My name is Cindy Morris. I have worked at ADEC for almost 10 years, (it will be 10 years in October of this year). I am the Scheduler for Supported Living in Elkhart County. Before I became Scheduler, I was a Case Coordinator for Supported Living. I served eight gentlemen.
Some of my favorite things to do while working in Supported Living was to take the clients out into the community. One time, I took a non – verbal client to the grocery store. Even though the client was non – verbal, the cashiers had a tendency to stop and speak to the client because we were “regulars.” One day, a cashier stopped and talked to the client, another customer walked in between the client and the cashier. Without hesitation, the client reached up (as the customer was walking by) and grabbed the hat that was on their head and placed that hat on his own head before I could redirect him. Of course, I apologized to the customer whom, by the way, was laughing at the whole situation. It was a very memorable moment for me.
Another memorable moment for me in Supported Living was when I got to take a client to go see “STOMP” at the Morris Civic in South Bend. Let me just tell you, that I did not do a good job of thinking through all of the accommodations that were needed. For example, I had ordered tickets on line, went to get the tickets a couple of hours before the show, and they told me that the client and I would not be able to sit together. I explained to the person selling the tickets it wasn’t an option for me to not be able to sit with my client due to some mild behavioral issues that could occur. The person selling the tickets then found us VIP seats and charged us half of what the tickets originally were going to cost.
So at this point, I was thinking – wow that worked out great, until I realized that I brought a client to an almost sold out show and he doesn’t do well in crowds. The client started to yell in the large room that echoed, and it was crammed with people. So I took the client outside and we walked around the building until it was time to be seated for the show. As I found our seats, I was grateful that our seats were on the end of an aisle and by the exit. Two things that I really should have requested ahead of time. Once the show started, the client was in awe of the different ways someone could carry a drum beat. I always tell people, I wish I could have just videotaped his reaction to the show – it was priceless. The client’s face lit up with every new beat.
Even though I no longer work directly with clients, I still get to see them on a regular basis. They stop by my office once or twice a week to say hi or a couple
of them have even had staff help them call me on the phone. I really look forward to those phone calls!
Editor’s Note: This column kicks off a series of stories on perspectives across ADEC. In the past, we’ve had employees share about their own experiences and lessons learned working at ADEC. It’s been fascinating to hear. With more than 400 employees at any given time, lives are being changed every day at ADEC. Staff report their lives are changed along with those they support.
Photo by Rod Tackett / Communications Specialist