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Therap Regional Conference by Elizabeth Das

As I mentioned in a previous post, I attended our Florida regional conference last week. As always, Barry Pollack does not disappoint and neither does the Therap team. Our agency has been with Therap for many years, and yet no matter how long, there is always something new to learn and discover at the conferences. I recommend them to everybody.

The miniature key lime pies weren’t bad either. :)))) We were well fed.

Thank you for putting on another informative conference.

Where is the “wow”? by Joe Pendergast

The new iPhones

This week Apple unveiled the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus. While the improvements to the phone such as larger display and faster processor are nice, it is a far cry from the innovative changes Apple has been known for. Many have said one of the glaring features that Apple is loosing ground on is it’s Siri assistant. While the first Siri was revolutionary, they claim Siri have significant shortfalls when compared to Microsoft’s new assistant, Cortana. Are there some differences? Sure. Are they that expansive? I doubt most users would note the difference.

Many criticize Apple for the “Retina display.” It isn’t true HD. My response is…It’s a mobile device! If you want true HD go home and watch your television! The “Retina display” works just fine. In most cases, I do not notice a difference.

There has bee much criticism about the size of the iPhone. In recent versions of the iPhone, the display size have increased. The 6 comes in two sizes! I am interested to see, but my prediction is that the 6 will do much better than the 6 plus. Who wants to walk around with a belt clip for your phone?

The bottom line is that apple continues to innovate, the change is in our level of expectation. As Apple continues to create new ways to impact our lives, our expectations about what is possible also go up. This is what creates the sense of disappointment in the product. It is an inversely proportional relationship. As expectations increase, satisfaction decreases.

Until next time, just a thought from the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs; “Our goal is to make the best devices in the world, not to be the biggest.”


DSP Recognition Week by Bev Eschbach

The most important job in agencies that provide service for people with disabilities is not Directors of Departments, Executives, HR, and or Finance; although administrative staff does provide an important role, the DSP (Direct Support Professional) has the most important role. When asking a few people what role does a DSP participate in one’s life; there is not just one answer.

Sure a DSP helps assist individuals with meals, medications, doctor’s appointments, finances, jobs, achieving IHP Goals, and daily life routines. A DSP helps assist with the basic needs of service recipient. What about the need for human interactions, having a friend in some cases a family, providing loving and caring environment, building trust, confidence, showing individual’s dignity, respect and integrity, providing personal care, seeing people with disabilities at their most vulnerable state; even the service recipient with the toughest exterior. As simple as making a meal; knowing what the individual’s favorite dish or what not to make. DSP learns how to bring out a smile and laughter, when someone is having a tough day or knows when to give that person space. DSP knows what an individual enjoy during recreational time, maybe as simple as watching a TV show or going to a sports event or shopping. DSP knows how important it is for an individual to make their own choices as much as possible; but when a staff needs to help make a choice for a person, they know their likes and dislikes. DSP knows an individual just as they would know their own family. This is very evident when the individual favorite staff comes in to work a shift and the biggest smile appears on an individual’s face with such excitement. The trust that has been built from scratch you can see in both set of eyes (Staff and Service Recipient) just like old friends. The most important role here is, being that person that at any given time brings joy and gladness to the lives of service recipients and occasionally filling the void of family contact in certain particular instances and the instant gratification that comes along with that.

When asking a DSP what the most important aspect of their job is…they don’t say money or earning a paycheck…they say providing a caring compassionate environment, treating individual with respect and decency… “The individual’s we support, they are our extended family”. This is such gratitude, integrity and dignity that DSP demonstrate on a daily basis. The DSP is the heart of an agency. Here are some examples:

Sakree Tillman joined the Residential program as the Manager of Supported Living Program (SLP) July 23, 2014. As soon as taking up the leadership role as the manager of the SLP program, she was quick to assist an individual in the program to obtain employment. This individual has been out of work for almost two years. In addition, Sakree was able to gain the trust and respect from the individuals after losing staff members that were important to them. As a result, another individual served now allow staff to participate in receiving reports from doctors (going into the room with them). Sakree took the time to match staff and persons-served to help create person-centered supports, Sakree has open communication with family members and guardians. In addition, Sakree is a team player and will step in and provide coverage whenever there is a last minute call out. Sakree continues to ensure his individuals are receiving best quality of life.

