They say “necessity is the mother of invention” but it is also the mother of accomplishment.
Donna Adams reached out to tell us about Super Heroes Kim and Brigette from our Rensselaer County Day Community Opportunities Program, who spend time working with her son Nathan via the phone every day. Now, talking on the phone may not be an extraordinary feat for most people, but Nathan has had a strong reluctance to using the phone his whole life. Then COVID – 19 came along, forcing us to use various technologies to connect with the outside world while we are in a state of lock down.
In Donna’s words, “During this time he has overcome his aversion to using the telephone and agrees to dial you up independently for each call. He has independently called his aunt. This is a skill he has avoided all this time, but has taken on during this bizarre time we are all experiencing.”
It started when Kim asked Donna if Nathan knew what to do if he had to call for help in the case of an emergency. Kim learned that Nathan knew the number to call but he strongly avoided using the phone, and so a goal was set. It started off slowly, with Donna dialing and setting the phone on the table with the speaker engaged. After a time, Nathan became more comfortable with the process. Now he waits excitedly until 1:00pm and calls himself. While on the phone, Kim said each member of her group has been “reading a book about space”. We take turns reading so I can follow along with them. At the end of the book they will pick their favorite planet and tell us about it, share why they like it and draw a picture of it. Nathan’s skills have extended to using Zoom to participate in the weekly group video chats. Staff Jordan engages the group to learn more about each other by playing an interactive game called “Kahoot.”
The Rensselaer County DCOP also makes regular “Mailbox deliveries” to each of their participants. The most engaging activity to date was in honor of Earth Day. Participants received a cherry tomato patio plant, as well as a small ceramic pot, a baggie of dirt and a sunflower seed in a tiny baggie. The budding ecologists have all planted their seeds and are caring for them lovingly. Donna thanked Kim for the deliveries saying that Nathan “looks forward to each delivery and tackles something in his packet each day. We truly appreciate all you do for Nathan.”
We thank Kim, Brigette , and all our Living Resources Super Heroes for rising to the challenges created by the COVID – 19 pandemic, and creatively making a difference in the lives of our individuals every day.