Job Coach Developing Natural Supports & Individual Empowerment Case Scenario for this assignment you are a job coach helping the disabled after reading the paragraph please Describe the steps that you would take to solve this problem. please to the following with 400 words I attached some resources to help.
Sam recently became employed in a grocery store as a person helping with bagging and taking groceries to customer’s cars. His company has employed several other individuals from your agency and a successful work relationship has been built between you and his employer. Initially, Sam’s co-workers and supervisor were working with Sam primarily on the tasks of the job. He has been able to learn how to communicate with customers, bag groceries, and deliver them to customer cars without any concern. He is, however, not wearing the appropriate clothing for his job. The company provides shirts and asks employees to wear tan pants. Sam continues to wear shorts or jeans with the company shirt. He does not always look clean and neat. His work ethic is excellent. He is on time and very cooperative and considerate of his co-workers, customers and supervisors. Everyone is pleased with his ability to accomplish all that is needed when he is at work, however, his supervisor has called to ask your assistance regarding the clothing issue.
Describe the steps that you would take to solve this problem.
“Some people are born with disabilities. They grow gradually into the recognition that they are different from most other people and in ways that are negatively evaluated. Something everyone else can do, they cannot do. The realization of having been short changed comes slowly; it is their parents who may experience sudden shock. Other people become disabled after a lifetime – whether brief or long – of being more or less like everyone else. It may happen in a catastrophic moment, or it may take days, weeks, months, or years of illness to develop. The reactions to the facts of disablement depend in part on when and how it happens and in part on a host of other factors….”
“Supported employment includes the word “support” because that is exactly what people need in order to work. Supported employment was initiated to provide opportunities for people with severe disabilities to work in the community. Many of these people were considered unemployable. We seem to focus on support for people with disabilities, but the fact is that we all need support in most areas of our lives. Some of us are just a little more skilled at putting those supports into place. Let’s get back to the basics of what supported employment actually is and who it was designed to serve.”
— Kim Warlow, The University of Arkansas
Natural Supports may come from personal associations and relationships. These are usually developed in the community and enhance the quality and security of life for people; they include family relationships; friendships; association with fellow students or employees in classrooms and work places; and associations developed though participation in clubs, organizations, and other activities. Natural supports may also come from the environment.
Think about all the people in your life—friends, family, co-workers. Relationships with these people are your natural supports! You can count on them for help but what did you do to establish these relationships? We take them for granted rather than thinking about how they are developed.
Here are some things to think about:
Socialization: Job coaches and employment specialists can impede the natural social process when they become on-site teachers and more experienced employees do not get the chance to teach new employees “the ropes” and help them become part of the work setting. Your arrival on-site sends a message that some special expertise is needed for the employee to be successful. This tends to put social distance between them and their co-workers.
Dependency: You spend lots of time with people getting to know and understand them. You build strong relationships that are necessary for work success. You are comfortable with each other and it is easy to understand why a person would depend on you. If you are a trainer in the workplace, you become even more important to the worker and sometimes you may be seen as the “boss.” The worker may depend on you for support and not utilize others within the work environment. Co-workers may see the job coach or employment specialist as the only one who communicates with or helps the new employee. Co-workers may have the following thoughts:
That person must need special assistance.
The job coach wants me to stay out of the way.
The job coach would not want me to talk and confuse the new employee
This is really serious business to have a person helping the new employee
That person must be hard to train.
Supporting people is not rocket science. It takes effort, knowledge and a little experience. Helping others get experience is the first step to the development of natural supports. By allowing others to work first hand with new employees, you will promote the development of their comfort and understanding.
Employers can also develop dependency on the job coach or employment specialist. Supervisors and coworkers may not see their roles clearly if you are there to do all the training and handle all the orientation issues. People who will work directly with the new employee and supervise him or her should be coached to teach, interact, and solve problems. From the very beginning, it is important to get supervisors, co-workers and the new employee interacting and working together so that supports will develop naturally and with comfort. You should not be the one to develop the relationships, however, or you will become the middle person and supervisors and co-workers will depend on you for information and advice. The job coach must help the new employee become integrated into the work environment. While you want to make sure everything goes smoothly and that the new employee is successful on the job, you need to “LET GO.” You can do this as you help the individual build confidence and learn on his or her own in the new setting. Finding the balance between being a helper and being a cheerleader takes some practice. It is natural for people to turn to you as the “authority” since you are knowledgeable and you know the individual. Your job now is to help coworkers and supervisors provide natural and needed supports to the new employee.
