Does anyone work with people with profound developmental isabilities?

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by Renee, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Renee

    Renee Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone work with profoundly retarded adults?
    I need fresh ideas for activities. We tend to do the same activities over and over. Everything must be done hand over hand for almost all of these individuals and of course some of them are too contracted to even work hand over hand. There is also the challenge of limited vision, tracking, attention, eyes that only look upward, etc.
    They love music especially the oldies. We sometimes do our adaptive version of musical wheelchairs or the Limbo, or a conga line. We park or seat everyone around a table and have them bat a large ball back and forth… again, hand over hand for the few that have the range of motion. Picture Bingo is another option but for some of them the only fun seems to come from all the cheering and hooting we do when we tell someone they have Bingo!
    I would so love to find a new idea or two to use for a craft or activity that would actually be fun and exciting for these guys. I realize that much of the pleasure for them comes from the attention they are getting. I especially need things that I can do alone with a small group as it isn’t always possible for me to have a helper.
    All suggestions appreciated!
    Thanks and blessings,
    Renee
     
  2. wildhorse

    wildhorse Well-Known Member

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    Make music with drums, maracas,bells. Make up some pudding paint out of vanilla and food coloring. Play pass it on to music take a ball and let them pass it around to music and who ever has it when the music ends gets a prize.
     

  3. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not much help here but the 48 year old lady a couple streets over just likes tieing knots in cloth and untieing them. sorry thats all I can think of.
     
  4. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    I read this thread title and for a moment, I thought you were asking whether anyone had co-workers who were dumb as a box of rocks ...

    Yeah, some of them! :p
     
  5. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    willow girl, in my case it's both. :)

    i work with people who are profoundly retarded with serious physical disabilities. i can relate that finding rec activities can be daunting, nigh impossible.

    as you've noticed, they enjoy just being part of a group that is having fun. if the staff is playing and having fun, it's contagious. we've also noticed that if there is trouble and argument on the unit, the people are whinier and unhappy. their whole lives, just about, are lived through their caregivers. our people are 24 hour total care, and it sounds like yours are too.

    in the summer a favorite activity is to take them out in their wheelchairs in a nice shady spot, while the staff plays a game of volleyball. they watch a lot of movies and tv too, but i bet that's what you are trying to get away from. similar to above, just being included in a group of people laughing, gossiping and talking, and being included in the conversation pleases them no end. just keep them engaged in conversation, even if they can't talk back.

    they go on shopping trips to the local walmart, or to gatlinburg. most of them get excited when they realize they are getting to go anywhere, who cares where (usually about the time someone pulls their good shoes out of the closet and tries to get them on lol!.) they go fishing ( our speech pathologist is a tinkerer and he made them all poles that reel in by pushing a simple switch.) they visit local farms as many of them grew up on one. they all went to walmart last month and had "glamour shots" taken. they're real cute.

    for actual hands on activites they probably get the most from sensory activites like grooming (hair, nails, jewelry, shaving, lotion, etc.) someone on our unity had the idea of getting finger paints, and pressing their little crippled hands *gently* to paper, then painting in pictures around them, the hand prints being things like butterfly wings or flowers. they then did the same with their feet. there are examples framed all over the unit. some enjoy having a piece of fabric to rub if they can use their fingers at all. some have those squishy balls to play with.

    rec is not my job, but this is a few things i have seen them doing over the years.
     
  6. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

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    I used to. A lot of those people seem to really require strict routineand repetition of activities that may have bored their worker to tears long ago...but they need it to feel secure. It's a matter of finding a balance- providing challenges and novelty without freaking them out.
     
  7. PinonHillLady

    PinonHillLady Well-Known Member

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    From my experience, things with textures are fun. Playdough, rice, finger paints are all good. Even if you have to do the movement with them, feeling the stuff can be fun for those folks.

    Putting the above on cookie sheets (or anything with sides) can help them manipulate the medium, but not create such a huge mess.

    Hope it helps!

    PHL
     
  8. Renee

    Renee Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the feedback! We have used some of your ideas but it gives me confirmation that whether the activity seems boring or not (Chamoisee) we are on the right track. Today was our first day back to work after a Christmas break. When we unloaded everyone from their busses I noticed how excited they were to be back with us for the day. This blessed me.

    Willow Girl, Sorry about your co-workers!

