Life-Skills, Inc.’s “Making a Difference” Award Recipient – 29th Annual Legislative “Gathering with the Governor”

Eileen Harris, our Speech-Language Pathologist for our South Central Day Hab and Residential programs received the “Making a Difference” award at the 29th Annual Legislative “Gathering with the Governor” on May 30, 2019, which took place at the AC Hotel by Marriott in Worcester, MA.

Eileen was recognized for her work, and her involvement in several areas that has directly enhanced the lives of the individuals we serve.  Eileen’s commitment to increasing the abilities and functional capabilities of the individuals with whom she works has been an inspiration to everyone in the Life-Skills, Inc. programs.  Congratulations Eileen!

For more information on the event, see the write up from Telegram & Gazette:

https://www.telegram.com/news/20190530/local-special-needs-advocates-lauded-by-baker-in-worcester?fbclid=IwAR05lchHYPg3oO9tsjY0tRJg27kjiDNXy9-K8jPWGEVYHsV2RrmrJOXMynI

Making a Difference Award

Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) at the Universal Level: Staffing Communication

by Justine McDonald, Positive Behavior Supports Coordinator

Life-Skills, Inc. has implemented Universal Supports at 15 programs (6 Day Habs and 9 Residential sites) thus far!  Part of the implementation phase model that Life-Skills, Inc. has developed involves site-specific goal development.  Universal Supports training is broad, so identifying specific need areas for sites is imperative to successful outcomes.  After focused micro-trainings occur, staff vote on one targeted area of universal support to address relevant to their program site and then develop measurable ways to address that need area.  Most program sites voted to address individual support, but a handful of sites also voted to work on staffing interactions.  One trend that has emerged is a high level of interest expressed by sites to receive more training at the staffing level, specifically around communication.  The graph below outlines how 8 out of the 15 sites where Universal Supports has been implemented, developed site-specific goals geared towards staffing interactions.

Why are staffing interactions important to the work we do?

  • Staffing interactions directly affect the environment; individuals sense when tension exists between staff.
  • Effective communication at the staffing level is an essential proactive measure to preventing programming challenges.  (Example: If 1st shift staff fail to communicate to the 2nd shift that an individual is struggling with the recent loss of a family member and, as a result, exhibiting challenging behaviors, the 2nd shift staff taking over is not well prepared to  provide emotional support to the individual. This may result in the unfortunate continuation of problem behaviors.
  • When we work as a team, recognize each other, and communicate effectively, not only do we provide better services to the individuals, but we usually enjoy our work and the people we work along side much more.

Tips for Effective Communication:

  • Be aware of your tone of voice and body language
  • Ask clarifying questions (don’t assume)
  • Go to your co-workers directly before bringing in supervisors
  • Praise your co-workers when they do something well, even if it is a co-worker you don’t always enjoy working with.  This will help develop a positive working relationship.