Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Personalized Appointment Book Helps Sol Keep Track of Time

Sol G. is an individual with disabilities who has been receiving services from Sinergia for more than 20 years.  Recently, Sol himself and the staff that work with him, had begun to notice that he was having trouble recalling the dates and times of his appointments, and who they were with.  Additionally, Sol, who also works for Sinergia four days a week as an office assistant, was having trouble keeping track of the days he worked and when to expect to be paid. These issues had begun to cause him a great deal of frustration and anxiety and on several occasions he lamented to the staff working with him that he was very unhappy with this turn of events.  Given the anxiety and angst that Sol was demonstrating, we knew that we had to do something that would help to alleviate the stress that he was feeling. Sol’s treatment team met and discussed several options.

Led by Johanna Stieg, LMSW, who is working as a consultant with Sinergia’s UpLiving program, the team devised a communication and appointment book that would help Sol remember tasks, his job schedule and other events in his life. The book is a binder divided into several sections including a To Do list, a communication section for staff and Sol (with staff assistance) to report on various issues, a money management section to help Sol with budgeting and an icon driven weekly calendar. The calendar includes small laminated symbols and pictures of events, people and places that are each backed with a circle of Velcro so that each individual piece can be placed on the hourly grid that corresponds with the time and day that this event occurs. All of the people, places and events portrayed in each laminated icon are regular parts of Sol’s day to day life and their placement on the daily grid makes it much easier for Sol to visualize and grasp his busy schedule. At the beginning of each week the icons are adjusted or replaced by other symbols to indicate recurring or new events for the new week. This allows Sol to graphically review his week by looking at the grid for that particular day. So far, the book has been a great success and both Sol and his staff are enjoying its effectiveness.

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