Independent Living

Tue, April 17, 2012
Person: “What do you do for a living?” Me: “I am an Occupational Therapist.” Person: “Oh … you help people get jobs?” or “That is basically a Physical Therapist right?” or “Can I get a massage?” This conversation plays out more frequently than I would prefer to admit. So, because April is Occupational Therapy Month, I am celebrating with a clarification of what OT is and what we do here at the Center for Specialty Therapy. I can think of no better way to explain OT than through the words of our...
Fri, April 13, 2012
Music, snacks and good company. That's all our residents from YAI's Mamaroneck and Wagner group homes need to have a good time. Why wait for the weekend to have a party? Our fun and energetic guys and gals have found a way to turn an ordinary Thursday night into a party for everyone to enjoy. Once a month, the Mamaroneck Residence is a house filled with laughter, dancing and the music of Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Sean Paul and songs from "Grease." One night last November staff from both homes...
Wed, August 22, 2012
Vacationing is not for the faint of heart. Under any circumstances. With YAI it's long hours, hard work, and requires creativity, empathy, organization and a whole long list of other things but it's also the best experiences of my life. But when YAI travels, I feel as if it's almost magical. This is ridiculous sounding, I know. But something unexplainable happens to staff and travelers alike. Sing a silly song in front of others knowing I have a terrible voice? Sure why not! Try something...
Fri, February 10, 2012
Earlier this week, Barry's son Jeffrey moved into the E. 52nd St Residence in Brooklyn. I think Marion (my wife) is doing better than I am. I'm taken aback by the depth of my feelings. Don't get me wrong, after 10 or more years, I wanted to see Jeffrey move into this home. Now that it's done, it seems like he has taken to it like a duck to water, which is what we had hoped. Every parent wants to see their child safe, comfortable and happy. When he called the other morning to say, "Hi Dad, I'm...
Fri, February 17, 2012
A recent post by Sarah Baier, titled, “Never an Acceptable Use of the R Word,” brought back memories. I recall my everyday struggles I went through in school. I remember being told I was "a retard" when I couldn’t do something right! “You can’t play with us because you don’t know how to play or being called a loser! Whenever I wanted to be down with the crew, I remember being called on in class to participate by the teacher and not saying much, not doing well on examinations. People wondered '...
Fri, February 24, 2012
When I was 10, my grandmother always saw me as a radio DJ. I was living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with her and I used to listen to all the disco station. I love music and have so many albums in my apartment. YAI and Job Path have encouraged me to pursue my dream of getting a job in the entertainment industry. I would love to work at The Apollo Theater or Magic Johnson's movie complex in Harlem. I've had other jobs. A couple of years ago, I was a receptionist at Job Path, but it was a difficult...
Sat, February 25, 2012
I love to travel. I've been to London and Wales. I've traveled with other groups of people with disabilities, but this afternoon will be my first trip with YAI's Leisure Trax travel program. I'm going on a cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. I once was on a cruise with my parents, about two years ago. We went to Puerto Rico. It was not so good. I like to do things on my own . . . not necessarily with my parents. This time I'm sharing a room with a roomate. He's independent, just like me. I've...
Wed, February 08, 2012
I was so proud to be part of the opening of our East 52nd St. Residence (also known as YAI's Dream House) on Tuesday. My heart filled with joy, as I heard a YAI residential coordinator describe how long the residents had been waiting for this house so the group of six individuals, all friends, could begin to share their lives together. This was the first time in my 11 years with YAI that I was involved in opening a residential program. I was amazed, how the house was transformed into a...
Tue, February 21, 2012
I worked in residential/service coordination in Virginia, my home state, for about five years. So when I read that Virginia will close four state institutions for people with developmental disabilities and move thousands of people to their own homes, their family's houses or group homes as part of a settlement announced recently with the U.S. Justice Department, I thought this is great news about a move in direction that is long overdue. The agreement came after a scathing federal report of the...
Mon, February 13, 2012
Over the last two years Iola has been working on increasing her preparation, attendance, and advocacy toward all her medical appointments, as well as completing all of her daily and weekly responsibilities within her residence. The team worked with Iola to develop a points system/token economy that would reward Iola each time she completed her medical and residential responsibilities. Over the last 24 months Iola has worked very hard, becoming more independent while also working toward a BIG...

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