Rachel was recently diagnosed with Wernicke Encephalopathy. She is now considered legally blind, has chronic kidney disease, and is on dialysis
Neil Squire Update: May 2022
Rachel Gains Skills and Freedom
A Working Together Success
Rachel had previously worked as a bartender, server, and often had to supervise staff. But she could no longer work in that industry. Rachel was recently diagnosed with Wernicke Encephalopathy. She is now considered legally blind, has chronic kidney disease, and is on dialysis three times per week.
Last December, Rachel joined Neil Squire's Working Together program. With a real passion for helping others, she wanted to do something to make a difference in other people’s lives and she was in need of new skills to get her ready for employment in a different field of work
Rachel quickly obtained two jobs. In March, she started working at a crisis phone line, answering calls and providing a listening ear, as well as crisis intervention to anyone who calls into the helpline. Rachel also recently started working in a group home setting with clients of all ages. She is juggling both jobs part-time while still navigating her new disability and the technology needed to succeed in her employment.
Rachel is in the process of applying to university to study Psychology. Her goal is to one day become a social worker and be able to help others within the community.
Since joining the Working Together program, Rachel has become more confident in herself and has learned many new skills to help aide her in her journey to live with her new disability. She has moved out on her own, gained independence, secured two jobs, and says she now has the freedom and skills to live a fulfilling life.
Lynn is passionate about caring for seniors, with extensive experience working with clients in independent living homes. Now, she wants to continue working with seniors and performing respite care services as an entrepreneur in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Lynn was referred to Neil Squire’s Digital Jumpstart program from Community Futures’ Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program program.
Through Digital Jumpstart, Lynn received an ergonomic chair, which has helped with her lower and upper back pain. Working with a tutor, she learned how to use the computer, how to manage and maintain her Facebook business page, Facebook group, and Google Business page, and how to conduct internet research.
Lynn previously felt uncomfortable exploring the computer and internet because she was afraid to press the wrong button or do the wrong thing. Since completing the Digital Jumpstart program, Lynn shared that she is more confident and comfortable using the computer, and feels more confident in her computer literacy skills. She feels more organized, and is more apt to try new things.
George had been working in retail in Victoria and was looking forward to starting a second job, a work from home position as an accessibility tester for digital products. But he needed the right equipment to start his new job.
He has Tourette Syndrome, with a frequent motor tic and a stutter when he speaks. In particular, he has difficulty using a computer with a keyboard due to his motor tic.
Through WorkBC Assistive Technology Services, George received Dragon Naturally Speaking and a headset so that he could dictate into his computer instead of having to type. He is able to mute himself using an inline headset control while he is stuttering.
“It helped me greatly because without the program and knowing how to use it, I am just not eligible to do the job,” he says. “[WorkBC Assistive Technology Services] helped me in terms of the career aspects of my life, and I appreciate that, and wanted to say thank you.”
Helping the Movement Centre Provide Their Clients With Affordable AT
A Makers Making Change Success
The Movement Centre of Manitoba in Winnipeg specializes in conductive education rehabilitation, working with clients of all ages with neurological motor disorders to learn skills and functions that can be used in everyday life.
Over the last few years, the Movement Centre is one of several organizations in Winnipeg that Makers Making Change has partnered with to provide low cost assistive technology to people with disabilities.
For the Movement Centre, this makes it easier for some of their clients to take their devices home, and continue learning and benefitting outside of lesson time.
One area in particular that Makers Making Change has helped with is in providing switch-adapted toys, which allows young clients to play independently and are great learning tools.
Being able to take the toys home allows the kids to continue learning at home, outside of session time.
This low cost model makes it easier for the kids to continue improving their skills, by making it easier to move on to smaller switches when they need to.
“Everything we do at the Centre, we want that to be transferable to at home, we want it to be easy to replicate. And one of the tricky things is it’s hard to tell a client that there’s a piece of adaptive tech or a piece of equipment that would benefit them, and then they open up a catalogue and see the sticker prices on some of those items,” lead conductor Chris Martin explains. “So it’s really helpful for our families to not have to swallow the price of some of that stuff, and it makes it a lot easier to transition back to home.”
Roles of the Job Developer, Assistive Tech Specialist and the Employer in Accommodation
Employers may be fearful that accommodating someone with a disability will be costly, that it will cause hardship to them and their other staff, and that the employee will become a burden. In this webinar, we will highlight how the Job Developer, Assistive Tech Specialist, and the Employer can work together to simplify the road to accommodation and how easy the process is with the needed supports in place.
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