Nov 18, 2011 0 Share

The Search for Services Continues


Illustration of 3-D character looking at word "help" with magnifying glass.
iStockphoto

Over the past three months we have had numerous questions regarding whether the staff from Cody’s day habilitation provider is following the service plan we feel Cody needs. We had requested notes be left for us regarding how his sessions went: what skills were worked on, how much assistance he required and how well he coped and behaved with learning these skills and during social interaction activities they did. At first everything was great. But then we started to notice that notes were not being provided. Bill often gets home before I do. Many times when he came home, he would find Cody downstairs with staff watching TV. When he would ask staff about how the day went he noticed that answers were becoming redundant and increasingly vague.

Bill began to call the provider to request copies of the daily notes that were turned into the office. He expressed his concerns about what was really being accomplished. Most of the time, his concerns were met with a seemingly caring reply. Then the responses began to grow cold and seemed to imply that perhaps we expected too much.

As I have discussed in previous columns, we wanted Cody to learn enough basic academic skills to be able to do things such as pay a cashier with an appropriate amount of money for an item he purchased. We wanted him to know the names of streets and to identify signs when he saw them. And we felt he needed to know proper grammar and responses when answering the telephone if we were not there. But we began to meet with resistance from staff and the agents at the provider regarding these requests. It seemed they felt these skills were seen as only academic and not pertaining to everyday life.

After numerous phone calls to different supervisory staff at the provider, we thought we had finally found common ground. We finally received the notes from the previous weeks that we had requested. Notes were being left by staff each day they were there, and we were pleased with what we read. Things went smoothly over the next two weeks. But then, it happened. Another issue reared its ugly head.

One day I was home sick. I knew Cody’s staff was to arrive at 10 a.m., so I had elected to remain downstairs while they did their work upstairs. About an hour later, my mother-in-law came down to tell me that staff had asked Cody what he wanted to do that day and he told them he wanted to go out to lunch. I was confused about why she was sent down to ask me. I had had a severe asthma attack the prior day so it wasn’t like I was contagious with anything. I told her that I felt they really needed to stay here and work on household chores and money skills since Cody and staff had been out to do community activities the day before. I thought all was fine until about an hour later Cody came downstairs and told me his staff had gone home. I went up to check and asked my mother-in-law if the staff had said anything to her. She told me that he said he had called his supervisor and since there was nothing left to do he left.

I made a call to the supervisor and asked what was going on and why the staff had not said anything to me about not having anything to do. I told her this was normally the day they did laundry and that I didn’t understand why that wasn’t attempted. She told me that the staff had indeed called her but told her that Cody was agitated, that the washer was broken, and that there wasn’t anything else to do since I had requested they not go out. He also said that I had asked that he tutor Cody in math skills and since that was not in the provider plan the supervisor had told him to go home, which she admitted.

I said, “I’m very confused then. How is Cody supposed to learn to pay for items at a store, or to pay a cashier for a restaurant tab if he is not taught simple math skills?” She told me that maybe they didn’t have the right plan then. How could they not have the right plan when it was all discussed in the meeting that had taken place with representatives from their organization, Cody’s case worker, an assessor from the state and Bill and I, all present?

Last week we received a letter in the mail from the director of the provider agency. They said they were sorry but they no longer felt that they could meet Cody’s needs to our satisfaction and that in 30 days they would cease to provide services for Cody. What was so difficult about what we were asking?

So needless to say, we are on the hunt for the right provider once again.