The past month has been filled with great stories of associates working hard and thinking creatively to support our participants and families during the pandemic. Video conferencing was used as part of the everyday routine and in new ways to connect with each other and support participants.
Adult Day Services
While Adult Day Services continues to support participants via iPad and phone check-ins, when not at work, Life Skills Coach Margie McPhail (in front) and Eveline Iosefa (behind her) from Orange County are volunteering at Vineyard, a local non-profit delivering food to people in need.
Eveline said, “I still keep in touch with our participants and share stories of what is happening at their volunteer sites like Vineyard and ask if they have needs that I can accommodate. Margie and I volunteer at Vineyard even through this pandemic because they have been a blessing to our participants.”
Adult Day Services Life Skills Coach Eveline Iosefa is now supporting participants at a Living Options residential home in Orange County, where she connected with Peter. Eveline said, “One of Peter’s favorite activities is drawing, and as an artist myself, I noticed that his drawings are beautiful.”
Eveline supported Peter’s art passion by introducing him to using watercolor markers on canvas. Because he enjoys shredding paper, he would destroy some of his work on paper. Eveline said, “It was my way of helping Peter capture his artwork without destroying it.”
Autism Therapy Services
Feedback from Autism Services’ telehealth program continues to get positive reviews.
Occupational Therapist Michael Dreyfuss, who normally sees participants at the Irvine location says, “During this new process, I have seen so much of our families. Parents are working side-by-side with their children and really taking on a significant part in this process.”
He also says he’s seen kids do things for the first time, such as zip a jacket, as well as try new foods and other success with routines. “I watched parents be moved to tears as their kiddos are doing things for the first time, along with their parents taking charge of each task.”
“Each child is so excited to see the therapist and greets us with a big smile. Our world is facing its biggest challenge yet, but we are able to continue to be able to help our children and our parents in the way that we live by each day, by giving them the ability to succeed and thrive,” Michael said.
Program Manager Jessica Miller from the Orange County ABA Team, said, “After practicing with play, I worked with a mom to help her son brush his teeth, something mom has said he fights her on. After he complied, mom yelled out, ‘This stuff actually works! I can’t believe I got him to brush his teeth TWICE!’ It was a great moment and I am so proud of her for not only making herself completely available for these sessions, but being willing to try the difficult tasks.”
Occupational Therapist Julia Lytton from the Thousand Oaks Therapy Center said, “For many of my kiddos, Telehealth has been a transition because I can’t offer [in-person] services. For one kiddo, in particular, the lack of my physical presence has been especially challenging to the point where she did not want to participate in therapy.”
Julia adds, “I had to get creative and figure out what I could do to make telehealth therapy something fun and novel. I have a 5-month-old kitten, Piper, who likes to watch moving objects on my computer screen. So I decided that Piper should run the session. My client was very excited to show Piper how she uses a fork and can string beads. Piper reciprocated, much to my client’s amusement, by showing her how kitties wash their face and play with shoelaces. During her non-napping hours, Piper has become my therapy aid with other kiddos as well. She provides a sense of comfort, motivation, and excitement during this difficult time.”
Selena Pena, a Behavior Interventionist from San Bernardino got creative during a telehealth session and played a game of hide-and-seek. There was lots of whispering, counting, and laughter during this activity.
Anaheim’s Behavior Interventionist Melissa Distel and her trusty T-Rex conducting early intervention services via telehealth. Melissa said, “The kids loved seeing their therapist in the computer!”
Our Chief Clinical Officer Paula Pompa-Craven even got into video mode, recording a video for families and associates updating them on telehealth services.
Child Development Services
The San Bernardino County team started handing out Grab and Go meals and other family resources, such as school supplies, toilet paper, wipes, diapers and formula. Offered twice a week, the Grab and Go meals provide food for Monday thru Friday.
Upland’s Early Childhood Educator Carmen Natera shared herlove of baking with her classroom over a video conference. Equipped with supplies, ingredients and helpful parents, six children followed along. There are already 10 families scheduled to join her next class
North San Diego Early Head Start Child Care Partnership continues their work prepping supply bags with essentials and learning activities for families. Here are Family Support Assistant Erica Trejo, Family Support Worker Gabriela Zavala (who is able to balance her workload well!), Janely Reyes, EHS Home Base Visitor, and Blayne Adam, Child Care Partnership Coordinator.
Center-based Early Childhood Educator Misbah Saad uses this creative school backdrop for her video calls to children. They talk about what they are feeling and washing hands.
Thanks to video conferencing, more than 70 Easterseals Camp volunteers and campers came together to do one of their favorite activities—dance the night away, without any concerns about maintaining physical distancing.
A clean house is essential to a healthy home. Jonathan does his part to look after everyone’s well being, by cleaning the front door handle of his Easterseals residence.
Despite everything going on in the world, there was still time for a birthday celebration! Catherine celebrated her birthday with a party at her Supported Living Services apartment thanks to Living Options Administrator Lashawna Hughes.
When Living Options Participant David couldn’t make it to his monthly dance, Residential Administrator Jorge Romero supported him to have a dance party at home. Jorge said, “I just want to bring some normalcy during this time.” We all could use a little normalcy – and some dancing.
Here’s David with Direct Service Associate Micheal Akinrinde and participant Mary.