We are so excited to start up our blog again! And we thought what better time to begin blogging again than during Direct Support Professional Recognition week? We have a few interviews that we’re eager to share with you this week. First up, is a special Day in the Life interview. Chelsey Fairris had the opportunity to meet with Program 34 – Vancouver recently. She was able to join in on their monthly meeting and got the whole program’s answers to some questions!
Let us start with introductions:
Juliane Ditzler: BRS Case Manager
Madison Novacek: Program Manager
Benellen Camacho: Behavioral Intervention and Support Specialist (BISS)
Liz Cha: Behavioral Intervention and Support Specialist (BISS)
Crista Hendrickson: Recruitment for foster parents
Jennifer Utterback: BISS Supervisor
Lisa Kemrer: BISS Supervisor
Angela Gatewood: Case Manager
Michelle Pulido: Behavioral Intervention and Support Specialist (BISS)
Can you explain your job title(s) a little bit more in depth?
(Jennifer) As a BISS Supervisor, we do the schedules of the kiddos and the staff. We do Crisis Support, and we are on the phone a lot with the parents. We assist our case managers with appointments and other tasks. A lot of my time is spent on the phone communicating with many different individuals.
What does a typical day look like to you?
(Michelle)As a BISS, we work directly with the kiddos. We support a bunch of kiddos and help where we can for them. Whether they have appointments or homework, we assist them with whatever they need at the time. Basically, we are there to hang out with them and see how they are doing, and how we can support them.
(Benellen) That question is hard to answer for me because anything could happen. The kiddos could be having a good day, or a bad day. You never know what is going to happen. You might have a kiddo not want to participate with the current staff member that is on shift – and you have to roll with it! You have to be prepared for anything every day.
Out of everything that you have done within the last week what was something normal or typical that happened?
(Madison) I would say collaborating with a child therapist on different items that they should be brought up to speed on and communicating about how therapy is going. I also consider what the BISS need to know when staffing the kiddo. I also spent time catching up with foster families and supporting what they might need, as well as collaborating with other case managers and program managers and BISS. I feel like I am this hub of communication for all the positions just trying to get us all on the same page, which can be a little overwhelming at times. I spend a lot of time on the phone, especially now that everyone is not in the office consistently.
What was an uncommon item that happened to you this week?
(Lisa) Last night I received an emergency phone call from a state home that has one of our kiddos. I had to figure out where to put them for respite and just be there to support them because they’ve been going through a lot of stuff. So, it has been hard.
(Juliane) I attended five team meetings this week. Typically, it might be like one meeting, but they all fell on the same week. and half of them were a lot more difficult than I anticipated. The kids were really struggling or refusing help, assistance, or ideas of ours. I have a kiddo that I was helping with school, and when I explained the ways we could help he replied, “no! To all the things!” That has been a struggle recently.
How do you make sure that you are always showing a deep profound respect towards the clients and kiddos that you do work with?
(Angela) I think that I used my team for this question a lot. We all get to the point where we get frustrated at times and almost feel personally attacked when the kiddos start acting out. It is a, “you’ve got to do this to me right now?” feeling. It’s really nice to be able to go back to the team and say, “hey, you know, I’m about to lose my marbles.” The team re-grounds me and supports me. They also remind me how trauma effects everyone and how it impacts everyone differently. And I feel that I do that for my coworkers and parents in return. I explain how trauma can affect everyone and how a lot of the time the outbursts are due to that.
(Lisa) I would say with the respect part as far as the kids go, is showing them that we are there for them and we want to help them as well as to listen to what they have to say. Last night, for example, the kiddo that I ended up working with had a lot of stuff that has been going on over the last couple of months. I just let her talk and assured her that I was listening to what she was telling me. I could tell she appreciated that because when I went to walk her into the home, she gave me a huge hug and just kind of cried on my shoulder. That was a really good experience because it proved to her that we are there to help her and to be there for her.
(Jennifer) I agree with that completely. I also think that everybody here is a team player, and I think I can speak for everybody of how we all show respect by setting structure boundaries, rules, and supervision. They may not think that is a form of respecting them, but I think it very much is.
If I could talk to any of the kiddos, what would they say are the ways that you show respect towards them and show the SA Values?
We had some great conversation about this question. Here are some of our answers:
Dependability. they get used to the idea that we’re going to show up.
Giving them some control in their case, their staffing, or deciding what they want to work on today.
Taking feedback. When we are writing our plans and updating them, we get their feedback and thoughts on how things are working and not working. We include their goals in the treatment plans.
Setting clear boundaries as well. Make sure they are aware that they are not your friend. That you’re there for support and any kind of support we can give them.
Providing choices sometimes just on a day-to-day case can go a long way.