The past few days have been full of reading behavior plans, psychological reports, incident reports and all the fun things associated with behavior analysis. I’ve begun to research various strategies for some of the clients and so far – so good!
I’m not going to lie: seeing my caseload and reading through everyone’s laundry list of behaviors – it’s a little overwhelming… in a good way, though. I feel… ready? I feel like I don’t know everything and that’s totally cool. I feel like I have so much to learn and soak up. It almost feels like I’m starting over in my career (although I’ve got a few years and a few degrees that would disagree with that)… I guess it’s starting on a new level, maybe? Yeah, that sounds about right (and I like that idea) – I’m leveling up in my career, Achievement: Unlocked.
Over the past few years I have really learned how to research, how to problem solve, how to sit back, shut the fuck up, watch, and learn. Oftentimes answers present themselves without much additional input. It’s pretty neat.
The science of behavior analysis is pretty brilliant in its simplicity. All you have to do is look at what happens before, during, and after and you can figure out what’s going on. The process of changing that is not always as simple, but it’s very clear and direct. And if it doesn’t work, you try something else. Try, try, again. I like it, a lot. There’s so much room for error and it’s okay.
Maybe that sounds weird… When I say there’s room for error, I don’t mean any one should intentionally err or not do a good job or not try to change a behavior but what I mean is – it’s okay if your first idea doesn’t work (for the most part). Look at all the pieces and try something else. There will always be something that works and maybe something else that works better, who knows? Ask around, phone a friend, eliminate half the answers – you’re bound to come up with something effective. I like feeling comforted by my failures.
That probably also sounds weird… but I do. Failure means at least you’re trying. You may not have gotten right this time, but you’re trying. Learn from it, grow from it, and keep trying. Don’t give up. Eventually, the right thing will pop up and it’ll be so great! All the work, all the failures, all the lessons you have learned along the way will make you better. The sense of pride and accomplishment can be rather extraordinary.
I’m sure that sounds significantly less weird ; ) At least, I hope it does. Sometimes success can make us feel real weird because it’s different and uncomfortable, like a new pair of underwear… but after awhile, it becomes a part of you.
After I completed my research for today (which centered mostly around incontinence/continence training), I decided to do some of my very own personal research. I’m sure that’s not surprising to most people… yes, yes, yes, I am absolutely, 100%, without a doubt that person who goes from getting paid to do research to continuing to read and do more research afterwards. #nerdlife
So, Melinda, what did you choose to research on your down time? Well, friend, I am so very glad you asked. Now, if you’ve been following along in my (mis)adventures, Kevin & I have been working towards purchasing and moving in to his grandparents house. This is still the plan. However, long term, the plan is to be there, fix it up a bit, hang out until Boy Child graduates high school, then GTF outta Dodge.
If you don’t know, we live in Illinois which is one of the worst states to live in for, well, a variety of reasons. Now, don’t get me wrong – Illinois is an amazing state, too. The capital city is stunning, southern Illinois is full of necessary farm land, the western part of the state has beautiful areas for hiking, the northern part of the state is lush and full of beautiful greenery & antique shops & communities with far too many dollars, and, of course, Chicago – with all of it’s museums, culture, and murders. Great city!
Now Illinois is a terrible state IN a terrible state. The deficit is absolutely ridiculous, we get taxed for breathing and if you’re a person with moderate to severe disabilities? Good. Luck. The wait list for receiving services is, literally, decades long. Ain’t nobody got time for that. People die or are homeless before they receive services – true story. Having a child that will need some level of support for the rest of her life, we know we need to move to do what’s best for her – which led me to today’s research.
I generally keep tabs on the state of the states through a variety of sources. If you have any vested interest in disabilities, I highly recommend the following for you:
The State of the States: http://stateofthestates.org/
Disability Benefits Help: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/top-5/states-to-apply
Disability Scoop: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2016/10/03/ranking-states-best-services/22825/
UCP The Case for Inclusion: http://cfi.ucp.org/
The great thing about those particular sites is they are going to tell you like it is. They go off of facts and numbers. You can compare states on a variety of levels. Create your own comparison charts and/or tables. It’s amazing the amount of information that is, literally, right at your fingertips.
Now, why was I looking at all of these things? We are going to move out of Illinois when the time comes, but we just don’t know to where. The plan is to take trips to a variety of locations, see what area will work best for us and, simply, move there. The real leg work comes in trying to figure out WHERE that would even be – where to start?
I looked at the past handful of years on a number of levels – how many people live at home, in CILAs (Community Integrated Living Arrangements aka Group Homes), and institutions; how many people receive benefits vs private pay; how many people with IDD (Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities) work; what types of community supports are available; how many people with IDD attend day programs vs work vs a combination of both; cost of living; and a variety of other things. Of course, some states are outstanding in a certain area but severely lack in another. Illinois has consistently been in the bottom 5 of 50 for about a decade running.
So, where to look? For us, I think I have a top 8 (in no particular order):
Arizona, Hawaii, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado
Those seem to be the most conducive for what we are looking for – both for us and Doods. Ideally, I want to be somewhere warmer – my body doesn’t do well with cold and I’m super over these arctic winters. Don’t get me wrong – where we live is pretty nicely situated; we are less than a full day’s drive from a handful of major cities…. but there are a lot of sacrifices living here, too. HENCE the need to go.
If any of you dear readers are from those states and have any helpful input, I gladly welcome it!
There are a couple of states that are high on all of the lists (Kansas & New York, for example) but I can’t see myself living in either of those places without going bonkers. So over the next handful of years, we will travel and explore and find our next landing spot. It’s an exciting prospect, really. And it gives us a reason to travel ; D!
Anywhos, this was a long one today. Thanks for stopping by.
I am glad you exist.