The Teacher Assistants at the Developmental Daycare and Preschool at the Jerry Davis Center for Children and Families exhibit amazing strength and flexibility! They are able to be supportive and encouraging to the children in one moment, distract and re-direct the next moment, and sing songs and play games the next. Their energy is solely directed at the children and ensuring their growth and development.

Jess Peyser is the Night Director at Camp Jotoni. During her time at camp, she worked with campers to adapt the programs so all campers, regardless of ability, were able to participate and enjoy themselves, while leading staff and campers at the same time. Often ‘sleepover’ camp is the first away from home experience for our campers, and Jess made sure all of our campers where comfortable and had a great camp experience.
Matt Pribula gave 110% throughout the entire summer. He volunteered to work with campers who exhibited challenging behaviors and was very successful in ensuring those campers had a quality camp experience.

Crystal Condit recently became the Respite Coordinator for the Saturday Respite Program. She has shown great initiative in coordinating the program. She works closely with families to ensure open communication and engages the students in activities that meet each child’s unique needs.

Shavonne Stick starts each day with an idea of how best to keep person served happy while making a difference. This year she surveyed the consumers looking into their interests for community outings and was able to plan and accommodate day trips. The day trips were to Keansburg Beach and amusement park, 4-H fair, afternoon coffee breaks, and she held a create your own sundae while at work activity. Shavonne displays a very high level of care when interacting with ALL consumers served within our agency. She consistently goes above and beyond the requirements of her position as long as the consumer’s interest is represented.

Why can’t I have admin rights? by Kari Schultz

Having administrative privileges can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing on the one hand that you can control what is being put into the system and as administrator you have the responsibility to make sure that all information within the system is correct, and individuals that need access to the system have the proper access. The curse is that it is your responsibility to make sure that the information is correct and if you don’t have the necessary time to properly manage the system it can become a difficult task. A great thing about Therap’s admin access, it is broken into different areas, so you can spread out the workload. You can have house managers responsible for password resets, you can have the admissions team responsible for individual intake and discharge, and much much more. Break out the workload.


Fun Facts

• One percent of U.S. employers allow employees to take naps during working hours.

• People in the U.S. spend at least 1896 hours per year at work.

• During thinking, we only use about 35% of our brains.


Staying in the game! by Tomeka Ray

Teamwork makes the dream work!

Therap is all about being on top of your game. It is forever updating and changing. One must continue to participate in training opportunities that are presented. It is also important to share your acquired skills by volunteering to facilitate a trainings to enhance the skills of others. This helps build comaraderie among your peers and others that are new to the system. Build your skill set and stay in the game. It’s about providing the best customer service to people with disabilities.

It’s My Life by Tonya Klein

Well we will not be having our normal Nebraska Therap conference in Lincoln this year.  We are going to be having a It’s My Life conference in La Vista.  There will still be some Therap sessions just not as many as there has been in the past! :(  But, this will be amazing because there will be some great speakers and I am very excited about the change of location.

There really has not been a whole lot else going on here  just getting use to all of the new changes with billing.  Hopefully one day we will be able to get the attendances all set up so we can use this part of Therap as well!  Just the little things make me happy!  :)


Keep on learning!



Envision Newsletter by Linda Medina

Envision Summer Newsletter 2014

Hi Everyone

Just sharing for everyone’s reading pleasure – or not.  We are celebrating our 50th year during this fiscal year, 7/14 – 6/15.  Final decisions about events are not yet ready to be shared, but looking at an activity that will encompass all 4017 square miles of Weld County, Colorado.  Envision is the Community Centered Board, responsible for intake and case management for all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Weld County.

APD & Certs on Therap and other ramblings by Scott Barnette

Allison I am back from CT FMLA : ) Newborn in mid June takes readjusting to life. Back to the joys of blogging  ;(

So life in the ICF setting had grown rather mundane for me. Happily, I was just a few weeks ago presented with a great opportunity to come over to the dark side and assume direction of 17 Group Homes. Yes I know I must enjoy a level self punishment for agreeing to take on this task but for me it is conquering the other side of the coin of DD Residential services. All new rules/regs and challenges.

