Monthly Archives: March 2014

Things I’ve Learned…

Here are ten things I’ve learned this year through running a Special Olympics Swim Team:

1. Simon Says is easily the funniest game on the face of the planet.

“Simon Says: look as cheerful as an awesome possum!”

2. Camp songs are really fun in the pool (and a super good way to kill time if you’re waiting for someone).

3. Behaviours are more difficult to stop in a pool and pool decks are really hard (but, the warm pool is generally a good calming tool).

4. Running on the deck is going to happen.

5. Asking the Athletes to “cover their ears if you can hear me” is mostly just confusing for everyone. Stick with touching your head.

6. What Time Is It Mister Wolf, is much more confusing than you’d think.

“What time is it Mister Wolf”

“Freeze, you’re the wolf so they ask you”

“Why am I even a wolf. Wolves don’t swim. I’m gunna be a SHARK”

7. Dedicated volunteers are hard to come by but, when you do find them, they are the best people on earth.

8. Swim meets are pure chaos but seeing someone get their ribbon at the end makes every second of craziness worth it.

9. I am nothing if not adaptable.

10. Getting all of the Athletes to sit on the pool deck with their feet in the water while their coaches stand a few feet away in the pool and having the Athletes splash their coaches is: a) hilarious and b) a really good way to practice kicking.

And an extra special #11:

11. I have the best Athletes/Caregivers and Coaches ever.

I’ve had the greatest time taking over my local Special Olympics Swim Team this season and it has been a blast. We’ve definitely had our rough patches but, I’ve learned from those and I’m excited to have an even better program in place for next year!

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Another rant about funding cuts…

Ugh.

I know that funding cuts are basically all I write about now but, they really frustrate me.

So, here’s another rant about funding cuts:

This week yet another story about how the lack of services and funding is causing actual harm to another person with a developmental disAbility. Awesome. As if this is still happening.

You can read that HERE

Parents are still being forced to put their children in situations like the one that Nicholas is in. They don’t have the support or funding to cope. After reading the article and learning about Nicholas, we are able to see that he is fairly “high needs” (requires quite a bit of support). We also learn that, like many adults with a Developmental DisAbility, he is given approximately $4000 a year to help pay for things like respite and community activities. Sounds like a lot but when you’re paying for respite, that money gets used up pretty quickly.

(The next part of my rant I posted on Facebook this morning)

Often times wait-lists (to get into a group home) are completely disregarded. There are literally hundreds of people with special needs in Guelph- Wellington who have been on wait-lists for years and years and years because funding randomly gets cut or an emergency situation happens where someone else is in more desperate need for a bed and they get pushed back again. It really ends in a lack of funding. There are so many stories identical to this one and a lot of it is a complete lack of support and funding. After SSAH funding got switched to Passport for everyone over 18, hundreds and hundreds of people lost all of their funding and were back on a (7 year) wait-list. It’s very hard to pay out of pocket for respite, especially for someone who is high needs. That can cost an upwards of $40-$50 an hour. Yes, there are obviously non-for-profit organizations that will provide respite for much cheaper but, again with the long wait-lists. Lack of funding means lack of respite for caregivers means quicker burn-out resulting in situations like the above. Lots of parents don’t even consider looking into group home living while their child is still young. They don’t know that they should and if the proper information was given out and supports put in place for those families then things might be different. But, they can’t do it all alone. They need the support that isn’t often easily available. It’s hard too because kids can change overnight. Kids you never thought would need immediate support as an adult may end up needing it. Great example: JM (like my JM who came to camp and stuff). Three years ago, never would’ve even considered her needing the support she requires now. Things were different when someone like Nicholas was a kid. Everything in this system changes constantly. There’s also the possibility of a child reaching adulthood and then not being bumped to “their” spot on an adult wait-list because of needs changing or bad timing. It’s all a guessing game.

So, if we could provide parents with the proper support and tools to learn about these things early on, make the system more accessible and stop randomly cutting funding then we would be in much better shape.