talking about what it means to be president and how your future candidate would go about their victory. Then, you can craft to your heart’s content and even work on some grammar as you write your speeches.

The crafting and talking about future goals is inspiring and it could open up a whole new world that your child or client might not know existed before. So put your president pants on and get to work!

How do you create fun and unique activities for your children? What would your platform be if you were president? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Press & Journal

Special Delivery

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Special Delivery

Hello! For those of you who don’t know, I am an independent provider and work with people with special needs. The services provided through the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities are considered essential and I have still been going to work Monday through Friday. Going to work has now consisted of just staying at each client’s home instead of getting them out and about in the community. And, no matter where I am, I’m still just as bored as if I was in my apartment. Lol, we all are!

I am sure many providers have said the same thing. I mean, there’s only so many movies you can watch, games you can play, and crafts you can complete until there is literally nothing left. So, my county’s board of Developmental Disabilities held a donation drive to help provide us with some new activities for our clients.

Last week, a reusable bag full of goodies was left on my parent’s porch. When I opened in up, I was so surprised to see all of the following:

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Something new is always exciting and I’m looking forward to sharing all of these treats with my clients. There seems to be something for everyone I work with in my care package and I am so thankful for such a generous and thoughtful gift. I definitely feel a new found pep in my step when it comes to going to work. Because, let’s be honest, I think everyone who is still working right now doesn’t really want to! But, I just know I’ll have some great days on the job ahead and that is a wonderful change of pace! 🙂

How are you helping your community during this crazy time? What helps keep you occupied at home? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Don’t Let Your Disability Define Your Life

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Don’t Let Your Disability Define Your Life

Disability is something that has been defining people for years and years. There’s, sadly, still so much bullying and hate that we just can’t stand to think of. Because those with disabilities deserve support the most. Not support to live their lives, but support to help them believe they can live their lives on their own, without carrying around that label of having a disability. If carrying around a label is something you feel like you’ve been doing all your life, it’s time to rip it clean off. There are so many things you can do with your life, and so many things your mind can think if you don’t let your disability define you. Some of which, we want to talk about today. It’s the perfect time to think about how the rest of this year is going to be totally different. Have a read on to find out more:

The Mindset Of Other People:

This is a really important one that we wanted to start with, because we think that more often than not it’s the mindset of other people rather than yourself that’s holding you back. And, thankfully, we will say that there is now such a better understanding of the different disabilities out there, how they can affect the life of that person, and how they deserve to be treated. At the end of the day, even though our body’s or minds might be a little different, we still crave those basic human needs of love, affection, and normality. What we’re trying to say here is, if you ever come across someone who you know is being a bit awkward and standoffish because of your disability, simply try and educate them. Don’t be afraid to talk about your condition and express that you’re no different to anyone else in the things that you want out of life. If this doesn’t work, just walk away. You really don’t need negative people like that in your life, and you should gravitate as much as you can towards the people who are positive to you.

The Things You Think Will Hold You Back:

Finances are something that is talked about a lot in life and, disability or not, everyone goes through a struggle at some point. If you ever feel like you are in a rut with money, don’t be afraid to look at loans for people on disability with bad credit. It’s a quick way of getting that pick me up that you need, without having to worry about being rejected. We will promote safe lending and encourage you to always make sure that you’re only borrowing what you can, so that you don’t find yourself in more financial trouble further down the line.

The Life You Need To Think About Living:

The life you need to think about living is a free one. It’s a life where you’re out with your friends or family, making the best experiences for you to look back on when you get older. Don’t be that person who is always staying in on the weekend, because before you know it a whole life is passing you by. Going out for food or drinks, swimming, walking, going to the cinema… there is a world of things out there for you to do, you just need to have the motivation to go and do it. You might feel limited in what you can do compared to your other friends, but if they’re true friends they’ll be the ones encouraging you to do it. Surround yourself with the right people who are going to enrich your life. If you feel like you don’t have the right people in your life, it might be time to join a new crowd. Participate in clubs, do things you don’t usually do, and you’ll soon start to feel your mood lifting completely.

