FOR EMPLOYEES:  FORMS | EMPLOYEE RESOURCES

Casmir Cares Services Inc Logo

Archive for March, 2020

A New Way of Seeing a Family Member with IDD

When parents or families helped a family member with IDD connect to larger social networks beyond the family, some were surprised to discover that others were open to being asked for support. When one son wanted to know his father’s friends, the dad asked his friends and was surprised by the positive responses. One friend said he was “humbled and honored” that the father had asked him to support his son. 

When asked, another potential friend of an individual with IDD said that she would love to spend time with her. Often parents do not realize that their child could have friends in their lives that are neither family members nor peers with disabilities. Or they may not realize what gifts their family member has to share with the world.

It’s not their fault. It’s quite possible that family members spend so much time trying to find services that meet an individual with IDD where he or she is that they tend to focus on gaps that need filling. As a result, they never realize that someone they see as operating at a disadvantage may actually have something special to offer the world.

It may be something as simple, but rare these days, as a sense of exuberance, joy, or wonder. Perhaps it’s a strong sense of responsibility. Or an interest in teaching others about a favorite topic. An insatiable curiosity. Or a funny fresh way of looking at the world.

 All too often, individuals with developmental disabilities are kept separate from the rest of society. In the old days, they were kept in institutions. These days, although we know that social connections can benefit all people and we encourage people to expand beyond their comfort zones, it can be hard to get individuals with disabilities involved with broader social circles or communities.

 Getting involved with other people can mean more than just physically sharing space with others. It’s about connecting with others. And it can involve how we play and  share our interests. Relationship building is an important building block. We know that when people with IDD participate in faith communities, sports, their neighborhoods, and community organizations, they can increase their quality of life and sense of well-being.

Obstacles

If you work with or have IDD family members, you know that it can be hard to cultivate a social life with people outside the family or disabled community. Part of the problem is that disabled individuals usually have social networks that consist of family, support staff, or other persons with disabilities. And while people generally agree that individuals with intellectual disabilities should be included in society, they may resist interacting with them, because they are unsure of how to behave or find it uncomfortable. Plus, as family members or outside caregivers, we may be reluctant to place outsiders into situations where we think they may be uneasy.

But maybe, as the stories in the beginning suggest, reality is a kinder, gentler place than we may imagine. Maybe we should be careful not to let our fears shape our perceptions and dictate our actions—especially if that limits the size of our IDD family members’ social circles.

Another obstacle may involve transportation. Just getting to activities so that one can participate can be a barrier. So that must be worked out.  

Recipes for social inclusion

If you want to help someone widen their social web, consider a few of the following ingredients:

Being accepted as an individual beyond the disability helps a person develop a stronger sense of self worth. Consider groups where the individual with IDD might fit right in. Maybe he loves classic cars or monster trucks. Or maybe she would like to join a knitters group or a yoga class.

Having significant and reciprocal personal relationships matters. This could be as simple as creating a relationship where your disabled son spends an hour each week helping an elderly neighbor with gardening or just sitting together chatting.

Being involved in activities makes it a lot easier to expand a person’s social circle. Invite people to meet your disabled family members. Or reach out to groups that organize events the IDD member may be interested in. You can tell them, “Remember us when you organize an event. We can help out. And we want to have fun, too.” They should see your family member as a resource, someone who can help them out. 

So how do you expand someone’s sense of community or belonging? 

You could brainstorm community groups, people, or relationships that could be developed. Connecting with people who share similar interests means folks will be naturally drawn together. They already have something in common that creates a social glue.

After brainstorming ideas, have your family member chose their three favorite ideas to pursue. Then list a few steps you’ll need to take to get the member involved in the group

This kind of approach has helped individuals with IDD get jobs, socialize more with neighbors, and get far more involved in church or social civic activities.

Here are some of the ways people with IDD expanded their social circles:

  • A married couple gave an individual a ride to their church twice a month
  • Several individuals reconnected with old friends from school
  • An individual got to know a man at church better after saying he wanted to meet him and working out with his parents to invite him to lunch after church.
  • An individual joined a weekly cribbage group
  • An individual joined a university women’s basketball team fan club
  • An individual enjoyed a weekly trivia contest at a restaurant/bar
  • An individual volunteered at a children’s museum
  • An individual performed in a theater production
  • An individual volunteered with an animal rescue group

Clearly, there are many people, groups, and venues that would not only welcome the help of individuals with developmental disabilities, they would benefit from their efforts. In many cases, such individuals can contribute to the greater good and enjoy the benefits of interacting with other community members.