    Marvella, we don’t have enough staff to take our guys out on field trips as almost all are incontinent and many frail. Their homes take them out from time to time. Movies! Hah! We play them sometimes but I’ve never seen anyone actually watch one. Familiar songs or a well known character like Santa Claus will get their attention in a movie for brief spans. People with Cp often have eyes that roll upward and it’s hard to position them to watch a screen. I love the hand print painting idea. I’m not very artistic or creative but some of my co-workers would be good at this.
    Your speech pathologist is on to something! Adaptive switches are so expensive and limited in function. Recently I borrowed a switch operated measuring cup from the school and we made pudding. It is still necessary for me to pour the liquid into the cup and line it up with the bowl, and hold everything (!) while someone holds the switch (in this case a ball on a cord that they can pull) in the client’s fingers and helps them pull… but those who have the ability to watch could see that they were causing the measuring cup to tip and pour. The best part was getting to eat pudding that they made.
    We have some of the Judy Lynn computer programs that they can work with a switch. Again it’s hand over hand with almost everyone. Most respond to the sound programs as it’s too difficult to watch the screen.
    Wildhorse, we use Rhythm Instruments and have live music three mornings a week. I will try the activity with passing the ball to music if I have a helper because there are only a very few who could hold or pass the ball themselves. I think they would enjoy it.
    Chamoisee your words are encouraging.
    PHL I am challenged to start working with the “messy stuff”. I’ll have to see if we can replace the sand in the messy table with something else. We have an ambulatory individual who loves to throw the sand and so we got away from using the table. She likes to take a nap everyday. If we could just coordinate our activity time to her nap time…hee, hee.
    James, Like your neighbor we have some folks that like to do the same activity everyday. We might have one person who could make knots!
    Thanks everyone,
    Have a Blessed and Happy New Year!
    Renee
     
  9. PinonHillLady

    PinonHillLady Well-Known Member

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    The mess can sometimes BE a challenge, Renee. I have a severely developmentally delayed and mentally ill daughter that I homeschooled for years. (She now lives in a special facility, but that's another post) and I found some of the messy stuff would be wonderful for her, but I just didn't have the oomph after it was all over to clean it up!

    Just remember, you are enriching their lives no matter what you do! These folks need all the TLC they can get.

    PHL
     
  10. elle

    elle Member

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    Hi,
    Maybe this website might help. www.recreationtherapy.com/actindex.htm
    Also try a search of therapeutic recreation, I am going to college for TRA degree and there are several nice websites with activites on them.
     
  11. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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    Can you bring in therapy animals for a visit?

    How about Karaoke, since they like the hooting so much?

    You could have them throw paint at canvas and auction the artwork off as a fundraiser.

    You could have a scent safari. Bring in various extracts (vanilla and such), being wary of known allergies, and flowers, and other things with scents most people find pleasant, and let them smell the different things, the way others might enjoy a slide show.

    Get a hand-cranked, electrically-cooled or freezer pre-cooled (no salt and ice--toom messy) ice-cream maker and let the more able bodied turn the crank, then make sundays with different toppings out of the results. Have enough cans of whipping cream to allow an occasional whip-cream fight to break out.
     
  12. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    We have some of the Judy Lynn computer programs that they can work with a switch. Again it’s hand over hand with almost everyone. Most respond to the sound programs as it’s too difficult to watch the screen.


    renee- the same speech guy found these little magnetic dots for their computer programs. he figures out where on their face they have the most control of movement, and places the dot there- on a nose, forehead, cheekbone... then the person can just move their nose a bit, and the program puts together a simple jigsaw puzzle, or brings up different pictures. he is a real handy guy to have around, we are luc'y to have him.

    the reason we have such coverage is because we are a state funded residential facility. but what makes it nice for our folks is we have federally mandated guidelines for coverage. our maximum coverage is 4 persons for one aide, but most of the time they only have two or three people to look after. that doesn;t count all the nursing staff, pt, ot, speech hearing, psych... i think we figured it takes 1400 workers to tend to 400 clients. nusring homes only dream of this kind of coverage. and i must say, we do really good work because we have the time and resources to do so. it's a good job. are you in a group home?
     
  13. lsulenes

    lsulenes Well-Known Member

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    PHL I am challenged to start working with the “messy stuff”. I’ll have to see if we can replace the sand in the messy table with something else. We have an ambulatory individual who loves to throw the sand and so we got away from using the table. She likes to take a nap everyday. If we could just coordinate our activity time to her nap time…hee, hee.


    Renee,
    One way to get around some of the clean up of the messy stuff is to use edible items to draw in. I saw pudding already mentioned, but we have used things such as whipped cream, frosting, or anything that is creamy that your people would probably eat while using. It also can be a good oral texture for those less mobile. One product that works great also, but isn't edible, is shaving cream. It is a nice, tactile sensation and then cleans up pretty well. Just don't confuse them by switching whipped cream into the same activity, even on a different day.

    When I was teaching in a classroom with the severely disabled, we had a student who couldn't move much at all and we had little in the way of financing. The speech path there had a type of adapter that allowed us to change just about any normal item into a switch-operated item. We were able to plug it into the radio, the fan, many different toys, and it seemed to have endless applications. I haven't been involved with the severely disabled for about 4 years now so I don't know where to locate this type of equipment, but I bet your specialists would.

    Also, because we had little extra money, I would surf the catalogs and the net to locate products that I could easily adapt or reproduce with things that were on hand. Creating a puzzle board that has different textures to match is one. I also created different matching activites with "velcoins" that worked on all educational skills, but this could be adapated to your specific clients by using pictures from their life or activities they do daily. It never hurts to have the fun items be something that reinforces life skills or helps keep physical mobility. I always laminated each activity to give it the longest life. Low tech is great because it doesn't cost much and is easily reproduced if something happens to it.