(Vash, The Psychology of Disability, 1981)
Asking for help may be hard for people, Peter shares a story about a time when he was sitting outside and it began to rain. He was unable to propel his wheelchair and waited for a passerby whom he could ask for a push to shelter. Several people came and went, but he was unable to ask. He explains, “I was getting drenched in the rain, but I still couldn’t ask anyone to give me a push. Suddenly it hit me that I was waiting for someone to make eye contact with me and then I could ask. Somehow, I couldn’t reach out through the ’dark’ and force my presence on someone who hadn’t acknowledged me – especially when I was looking for a favor.”
* Much of the material in this unit is based upon Kim Marlow’s 1998 booklet, Natural Supports. It was available from The University of Arkansa’s Rehabilitation Continuing Education Center but is probably “out of print.”
Natural Support Defined
According to Rogan, Hagner, and Murphy (1993) natural support is any assistance, relationships or interactions that allow a person to secure and maintain a community job in ways that correspond to the typical work routines and social interactions of other employees. People, with and without disabilities, need natural supports in their environments.
Natural support refers to using things that are available in the environment. Using natural supports also means relying on the same things that other people rely on – each other. Rather than bringing in “foreign props or teaching materials”, you may be able to find support in the work environment!
Distinctions of Natural Support:
Available to everyone
Individualized – – based on each person’s need
Comes from the environment
Was already in the environment and will remain
Natural support can be categorized into: relationships with people in the individual’s environment and adaptations to the individual’s environment. Examples include:
Co-worker Poster on the wall
Supervisor Break bell/fire alarm
Mailman Co-workers leaving to go home
Neighbor Stripe on floor for danger areas
Family Member Calendar
Maintenance person Checklist/Written reminder
Cafeteria Worker Wrist watch that beeps
The examples given above are examples of people or cues that all people use to support themselves at work and at home. In the same way, we want a supported employee to find people or things that will provide support in the work place, home, school, stores and community.
Things to consider when looking for jobs that will enhance natural supports for the individual:
Target shared or similar positions: An employee who shares the same or similar job responsibilities with other employees may experience more complete integration than one who is the only employee with certain responsibilities. A social bond forms when a “co-worker” is not simply a person who shares a location, but is someone who has similar job experiences, frustrations and responsibilities. The “we are in this together” mentality will help develop connections and provide for shared support among workers.
Arrange overlapping or intersecting tasks: Overlapping jobs contain tasks that two or more workers perform together. Jobs intersect when one employee begins where another leaves off, with some point of connection. These tasks cause informal interactions that provide workers a chance to talk, convey information and perhaps even assist each other in successful job performance.
Allow flexibility in job duties: Work settings that allow for social interaction among workers by varying work routines can help stimulate natural relationships.
Incorporate social times in work schedules: Employees tend to interact more at the start and end of their shifts, just as they do during lunch and breaks. Social behavior at work is not evenly divided across a workday. When an individual’s schedules includes social time, he/she encounters much more opportunity for meeting people and developing relationships with co-workers. Whenever possible, it is important for individuals to work the same shifts as their co-workers.
Developing Natural Supports
During the job development stage, it is important that you look for supports for the job seeker. If an employer has no time or person power to support the employee, employment there may not be appropriate. Paying attention to how the individual will handle the environment as well as the job is very important. No two people need the same supports; the job coach must look for supports that are present and supports that are needed for the individual’s success.
How do you help the individual and co-workers meet and get to know each other? Will relationships be formed by working together? Here are a few ideas for helping these natural relationships occur:
Avoid taking breaks or eating lunch with the individual. Help him/her make connections by suggesting that he or she join others and by practicing ways to make introductions. Your presence in the space will continue to reinforce the concept that the new employee needs your presence to “make it” in their new setting. You will become the “expert” and impede the process.
Avoid giving the individual an orientation to the workplace. All new employees, participate in an orientation tour and session. The same person who gives the tour to all workers should conduct it for the individual. Support the new employee in asking someone else for assistance if he/she cannot find or remember where the breakroom, restrooms or central office is located. This will provide an opportunity for interaction with a coworker.
If possible, you should not do the training of the new employee. The best person to train the consumer is the same person who trains other new employees. He or she knows the job better than you do and has been doing it longer. You can be present when the training is being provided so that you can assist if necessary.
You should not ask questions for the individual or get answers from him or her in the new setting. You can help the new employee find the right person to question, but you should not be the runner between the new employee and his or her workplace. You can facilitate direct communication.
You should not create new adaptations or modifications on your own without the help and support of co-workers or supervisors. If the co-worker, supervisor or new employee figures out what may be necessary for him/her to be successful, then you can provide support and resources to carry out any modifications. You may need to take the initiative to request input and support from others.