We know the world is changing so quickly and so is the views of disability, but let’s change how you view your world and its surroundings, too!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Want to Help People? Here’s What to Study

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Some people just have a huge heart. If you’re thinking of going to college, you might not know exactly what you want to do yet, but you do know that you want to help people. If helping others is what you want to do with your life, you have many options to play a part in improving the lives of other people. Some careers that will help others take place behind the scenes, perhaps as part of scientific research or even administration. Others involve much more interaction with people who need help and care and are much more hands-on. If you want to go into a caring profession or help others in any way that you can, here are some fields of study which you might want to consider:

Types of Study: Depending on what you think you might want to do with your life, you don’t necessarily need a degree. Some professions require you to have a college education, whereas others might ask that you have specific training or experience. You can study your chosen area of interest in different ways, too. Even if you want to get a bachelor’s degree, you can study it online instead of having to go on campus. Many people improve their education in their evenings and spare time while they work. You might decide to spend around four years doing a bachelor’s degree at college and, perhaps, even go on to postgraduate study. Or you could do a shorter associate’s degree for some subjects. There are lots of ways to study and to reach your desired career path, although some have paths that are more set in stone than others.

Getting a Nursing Degree: For many people, the first caring career that they think of is nursing. Nurses can do a huge range of jobs, from supporting doctors in hospitals and clinics to working in nursing homes or out in the community. As well as becoming a nurse, you could also consider being a nursing assistant, who helps nurses to do their jobs. To become a nurse, you have to get a degree in nursing, which could open you up to a wide range of specialisms. You need to be registered to practice, which proves that you have the qualifications that you need. During a nursing degree program, students will get to experience a range of patient care scenarios to prepare them for the work force.

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Such a flight attendant pose!

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Doctor? If you’re considering working in a medical profession, you might also have considered becoming a doctor. Some people start thinking about it long before graduating high school, whereas others might not think about it until after they’ve completed their undergraduate education. Qualifying as a doctor takes grit, especially if you want to work in a high-pressure field like emergency medicine or surgery. Not everyone makes it, so it’s important to be sure about what you want to do before you start your medical degree. There’s no doubt that you’ll help lots of people as a doctor, but it also needs to be the right career choice for you.

Human Services: Not every caring profession involves working in a hospital or medical environment, or even working with sick or injured people. Many caring professions involve various supporting roles, which help to deliver services to the people who need them. This could be in areas such as social services, family support, veteran affairs, or elderly care. If you want to work in community outreach and help to connect people to services that they can benefit from, a degree in Health and Human Services could be right for you. This degree teaches you how to help people with a number of challenges in their life, from disabilities and illnesses to difficult home situations. It could lead to a career working with people of all ages, from children to the elderly.

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Wikimedia Image

Admin, Management, and Support: There are also lots of other roles in health care, caring, and social work that are more behind-the-scenes. There are careers in management, administration, and support that might appeal to people who don’t want to be as hands-on as a nurse or carer might be. It could still involve working with people who need help and doing a lot to improve people’s lives, though. Some specific fields of study to consider include Healthcare Management, Medical Billing and Coding, and Health Information Technology. These careers can still often require plenty of compassion, as you might be making decisions that affect people’s lives.

Studying Pure Science: What about being a scientist? It wouldn’t necessarily mean that you work directly with people who need help. However, it could mean that you do a lot to help the people who need it. Working in scientific research can give you opportunities to help people by furthering understanding of medical conditions and diseases and developing and testing medications and treatments. If you want to work in scientific research, you might consider a Biology degree. A science degree could also lead to working in laboratories, hospitals and medical clinics.

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SCIENCE!

Social Work: Outside of healthcare, one of the professions that many people who want to help others consider is social work. It can be a tough career, but there can be plenty of rewarding moments. People often think of working with children and families when they think of social work, but it can involve working with anyone who needs help. A social worker might help people with disabilities or perhaps people who have experienced an abusive relationship. They can work with elderly people or people experiencing health issues. A bachelor’s degree in Social Work is a necessary foundation, while some roles in schools or clinical work require a master’s degree. Like many caring roles, social workers also need to be licensed by their state.

Education: Another way to help others is to assist them with their education. This could mean working with children, but there are lots of ways to begin a career in adult education. If you want to teach children or teenagers, there could be several different education paths which you can consider. High school teachers are often required to have a bachelor’s degree in the subject that they want to teach, perhaps with a minor in education or a qualification in a program that prepares them to teach. If you want to teach kindergarten or elementary, a bachelor’s degree and teacher education program would probably be necessary, as well. Some specialist education areas might include teaching English as a second language or teaching music, which you could do for both adults and children.

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Knowledge is power!