 

Steps You Can Take to Avoid Catching the New Coronavirus

You may have heard that a new virus is spreading around the world. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (aka COVID-19) has infected more than 105,000 people around the world. Most (80,000+) are in China, where the disease first turned up. More than 3,500 people globally have died of the virus. As of Monday, March 9, 545 people have been treated for coronavirus in the United States. But the possible public health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high both globally and here in the U.S., according to the World Health Organization. And from day to day, the numbers keep changing.

The good news is that 4 in 5 cases (or more than 80 percent) are not severe cases, according to a large Chinese study. That means some people experience what feels like a mild cold and then it goes away. Or a small sore throat. And two days later they feel fine. Cases defined as mild did not involve pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, or only mild pneumonia.

The bad news is that mild symptoms can make it harder to control the spread of a potential epidemic. And you should know that those who are older or with underlying health conditions face a higher risk of more severe symptoms.

This new COVID-19 virus is a bit of a mystery.  We do not know everything about it yet. We don’t have a vaccine yet. It’s possible that it may spread from people who haven’t shown symptoms yet and therefore don’t even know they have it. While there have been such reports, it’s not considered the main way the virus spreads.

We want all of our caregivers, families, and individuals to know that you can take precautions to avoid getting sick. While not everything is known about this new coronavirus, the better educated you are on what’s known will help protect you and loved ones in our community.

 

Q: What are symptoms of this new virus?

A: Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Among confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 cases, those with reported illnesses have experienced everything from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

Q: How can I avoid catching this virus?

A: The most important thing you can do is wash your hands often, preferably with soap and water, rubbing all surfaces of the hands for 20 seconds (imagine singing “Happy Birthday” 3 times fast).  

Q: How should I prepare for a possible outbreak?

A: Keep a 30-day supply of essential medicines. Get a flu shot. Keep essential household items in stock. Have a support system in place for older family members. 

Q: How quickly do the symptoms appear?

A: The CDC believes that symptoms may appear in as little as 2 days or take as long as 14 days after exposure to show up.

Q: How does the virus spread?

A: The virus is thought to spread mostly from person-to-person. It can spread between people who are in close contact, or within 6 feet of each other. It spreads via droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Q: Can I catch it from touching certain contaminated surfaces or objects?

A: It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that the virus landed on and then touching your own mouth, nose, or maybe even your eyes. But this is not considered the main way the virus spreads.

Q: When does the virus spread?

A: People are thought to be the most contagious when their symptoms are the worst (and they’re feeling the sickest).

Q: How do you know if you’ve got COVID-19?

A: You would know if you had COVID-19, if you tested positive for the virus. The test involves taking nasal and mouth swabs.

Q: What should you do if you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes it?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following if you are sick or think you are infected with COVID-19:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Wear a facemask when you are sharing a room or vehicle with other people or pets.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains between 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they are dry. If hands are visibly dirty, soap and water are better.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes, cups, forks, towels, or bedding with others in your home.
  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
  • Family and caregivers should clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day. These include tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Clean any surfaces that get bodily fluids or stool on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Monitor the sick person’s symptoms. Seek prompt medical attention if the illness is getting worse. For example, an individual might experience difficulty breathing.

Stay safe and take care!

Learn more:

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention on COVID-19

Most Coronavirus Cases Are Mild. That’s Good and Bad News.
Video: 20 Seconds of Handwashing Could Save Your Life

Video: How to Disinfect Your Home

Our Vision

When parents or families helped a family member with IDD connect to larger social networks beyond the family, some were surprised to discover that others were open to being asked for support. When one son wanted to know his father’s friends, the dad asked his friends and was surprised by the positive responses. One friend said he was “humbled and honored” that the father had asked him to support his son. 

When asked, another potential friend of an individual with IDD said that she would love to spend time with her. Often parents do not realize that their child could have friends in their lives that are neither family members nor peers with disabilities. Or they may not realize what gifts their family member has to share with the world.

