Thoughts From Delaware

Location: Delaware, United States

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Well here we go, the all important "first post" on my blog. I should probably start with something about myself. My name is Dave and I live and work in Delaware (it's an actual state, not a part of Pennsylvania). I am married and have an amazing 2 year old son. Currently, I work for a non-profit agency that serves adults with Autism and other mental disabilities. These disabilities can range from mental retardation, fetal alcohol syndrome, Down's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and traumatic brain injury in addition to mental health disorders as well. I have been working here for approximately six years and have seen some amazing things. I've seen people who never talked before say my name, people who used to need physical restraints are now working out in the community, and people who had no forms of communication now using sign language and picture symbols. Conversely, I've seen the other side of this population as well. I've been bit several times, punched, kicked, slapped, screamed at, spit on, etc. I've seen grown men get into full blown fist fights over who sits in the front seat of a car. I've had to run a mile and a half after someone who ran away from our workshop. I've seen a young woman throw herself through a window because she didn't want to be at a party anymore (she was ok, although a little shaken up). I've also seen someone jump out of a car going 40 MPH because they didn't want to go to the doctor's. Granted I've only been in this job for six years and I'm only twenty-eight years old, but I'm actually very seriously considering writing a book about what I've seen and experienced here. I'm just not sure if people would want to read it.

As I said I've been working here for six years, mostly as a Behavior Analyst. My job was to look at maladaptive behaviors (aggression, elopement, property destruction, off task behavior, etc.) and develop behavior support plans for staff to implement. Just recently I've moved up in the world of my agency and am no longer in that department, but it's still always been something that has interested me. Even though it's not a part of my current job functions, I still find myself writing behavior support plans when they're needed. I have my undergrad degree in Psychology from the University of Delaware and my Master's Degree in Special Education from Wilmington University.

I've always been partial to Psychology and have always been able to listen to people's problems and help decipher an answer and what the best course of action should be. This is especially true with adult relationship problems and advice. Similarly, it's also especially true with behavioral problems in people with disabilities and how to go about trying to diminish or extinguish the problem using different techniques or protocols. As such, if anyone has a problem in any of these areas and would like someone to talk to or offer some suggestions to, please by all means drop me a line and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Until next time!

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