In relation to Therap this move has re-energized me as well. I feel at the ICF I was Admin of, we were at the top of Therap mountain with not many other frontiers to conquer but here, here in the GH’s oh we are climbing out of the valley. So there is lots to do on many fronts.
My 1st small victory is the following: We as a company utilize TMS and keep PDF’s of all certs there. APD (Agency for Persons with Disabilities) does their monthly inspections of each home and they are looking in particular for Med validations & med class certs. They want to physically see the certificates and therefore have been issuing us notices of noncompliance (nonc) for lacking the physical certs on site. So I decided to show up at each of our scheduled walkthrough’s the past 2 weeks and show on the computer these certifications to the APD rep. We as an agency had also created their own login for APD but I was told by the inspector they weren’t comfortable navigating our system and would not log on. Unless myself or another supervisor was present at each walkthrough to show them, we would continue to receive these nonc’s.Anyhow that is not feasible going forward so at a regularly scheduled meeting at the regional gov office I met with the supervisor of licensing and showed them how to login and what our system was. They were very receptive to the method and indicated they would share this with the team in the field.
Sure enough at our next walkthrough where I was unable to attend, the rep from APD made efforts to logon and see our certs that way. It appears the nonc’s have stopped on this issue and the TMS system has prevailed!!!
On to the next battle………..

It’s that time of year again! by Kristen Thompson


July 31, 2014

Mr. Cardin (for himself, Ms. Collins, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Brown, Mr.
Casey, Mr. Franken, Mr. Grassley, Mr. King, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Manchin,
Mr. Markey, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Portman, Mr. Rockefeller, and Ms. Warren)
submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to



Designating the week beginning September 7, 2014, as “National Direct
Support Professionals Recognition Week”.

Whereas direct care workers, personal assistants, personal attendants, in-home
support workers, and paraprofessionals (referred to in this preamble as
“direct support professionals”) are the primary providers of publicly-
funded long-term support and services for millions of individuals with
Whereas direct support professionals must build a close, respectful, and trusted
relationship with individuals with disabilities;
Whereas direct support professionals assist individuals with disabilities with
intimate personal care assistance on a daily basis;
Whereas direct support professionals provide a broad range of individualized
support, including–

(1) preparation of meals;

(2) helping with medications;

(3) assisting with bathing and dressing;

(4) assisting individuals with physical disabilities with access to
their environment;

(5) providing transportation to school, work, religious, and
recreational activities; and

(6) helping with general aspects of daily living, such as financial
matters, medical appointments, and personal interests;

Whereas direct support professionals provide essential support to help keep
individuals with disabilities connected to family, friends, and
Whereas direct support professionals support individuals with disabilities in
making choices that lead to meaningful, productive lives;
Whereas direct support professionals are the key to helping individuals with
disabilities to live successfully in the community, and to avoid more
costly institutional care;
Whereas the participation of direct support professionals in medical care
planning is critical to the successful transition from medical events to
post-acute care and long-term support and services;
Whereas the majority of direct support professionals are the primary financial
providers for their families and often work multiple jobs to make ends
Whereas direct support professionals are a critical element in supporting
individuals who are receiving health care services for severe chronic
health conditions and individuals with with functional limitations;
Whereas while direct support professionals work and pay taxes, many direct
support professionals earn poverty-level wages and are therefore
eligible for the same Federal and State public assistance programs on
which individuals with disabilities served by direct support
professionals must also depend;
Whereas Federal and State policies assert the right of certain individuals with
a disability to live in a residential setting in the community, or an
institutional setting of their choice, and the Supreme Court of the
United States, in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999), confirmed that
right for certain individuals;
Whereas, as of 2014, the majority of direct support professionals are employed
in home and community-based settings and this majority is projected to
increase over the next decade;
Whereas there is a documented and increasing critical shortage of direct support
professionals throughout the United States; and
Whereas many direct support professionals are forced to leave their jobs due to
inadequate wages and benefits and limited opportunities for advancement,
creating demonstrated high turnover and vacancy rates, which adversely
affect the quality of support and the safety and health of individuals
with disabilities: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate–
(1) designates the week beginning September 7, 2014, as
“National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week”;
(2) recognizes the dedication of direct support
professionals and the vital role direct support professionals
have in enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities of
all ages;
(3) appreciates the contribution of direct support
professionals in supporting individuals with disabilities and
their families in the United States;
(4) identifies direct support professionals as integral to
long-term support and services for individuals with
disabilities; and
(5) finds that the successful implementation of the public
policies affecting individuals with disabilities in the United
States depends on the dedication of direct support

Buffalo Regional Conference by Lori Sojka

We just attended another most helpful Regional Conference here in Buffalo. It was nice seeing all the Therap Reps again as well as catching up with old acquaintances and meeting new ones. If you have a regional Conference coming up in your area please try to attend as the information shared is very beneficial. Also keep in mind that attending User Groups is a great way to network and stay in the loop. Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

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