It’s not their fault. It’s quite possible that family members spend so much time trying to find services that meet an individual with IDD where he or she is that they tend to focus on gaps that need filling. As a result, they never realize that someone they see as operating at a disadvantage may actually have something special to offer the world.

It may be something as simple, but rare these days, as a sense of exuberance, joy, or wonder. Perhaps it’s a strong sense of responsibility. Or an interest in teaching others about a favorite topic. An insatiable curiosity. Or a funny fresh way of looking at the world.

 All too often, individuals with developmental disabilities are kept separate from the rest of society. In the old days, they were kept in institutions. These days, although we know that social connections can benefit all people and we encourage people to expand beyond their comfort zones, it can be hard to get individuals with disabilities involved with broader social circles or communities.

 Getting involved with other people can mean more than just physically sharing space with others. It’s about connecting with others. And it can involve how we play and  share our interests. Relationship building is an important building block. We know that when people with IDD participate in faith communities, sports, their neighborhoods, and community organizations, they can increase their quality of life and sense of well-being.

Obstacles

If you work with or have IDD family members, you know that it can be hard to cultivate a social life with people outside the family or disabled community. Part of the problem is that disabled individuals usually have social networks that consist of family, support staff, or other persons with disabilities. And while people generally agree that individuals with intellectual disabilities should be included in society, they may resist interacting with them, because they are unsure of how to behave or find it uncomfortable. Plus, as family members or outside caregivers, we may be reluctant to place outsiders into situations where we think they may be uneasy.

But maybe, as the stories in the beginning suggest, reality is a kinder, gentler place than we may imagine. Maybe we should be careful not to let our fears shape our perceptions and dictate our actions—especially if that limits the size of our IDD family members’ social circles.

Another obstacle may involve transportation. Just getting to activities so that one can participate can be a barrier. So that must be worked out.  

Recipes for social inclusion

If you want to help someone widen their social web, consider a few of the following ingredients:

Being accepted as an individual beyond the disability helps a person develop a stronger sense of self worth. Consider groups where the individual with IDD might fit right in. Maybe he loves classic cars or monster trucks. Or maybe she would like to join a knitters group or a yoga class.

Having significant and reciprocal personal relationships matters. This could be as simple as creating a relationship where your disabled son spends an hour each week helping an elderly neighbor with gardening or just sitting together chatting.

Being involved in activities makes it a lot easier to expand a person’s social circle. Invite people to meet your disabled family members. Or reach out to groups that organize events the IDD member may be interested in. You can tell them, “Remember us when you organize an event. We can help out. And we want to have fun, too.” They should see your family member as a resource, someone who can help them out. 

So how do you expand someone’s sense of community or belonging? 

You could brainstorm community groups, people, or relationships that could be developed. Connecting with people who share similar interests means folks will be naturally drawn together. They already have something in common that creates a social glue.

After brainstorming ideas, have your family member chose their three favorite ideas to pursue. Then list a few steps you’ll need to take to get the member involved in the group

This kind of approach has helped individuals with IDD get jobs, socialize more with neighbors, and get far more involved in church or social civic activities.

Here are some of the ways people with IDD expanded their social circles:

  • A married couple gave an individual a ride to their church twice a month
  • Several individuals reconnected with old friends from school
  • An individual got to know a man at church better after saying he wanted to meet him and working out with his parents to invite him to lunch after church.
  • An individual joined a weekly cribbage group
  • An individual joined a university women’s basketball team fan club
  • An individual enjoyed a weekly trivia contest at a restaurant/bar
  • An individual volunteered at a children’s museum
  • An individual performed in a theater production
  • An individual volunteered with an animal rescue group

Clearly, there are many people, groups, and venues that would not only welcome the help of individuals with developmental disabilities, they would benefit from their efforts. In many cases, such individuals can contribute to the greater good and enjoy the benefits of interacting with other community members.

 

Contact Us

4950 Parkside Ave, Suite 400,
Philadelphia, Pa 19131
Phone: 267-292-3116
Fax: 267-292-4879
support@casmircares.com

We Are Hiring!

Find a purposeful career by joining our staff! Casmir Care Services is currently hiring:

Direct Support Professionals (DSP)