You should always adhere to the rules of the company. When you are on the job with the new employee, you should adhere to dress code regulations and any behavioral expectations. If you are working in a place where uniforms are required, it would be appropriate for you to wear similar clothes or ask the supervisor to lend you a uniform.
When you are with the individual, be careful of what you say. Do not validate others’ misconceptions about people with disabilities. Be aware of your verbal and nonverbal behavior because you are reflecting qualities that others will mimic. Do not make recommendations about a person in his/her presence and always speak to workers with disabilities in the same manner you speak to other employees. Your timing and tactfulness can reflect a positive or negative image about people with disabilities. Be aware of yourself and your cues.
You are there to provide insight and to support any initiatives taken by the employer or the individual. Although it may be easier to “just to do it yourself”, teaching others about ways to make the setting more supportive and providing specific training techniques are skills that will come as you interact with all persons in the business. Make recommendations but let others implement the training or support.
Let the supervisor and co-workers begin to understand how they can benefit from providing support to the new employee. It is important that you present information in a positive manner. For example, instead of saying, “Sue can only stand for two hours at a time,” so be sure to schedule her breaks to help her be able to sustain a longer shift. You could try, “If you will allow Sue to take a short break from standing every two hours, she will be able to work a lot longer and will complete the tasks you have for her.” Your role will be to advise and point out ways that the employer could better support the new worker. By making recommendations that will better inform him or her of how to do this, you will improve the overall “fit” for the individual with the job. You should not be the supervisor; you should serve as a consultant who has the ability to see what will work for all parties involved.
You should be looking for ways for the individual to contribute to the new relationships. Not only can you offer employers and co-workers tips for helping the person succeed, but you can help the person reciprocate by providing ideas for assistance to the work group. For example, a new employee can take the time to get to work early and make coffee. These efforts pay off with acceptance into the coworker group and a stronger sense of connection. Little efforts can make a big difference. If an individual stays later to help someone else, this regard and willingness to support another coworker will go far in helping everyone feel less awkward and more natural with each other. It will go a long way in building relationships.
Empowerment and Natural Supports
This section concerns the ability to converse with all people. Your ability to talk, work, and relate to individuals and their families is critical to your success. The Rehabilitation Act certainly brings together forces for change in services for people with disabilities. The Rehabilitation Act along with the Americans With Disabilities Act and The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act focus on the values of inclusion and integration for people with disabilities. These laws help to further define the way employers, service providers, and educators can support people so that they can fully participate in the mainstream of their communities.
You have an important role in helping people reach the goal of inclusion and integration. You should focus on the following outcomes:
Community Presence: Does the individual share commonly accessed environments with others who do not have disabilities? Are there other places that the person wishes to visit? What skills and supports will be necessary for individual to actively participate in such environments?When helping a person obtain meaningful work in an integrated environment, it is important to assure that the individual has a social network at the work site. This can help decrease the isolation that many people experience.
Choice: Is the person able to make choices which enhance his/her individuality? Does he/she have choices which allow control over his/her life? What choices do others make? Should others make them? What activities will increase the frequency and significance of choices? What choices does the individual wish or need to learn to make?
Competence: What skills or abilities does the person have and in what environments can these skills be supported? How can new or enhanced skills be taught? What skills does the individual wish to have?On-site training can often teach new work skills that are necessary for successful job performance. Having the chance to become a productive and valued employee enhances competence and self-esteem. When working in an integrated environment, social skills may improve because of normal expectations from workers without disabilities.
Respect: Does the individual have a valued role? Does the individual have limited opportunities due to stereotypes? What activities does this person wish to explore? How can new activities enhance his or her respect in the community?Your role as job coach or employment specialist will help provide opportunities for the person to function as a worker — a role that is valued by society. When supervisors, co-workers and others observe a person with disabilities competently performing job duties, the individual will be viewed as a respected member of society.
Community Participation: Does the individual have friends and acquaintances in the community? Are interactions and activities similar to those of other community members? Do all friends and acquaintances have disabilities? How can opportunities to build new relationships be fostered? New social networks are established with coworkers when individuals gain employment.Positive outcomes can only be defined and developed by seeing beyond a label to the many skills an individual can acquire. You will make a difference by helping people increase their work abilities and become contributing and respected citizens.