Counseling: When people need help, they don’t always need assistance with physical illnesses. Sometimes, they require help through talking therapies, whether it’s to help with a mental illness or just personal problems. Being a counselor or therapist is one option that you have if you want to help people work through their problems. Counselors can help people with their relationships, give school guidance, help with addictions, and much more. Although you can start off with a bachelor’s degree, many counselors also have a master’s degree and even a PhD.

Ministry: Some people want to help others in a more spiritual way. If you’re religious, you might consider some form of ministry. If this is something that interests you, entering the career might involve attending a specialist institution or school, such as a seminary. However, some people might begin by studying theology or even philosophy. If you want to offer religious leadership and guidance, it’s best to look into the structure and rules set out by the religious organization that you’re a member of. Different groups and churches may have their own ideas on what qualifies you to help others.

Law: If you want to help people, another area to consider is the law. There are many areas of law in which you could practice and several of them involve helping people to get justice. You might consider criminal law, in which you can also help people on matters such as accident claims and other civil matters. Of course, to be a lawyer, you need to go to law school. There are also other careers and roles that you might consider, though. For example, you could look into being a paralegal or a legal secretary. These still involve some legal knowledge, but you don’t have to study for as long.

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#justiceisserved

Emergency Services: If you think that you can handle a high-pressure and fast-paced job, you might consider a role in the emergency services. For several of these roles, you’re unlikely to need a college degree. You will have to complete the necessary training and education, though. You could consider roles such as an EMT, firefighter, or emergency call responder. Some people take on these jobs as full-time careers, while others do them while studying to help them pay for their education. It can also give valuable experience for future careers and opportunities.

People who like to help others can use their career to change people’s lives in many different ways. You can choose to study a variety of subjects at college or find other ways to get the skills that you need to positively impact someone.

I Still Get Jealous

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I Still Get Jealous

Heyy everyone and TGIF! Have any of you ever gone through your social media pages and have just felt insanely jealous of people? This happens to Lil Red on occasion and it really grinds my gears. It’s one of those things where you see everyone and their brother on your friends list being happier, better, prettier, etc than you and it can really get a gal down. So what brings on these feelings? What can you do to remedy them? Take a listen to an ironic choice in music and then let’s discuss:

^^^ I had to!

This past week I saw that a girl who I went to high school with was studying abroad in France and Italy and it made me SO insanely jealous. That’s one thing that I would love to do and that I have mentioned frequently on the ol’ blog and to basically anyone who will listen. A thing about me is that when I want things, I want them ASAP. So to see someone who is my age essentially living my dream kind of killed me. It can be hard to see people doing something that you want so desperately while you’re sitting in Akron, Ohio being miserable. -__-

As soon as I became green with envy over this, I began to evaluate my life and what I was doing wrong. I was turning the pages in my mind of everything that I could be doing and that just made me feel even worse. I then made a mental list of everything that I do and all of the responsibilities I have and it felt like a slap in the face. I was doing what felt like a lot but I still couldn’t have this one thing that I really want.

My mental list ended up looking something like this:

  • Attending school full time at Tri-C.
  • Coaching figure skating for the Special Olympics.
  • Transporting both of my siblings who can’t drive multiple times per week.
  • Working as a freelance writer for different companies, artists, and musicians.
  • Doing consultations for individuals who would like to start their own blog.
  • Working for two different media companies on my social media pages.
  • Working for the Ohio Board of Developmental Disabilities to make sure that everyone is receiving the best care possible.

With all of these things stacking up in my day, I barely have time to breathe but it still didn’t seem good enough. But then I started to think about how I work my ass off every day and am doing so much to improve the lives of others. I reminded myself that it will be my turn to travel soon enough and that it would be all the more sweeter when it finally does happen. Then the mental list began to shift and it looked more like this:

Mental list take two:

  • I work hard at school and have gotten all A’s since I began college last year.
  • I bring joy into the lives of my skaters and their families.
  • I help improve the quality of life for others.
  • I get both of my siblings to where they need to be when they need it.
  • My freelance work has been really taking off and I have the articles, followers, and media companies that I work through to prove it.

Yes, it does suck when you want something that you simply can’t have. It also sucks even more when you see someone with what you desire so much. However, all I can do is keep on going because I am making great strides on my own even if I don’t feel that way sometimes. It can be hard to remember that at times but when I do it definitely helps easy my jealousy!

In the words of Nick Jonas, “I Still Get Jealous”, but that won’t stop me from continuing to keep on trucking and working hard! What is something that makes you jealous? What do you do to help with those feelings? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah