Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mind reading . . .

It has been a while.

Oh how I miss the days of blogging at my desk wondering how it is that I could get paid for doing nothing . . .now I am wondering how much work you can do when considered "salaried" before it becomes slave labor . . .

Needless to say my new job is proving challenging. I am doing my best to remember that I am still learning. My mantra these days is "Most things are hard before they are easy" I am on the stress diet, which means while some overeat when they are stressed, I tend to stop eating. I am sure this does not help my state of mind. AND because of my PCOS I don't even have the benefit of losing weight from my stress diet!!!

My boss also decided today that I should be a mind reader and know she wanted me to do something. How can I know? I am fresh out of mind reading skills. And instead of knowing she was a crackpot for thinking I could or would complete a task I wasn't told to do, I bawled my eyes out on the way home. This is not the first time I have cried about this job.

The state of early intervention in my county is beyond crazy right now. Basically when children who are autistic are in Birth-3 services in my county, parents can choose what kind of program to put their children in. So if they want a ABA program, or Verbal Behavior, or Floortime, they can find a provider of their choosing to provide those service hours indicated in their IEP and the early intervention program will pay for it. They used to be able to keep those services when they went to Preschool Special Education for 3-5 services.

I guess the school districts realized they were paying out massive amounts of money and sought out another option. The contracted with the Intermediate unit that I work for to provide the services for 3-5 preschool education. Imagine this, you are getting Class A services for your autistic child for years, then you are told you must take the generic service. No choice, or you lose your services. Now granted, we have some good staff and generally do a good job. But we live in a very affluent county and the parents to not settle. They get lawyers and feel it is ok to yell and scream at anyone they come across. They feel very entitled and it wears on you to be yelled at daily. Additionally, while my job is to case manage these kid's programs, I am also working with families and trying to "sell" our services--which is hard when they say to me "How does this make any sense" Because I know it does not make sense. My job is to find the staff for the kids that will make the parents happy. But they will say they want a blue eyed, black haired girl who is 27 1/4 years old and has 6 toes on her right foot. If we don't have this they get the lawyers involved and it gets ugly. We were threatened the other day that we would have the news stations at our homes to discuss the travesty of this all...

I would be just like them I am sure if this were my child, but it is hard to be in the middle of all this. We are just trying to do our jobs- and we are in the battleground of a system whose demand has far exceeded the supply.

The autism crisis we are in has got to change. The behavioral health system we are using to service these children is not working. It was not designed to be used for these children and we need to come up with a better method. I know I have all this to say and no solutions, but it is tiring to be on the other end of the phone with desperate parents who just want the best for their kids. I can't blame them, I just need to take less personally that I cannot always give them what they want or need. And at the end of the day I need to know I am doing a good job even though it doesn't ever feel like I am making headway.

I do have to say some families have made it clear their ranting it not toward me, and that helps at times. When they say that, I encourage them to continue ranting. It HAS to be hard. No doubt. Parents of special needs kids are amazing, and all of them deserve more than a pat on the back!!

Wow, that went much longer that I expected. If you are still hanging in there, thanks for reading.

I have a fun weekend coming up. We are going to see Wicked on Broadway and I am WAY excited. I will write about it after, and maybe the relaxing weekend will do me good.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Change is hard

I started my new position today and I have to say-at the end of the day I am seriously thinking "self, what were you thinking moving to this job?". I wish I could say I did wonderful things and learned a lot, but really, I spent most of the day looking through files because there is a big audit correction report that they have to have done by Friday.

The girl who I am supposed to be shadowing was sick today and while she tried to be a good representative of the program, she also recognized that she was being horribly whiny and was NOT being a good advocate for the program. So in between all the "I have no idea what I am doing's" and the "What the hell have I done", I was trying to remind myself that things will be ok and that this is my first day. This wasn't a "safe" job for me where I knew everything, and that will mean I need time to learn.

Then I had my social work supervision group tonight for the first time. This is a group that I gathered of people where I work who need clinical supervision toward our clinical social work license. I met two of the folks a few weeks ago, and the supervisor is someone I chose. Listening to all the others talk about what they do--"real" social work in my mind-they are meeting with families and kids daily-I just felt like a bum. I am doing case management-hardly real social work. I get down sometimes about what I do when I hear the neat things others are doing, and it is even harder when they LOVE what they do.

Oh well, I know I am just dealing with all the feelings that come along with change, but they are a bit more unsettling right now than I would like.

On a good note, I got to see my friends this weekend. These are not just any friends, these are the mack-daddy of friends. We have been a group of 8 of us who have all worked together at some point, some have moved on to other things, some have had kids, and some just are wandering trying to find our places. But these are the kinda friends who you know would be there for you no matter what, and that you can really count on. We don't see each other nearly enough now that life has happened to us, but most of us saw each other this weekend and it was a wonderful reminder of the force that deep meaningful friendship can have in your life. I love those women, and am honored to have all of them in my life.

I need to go and just think about something other than work right now.