    I don't know how much time you have or the ages of your people, but we found that craft projects are neat too. One we did was to take apart donated shirts and create rugs. Some of my higher functioning students helped to cut and connect strips of material and then roll them into balls to be used with the others who were less mobile. These next students would help (some hand-over-hand) to braid into strips that we would then sew into rugs. Crocheting with a large hook is another one that can be done either individually or hand-over-hand. This can be an ongoing project and helps with dexterity as well. These types of projects not only can be fun, but also help to keep the individual exercised in whatever way they can.

    The other part is that yes, we may get bored, but repeating an activity is how these folks are able to feel accomplishment and will help keep them active and enjoying life.

    Hope these ideas help and maybe jumpstart your creative thinking cap. ~ Lisa
     
  14. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    They may not seem to you to be watching the tv, but you'd be surprised at what they do catch on it. I have a severly dev del daughter, tho she is prob more advanced than your group. She doesn't seem to be looking at the tv, but for her, the little sideways glances are all she can tolerate and really takes in a lot. When she was younger I had those 6hr tapes of Sesame st from pbs that I recorded. She had them memorized and always knew what would happen next. She loved that.

    I get horribly bored and impatient doing the same things over and over, but dd loves it and the attn.
     
  15. the mama

    the mama loves all critters Supporter

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    Make a sensory sack. Burlap is good. Take plastic easter eggs and cover with fur, sequins, cordoroy, velvet, sand paper, etc. Include different colors and even fabric prints. It is fun to put your fingers in the sack, feel all these things and 'search' for the xxxxxx one. Then describe what they found. You found a soft, furry blue egg.Good luck. And THANK YOU for working with these special people. God Bless you.
     
  16. Renee

    Renee Well-Known Member

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    Mama, the sensory sack is a great idea! Thanks.

    Lisa, you have given me a lot to think about. I will look into the switch adaptor. Our budget is tight but perhaps we could do a fundraiser. The texture puzzle is a neat idea. No one in my crew could work on a loom or crochet as I think it would be too difficult even hand over hand. Most have very contracted arms and hands. We have one individual who is verbal and can carry on a conversation. Another can speak in limited three word phrases. One is trying to learn to use a communication board. Everyone else is nonverbal except for an occasional “mamma” or “no”. A few of them are able to feed themselves with adaptive silverware. The job involves total care, toileting, feeding, working on individual goals. Some days there are a lot of clothing changes. Because of this it varies from day to day how much free time we have to does extra fun stuff.

    PHL The concern with using the sand table is not the mess but a safety issue. (Sand in the eyes) We used it today and all went well. We talked about doing some pudding drawings.

    Marvella, I work for a county board of MRDD. I work in an Adult Day Program for the profoundly disabled. There is another group of individuals in our facility who are not as mentally and physically limited in function and can enjoy doing more things. We have a school and a workshop for those who are able to work and earn a paycheck as well as job training programs. Our ratio of staff to client is 1 to 3 but with toileting accidents, etc., a lot of time is spent in the bathroom and things can get hectic.
    I would love to find out more about the “magnetic dots”. I’ll have to do a google search.

    Cyngbaeld, Thanks for letting me know what your daughter enjoys. I do find that the movies that generate interest are those that are familiar from childhood years.

    Thank you, everyone. I have worked less than a year with this group and felt like things were starting to get stale. There is a big focus on activities being adult appropriate which can be frustrating to me at times. I appreciate all of your suggestions as I have a disability in the creative thought! I need to start thinking outside the box.
    I read all of your posts with interest and hope I have not overlooked anyone. My time is limited tonight.
    May you all be blessed,
    Renee
     
  17. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    just wanted to add, the folks on our unit are PROFOUNDLY retarded. most of them have the mentality of a 3 month old, in an adult body. some are up in their 70's! none under 30. only a very few of them eat- most are tube fed.

    but if you think how sweet and guileless a 3 month old is, you can guess how sweet our folks are. after 9 years there, i love them like my own family. :)

    if i don't forget, i'll ask the slp about those "magnetic dots."
     
  18. PinonHillLady

    PinonHillLady Well-Known Member

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    Sand would be awful in the eyes!

    Glad it went well today! I never tried the pudding. That one really sounds like fun! And so yummy, too!

    PHL
     
  19. CowboyBunny

    CowboyBunny Well-Known Member

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    Not sure how common this is for your craft activities and the name of them escapes me but the little colored cornstarch noodles come to mind, the ones that you get damp and stick together. I hope someone knows what I'm talking about.

    Tami ~ Heritage Corner Poultry
     
  20. Renee

    Renee Well-Known Member

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    Cowboy Bunny,
    I'll have to ask around about the cornstarch noodles!
    Marvella... Before taking this job I subbed in the classrooms at our school as a teacher's aid for the last four years. The students ranged from the mildly to profoundly disabled. I love my job and the people I work with bless me more than I could ever bless them. I want their lives to be enriched by the time they spend in our program.
    May all of you have a wonderful New Year,
    Renee