Individual Empowerment:Individuals and their families should choose, advise, direct and evaluate the services in which they are involved. This should translate to individualized supports designed around each person seeking a job or working. Assist the active involvement of each individual:
Provide information to individuals and families to promote informed decision-making
Support each individual’s choice of services
Provide decision-making authority over resources through direct or indirect control of funds and human resources
Develop feedback/evaluation systems and be responsive to feedback
Families and Job Coach/Employment Specialists:Families are critical to your success. You can help them take a part in assisting the individual to reach his/her goals. Many parents have been told that their sons or daughters would never be able to function in the “real world.” A community job may seem impossible.
The job coach is challenged to find a job that matches the individual’s abilities and interests. A real job can affect all aspects of a person’s life – friendships, self-esteem, and contribution in the community. Other doors begin to open in areas such as recreation, living arrangements, and an expanding group of relationships.
Some families may not encourage employment. Here are some examples of concerns:
The family member may lose benefits.
The community is not safe.
The family member has no skills.
The family member needs training.
Transportation is not available.
The family member may not be able to keep a job.
You must listen to and recognize these concerns that may have great effect on the individual. Family support groups are excellent ways to provide parent to parent education. Your ability to see the big picture and to help work through issues as they arise may help alleviate concerns. It is important that families feel involved and that you engage families and friends in career planning. Discuss success stories and examples of problems and how they worked out. Involve families and support networks in service supports. Respect families and, at the same time, work to educate them. Encourage families to seek support from neighbors and friends.
Evaluation and On-Going Support
Staying up-to-date on how things are going will help keep the lines of communication open for all persons. Once you feel that the worker and employer have begun to meet their mutual goals and the employee is comfortable at work, you can begin to remove yourself from the work environment. If there are work changes such as a new supervisor, new co-workers, or changes at home or in medication, your assistance to the individual may be critical. Before you leave the work setting, be sure that people feel comfortable doing all the things that you have done to help the individual. It might be helpful to talk with your colleagues to learn whether or not you have accomplished all that needs to occur before you remove yourself. Other job coaches or employment specialists can help you think through “fading.” Talking to other participants in this course may help you think through all the issues.
You must be cautious not to be the “chief problem solver.” If you receive a call from an individual or employer, listen and help him or her find viable solutions. It is important to support both persons in being able to handle whatever issue might arise, but if you find yourself getting in your car and driving over to the business, be sure to remind yourself that your role is to assist the co-worker/supervisor/individual to solve problems. If you do it all yourself, you will be the one everyone depends on. Here are some questions that may help an employer or coworker resolve issues:
What have you tried to this point?
What do you think would work?
What would you say or do to other employees, if this was a problem?
How can I help you handle this issue?
If employers say “I didn’t do anything but call you”, then you know that you have not accomplished what you had planned when the individual got the job. Remember communication between the employer and the individual is the key to a successful relationship.
When you are setting up continued communication with the employer, try not to impose what you will do in keeping in touch; ask what he or she would feel comfortable with and what would fit his or her schedule for continued communication. This will keep the door open, not only for future employment opportunities, but also for staying in touch about the worker’s progress.
The nature and amount of support for the worker will vary during employment tenure. Generally, you will be involved with the individual in two areas: 1) employment-specific supports, and 2) individual or community supports. Employment supports are directly related to the job and may include the provision of additional training and/or assistive technology or assistance with socialization within the workplace. Long-term or on-going employment supports include:
Monitoring of work performance including work quality and work rate.
Facilitation of job changes and career movement.
Monitoring of socialization and overall integration
Supporting training for employer and/or coworkers
Retraining of previously learned skills
Assessing job satisfaction
Training in new skills
Support to family
Individual and community supports are supports that are arranged and delivered away from the workplace. Supports in this category include housing and or personal living arrangements, leisure, financial support, transportation, and relationships.
Regular discussions with the individual at and away from the job site, regarding satisfaction and contentment with work, will help you get an idea of the success of the job placement. Based on what you are told by the worker, family, and employer, you can help set up a proactive plan for support.
If the employee’s job duties change or are expanded, you may find yourself reentering the workplace to assist in the change. This is typically an arrangement that is made with the employer from the start. In order to become a valued member of the business, the employee may find new ways to offer help and may ask for your assistance in gaining additional expertise. Your lines of communication with the individual will remain critical as time goes on. After the individual has worked for enough time to realize more about his/her own personal strengths, weaknesses and interests, he or she might ask to speak to you about career goals. Your role as a support to the individual is to help in the identification of career goals and to assist in determining if the goals can be achieved on the present job or with a new employer. Your ability to access information on the internet for the individual could be extremely valuable. You are there to guide and support, not necessarily to “do” everything in respect to desired career explorations.
