COVID-19 has pushed LCBDD staff and local providers to think outside the box. But we are still here for the people we support and our community.
It’s been almost six months since the coronavirus significantly changed life in the state of Ohio.
Video chats have become the norm, Zoom is now used as a noun AND a verb and we’ve gotten used to people’s pets joining our virtual meetings.
For the first few weeks, our LCBDD staff members were trying to adjust to working remotely while still providing the same services and supports people expect.
Now that we’ve had some time to reflect and think about the future in this “new normal,” it seemed important to share some of the ways that — despite the distance — we’ve been able to stay connected and move people forward.
Conference calls and Zoom meetings have become part of a typical day, but we are constantly surprised by the creativity that’s been shown.
Members of the PAWS Pet Club have used Zoom to have virtual meetings and start a book club. After reading and doing activities about horses, they planned a virtual Kentucky Derby party.
LCBDD’s Transition Support team and local employment providers are teaming up on Zoom to work with students on filling out online applications, participating in virtual job fairs and practicing interview skills — giving them hands-on opportunities to get ready for virtual job interviews.
Nothing can replace an in-person interaction, but for some people we support participating in virtual meetings from home can feel more comfortable.
We’ve seen people who struggle with anxiety come out of their shells during virtual meetings and shy children warm up to LCBDD staff members in new ways.
Going the distance
We’ve seen some transportation barriers come tumbling down when people have the ability to do virtual tours of potential homes or day programs without having to travel. Virtual meetings have also allowed team members from all around the state to talk together instantly.
We’ve also seen Licking County’s providers come together for regular conference calls to support each other and brainstorm solutions.
More training options
The shift to virtual training has allowed our staff and providers to continue to learn and grow in a way that fits their schedules. We’ve also seen the families we support embrace this new way of learning.
The ability to record trainings on Zoom and send the video links to people to watch at their convenience has been a game changer that will likely stick around, long after the pandemic ends.
Providers continue to adapt
County boards aren’t the only ones who have had to try new things in a more virtual environment.
Adult day service providers have been using virtual tours to showcase some of the things they are doing to keep people safe.
Several local providers have begun offering STEP, a day service focused on four people or less, doing things in their homes or community settings.
From spending more time outdoors to planning virtual vacations and BINGO games, both agency and independent providers have been thinking outside the box to support people.
As always, we continue to tell the stories of our #DSPheroes and all the ways direct support professionals are going above and beyond.