A Sign of Friendship
Direct Support Professional Andrea Hammonds helps many individuals at the TECH Work Center - so how is she able to develop relationships with each person, getting to know them on a personal level, in addition to all of her responsibilities? The answer is simple, though not always easy.
"Communication is key. I love working with the clients, it's a lot of fun! There are so many different personalities and it's just fun to work with them and learn from them."
One person Andrea has learned from is Matthew. Andrea teaches Matthew the skills he needs to be successful in his position at the TECH Work Center, and Matthew has taught Andrea something in return.
"Matthew teaches me sign language. If there's something I don't know the word for, he'll sign it, then write it down on paper for me. I have a sign language book another staff person gave me, and we can look things up together, but he is so patient."
Andrea didn't know any sign language before working with Matthew, and now she's grateful to have learned this new skill that helps her better communicate to help Matthew succeed.
Andrea's supervisor Billie Redd (TECH's Manager of Work Services), is grateful for Andrea's willingness to learn a new way to communicate.
"I have watched Andrea go above and beyond to help Matthew be successful. She focuses on him and what he's trying to communicate as she teaches him on the various jobs in the Dillon's area, such as how to use the computer screen, sorting and boxing items, as well as clocking into his job area. Matthew is very appreciative of Andrea and will seek her out to help him communicate with others. This really helps his confidence and gets him excited about learning new things," said Redd.
Beyond work skills, Andrea has gotten to know more about Matthew, and all the things he enjoys.
"Getting to know Matthew has taught me so much about communication and adapting things for his work day. But just enjoying his company has been fun! He just loves Pokemon and his dog, but most of all, he loves his family. He talks about them all the time! And if one of their birthdays is coming up, he will tell us several times that day. We like to laugh together, and we have a lot of fun!"
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.- Dale Carnegie