An employee with a disability may be terminated or may choose to end his/her employment. At this point, that individual, the employer, the job coach (and any others closely involved) may choose to get together for an exit interview to review what led to the termination of employment. The employee should be given a clear reason for termination (if it was not voluntary); as in all situations, there is no reason to protect the worker from the facts. Using information from this interview will help in the development of future employment paths. As in all interactions with service recipients, the job coach must be attentive to reasons for discontent and take these into consideration in future job development efforts.
An additional aspect of support is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This program is found in larger corporations and offers a wide range of service options for employees. EAPs have developed a variety of services that include child/elder care, retirement options, fitness and health maintenance programs, counseling, drug or AIDS testing, and other supports. These programs offer assistance and, in some cases, a way to support workers in maintaining the balance of roles and responsibilities at work and at home. Employers set up these programs for all employees but employees with significant disabilities often underutilize them. Through an EAP, the company can help the employee feel less stigmatized or dependent on disability services and can help integrate the employee into the overall employee population. Information about EAP services is ordinarily disseminated during employee orientation. You can help the individual gain information by investigating the programs offered by an EAP and making sure the employee knows about them. The employee can direct the process and make decisions regarding the use of these services prior to the need arising.
Examples of Supports Provided by Employers
T. is a young woman with a disability label of severe intellectual disability who became employed as a lobby attendant at a fast food restaurant. She is employed 20 hours per week and earns minimum wage. The employer provided a coworker mentor to work with the job coach to teach T. her job duties. A caddy was purchased and modified with coded dividers to assist T. with sorting and stocking condiments. The cost of the caddy was less than $3.00 and paid for by the employer.
J. is a 20 year old woman with a diagnosis of moderate intellectual disability, emotional and social behavioral problems, seizure disorder, and juvenile arthritis. She is employed as a dietary aide in a retirement home and performs a variety of food service and utility tasks. The employer provided a mentor to work with J., established a routine job schedule, and posted a daily checklist of specific tasks.
L. is a young male with disabilities of mental illness and intellectual disability and has had repeated hospitalizations. He was hired as a grocery bagger working 30 hours per week. The employer allowed breaks to be taken on the hour or half hour to allow easier computation of time to return. A locker and lock was provided by the employer to allow L. to keep his possessions orderly and untouched. Unpaid time off was scheduled regularly to be used if needed with flexibility in scheduling as L. requested.
K. has a disability label of intellectual disability and cerebral palsy. She is employed as a teacher’s aide at a day care facility working full time with benefits. The employer provided a different glove to be used by K. when changing diapers to allow greater ease and speed. A box of toys to pull out during the last half hour of the day when K. was taking care of the toddlers alone was provided by the job coach. The employer agreed to have the infant teacher monitor K.’s performance during that time and to be available to intervene if there were problems and to respond to parents if needed.
R. sustained a traumatic brain injury resulting in loss of speech, limited use of upper extremities, ambulation with assistance, severe memory deficits, and behavioral outbursts. He is employed at a department store as a clothes processor. Several coworkers volunteered, with the employer’s approval, to assist R. with learning how to do the job, signing in and out of work, walking to and from his work area as well as within the building, and reminding him to do infrequent job duties as they arose. A modified work station was needed to allow R. to perform his job of removing plastic wrap and hanging clothes with minimal use of one arm. The maintenance department of the company built the modification with materials on hand at no direct charge to the company.
C. has a disability label of autism and is employed as a sales associate at a department store. She was assigned a coworker mentor to teach her the job duties and was provided a checklist of work responsibilities developed by the employer.
Y. has cerebral palsy with lower leg paralysis, slow motor movements, and poor right hand motor skills. She is employed as a receptionist with responsibility for answering the telephone. The employer adjusted the height of the desk to allow a wheelchair, provided a head set to minimize hand use, and purchased a magnifying glass and a stand for positioning and reading the telephone numbers.
D’s traumatic brain injury resulted in left hemiparesis, memory problems, seizures, and visual difficulties. He became employed as an operations clerk in a bank with responsibility for filing and retrieving documents. The employer and job coach worked together to provide D. with a reference book containing all information needed for each job duty, a list of frequently called phone numbers posted by the telephone, a sheet with step by step instructions for sorting and delivering mail, and a form for coworkers to make written rather than verbal file requests.
S. has a disability label of mental illness and learning disability. She is employed in food prep at a major restaurant. The job coach developed laminated food check lists of all items and amounts which the employer checks off daily indicating the type and quality of items that need to be prepared.
Fading from the Job Site
When the individual has learned the job duties and is working independently, you must ensure that the performa
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