Asking for Help – Part II
This is a multi-part article about asking for – and getting – needed assistance. To recap Part I, asking for help is:
- Realizing in the first place that help is needed. Usually, having difficulty navigating solo through one or more aspects of everyday life is the catalyst for learning that assistance would be a good thing to have.
- Acknowledging to someone else that having help for XYZ has become a necessity. Sometimes, the acknowledgement is made to an individual who is already helping, and that person could use another pair of hands, or perhaps a break.
- Going to an appropriate place where help is available. This is usually an agency that can assess, evaluate, match a person with a disability with the appropriate sort of help, arrange for the helper to be paid by the proper source, and perform follow-up visits as necessary.
After following the first three steps, the next step is to make sure there is a solid support system.
The first stage of becoming a team
Once the right help is identified, the next critical step is to make sure everyone is on the same page. This means every person involved with the daily (or maybe weekly) routine of the person with the disability has to know what’s going on with everyone else, as it relates to the person being helped. In order to provide effective help, the people involved must know they are each a member of a team. Each person is a specialist in their field, and needs to know that every other person on the team knows exactly what they’re doing.
Communication is needed to build an effective team
All this has effective communication at its core. In the beginning, lots of talking and listening (and maybe even some note-taking) goes on. To briefly review, all communication has the same components: sender, message, medium, receiver. An example is a telephone call. The sender is the caller (at least, at first), the message is what the caller has to say, the medium is the telephone, the receiver is the person who gets the phone call. It’s a given that the receiver is actively listening to the message. Once a conversation begins, the roles of sender and receiver alternate.
It is critical to the success of the team that the person with the disability is included in all discussions. Most people might think this goes without saying, but it’s best to assume nothing. The person with the disability is the central figure of the team, the raison d’etre. The person with the disability will have ideas and perspectives on what needs to be accomplished. If nothing else, s/he will bring everyone together for a common purpose.
Where teamwork can lead
At first, the group may feel like individuals were thrown together. With a little work and intention, though, it gets to where entire conversations can be conducted with few to no words needed (the team learns how expressive eyebrows can be). That is when a real team begins to form.
RISE is an agency that has remarkable success with programs to help both people with disabilities and those who help them. To start the process of getting RISE involved, fill out a contact form at www.riseservices.org. The right person will call back and start the process immediately.