Watch out for your roadblocks

A common type of statement…”we tried that two or three years ago and it wasn’t successful, he/she couldn’t learn it, It was too hard, or it didn’t work out”, and said in reference to a suggested or proposed idea aimed at supporting, assisting, encouraging, or expanding an individual’s ability or skills, and made not only by parents and paid staff, but also the actual individual themselves. Continue reading

Talking about budgets…it’s not a game until you make it one.

The topic of how to budget, or even what is budgeting, is a difficult and frustrating concept if no practical experience is occurring. To make this topic more tangible, and interactive, I began treating it like a game and created a format to be played over a simulated two month period.

Called “Life Happens Budgeting Game”, the purpose is to introduce real life situations that can occur and may need to be thought out before a decision is made, such as a friend asking to borrow money. The purpose is to begin the discussion of what money a person has coming in and what it’s used for during the month.  Some expenses players can see coming, such as the frequent stops for grocery shopping or end of the month rent, while other expenses are unexpected and can be spur of the moment, as demonstrated through the ‘Life Happens’ cards. Continue reading

I think I need to go to camp!

I have to say, I love when I hear about programs that have been created to provide opportunities for the development and growth of an individual’s skills and abilities…combine that in a camp setting with a lake, trails, camp fire, water tubing, horseback riding, songs, and crafts…well, you see where I’m going with this right? Continue reading

Key to motivation…I don’t know, do you?

There is a flaw in what I do. I cannot provide motivation in a jar…if I could I swear I would sell it for a song! I mean, let’s be honest, nothing gets done without it, so its value really is unlimited. I wrote in my first blog that ‘active involvement (in anything…like life) requires being motivated’. So what does it mean when you are not?  I have heard the phrase, they are just lazy…yup, and maybe they are. But what if they’re not, then why do some individuals choose not to be more involved, more independent, in living their lives?

What if up until now your family member, your participant, your client, has not had to initiate motivation because they have been helped, rescued, or protected to the point they are comfortable and see no need to do more when there is always someone to do it for them??

In the comfort of home, surrounded by loving family, I have witnessed participants resist being encouraged to do more for themselves…and it’s not due to lack of ability. The reality is that many participants have abilities and skills they have learned with the supports around them…but in many cases there seems to be a point where the initiative and encouragement stalls.  Frequently it appears to be around those skills related to areas such as making independent choices and navigating life beyond the home.

Fear…families, and even support workers, fear that something will happen, that a mistake will be made, tends to be the most common reasons given. In answer to this I use again the words of Susan (a parent who participated in my second blog), where in regards to her son making choices, both right and wrong, she said “(its) a part of growing up and learning… I went through it, why would it be any different for him?” I am not being dismissive when I say; all parents and care givers have fear.  I am recognising that it’s there…the question is how do you combat it so that you are not holding back the potential of an individual?

Face it, if an individual (who has the ability) is motivated to take on the challenges of life…learn to use a city bus, get a job, go to college, learn to cook, be in charge of their own money…a lot of mistakes can be made…but so can a lot of living.

I don’t pretend to have the answers…only you, the family, the support worker, THE INDIVIDUAL whom this is all for, can find the answer to their own unique situation. But please, take a minute, read my second blog or one of many articles online regarding individuals who live with a developmental disability, and the things they can and have accomplished. Because people are amazing…if they are motivated!

Tami Schaafsma ~

Through The Looking Glass

When planning to blog about available resources, the title “through the looking glass” would not escape my head; I knew it was the title of an iconic book, but what did it really mean?  So I looked it up, and the first definition to pop up on Google states “Through the looking glass is a metaphorical expression. It means: on the strange side, in the twilight zone, in a strange parallel world.”

Now, I have to tell you, when I hear parents talk about trying to get all the information, they voice being confused, angry, and frustrated. They feel like they are missing some vital link that can make sense of what Passport funding is, what services are available, what to consider if hiring a PSW for a family member… and to me it feels like they are trying to see through this fabled mirror into a strange parallel world; no wonder they are exhausted! Continue reading

Lessons to be learned and peppers to be cut.

It is my belief that we (meaning anyone who assists/supports anyone else) cannot do our job or fulfill our purpose without learning lessons of our own…sometimes they are a casual awareness of enlightenment, and sometimes they come with a cartoon sledge hammer with the words ‘Duh and Eureka’ on it!

Welcome to my sledge hammer moment… Continue reading

Finding that Home of Your Own.

Sending out a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Sean, a former TIFS participant, who has recently moved into his own apartment with his brother and a friend.

This is Sean’s first move away from his parents’ home and while initially he had planned to find an apartment in the community surrounding his family’s home, an opportunity opened up that put him in another location completely.  When asked about this significant change, Sean stated that he was willing to try it and see how it goes.  He noted one important feature which was a major consideration…being close to various bus routes which is his main transportation for groceries,  and his volunteer job.

During his time in TIFS, Sean showed his ability to ask questions, be responsible for what needs to get done, preserver (especially while waiting for a bus in the winter), and take chances…all qualities which will assist in furthering his drive to become more confident and independent.  Add to this his fantastic natural supports through family and friends, and he has a future filled with unlimited possibilities.

Again…congratulations Sean… you have worked hard to achieve this stage, may the rest be as fantastic a journey as this one!

All the best from TIFS.

~Tami Schaafsma