Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Assistive Technologies are incredible!

I had an assessment today (more like a meeting but she did assess my needs, so I'll keep it as assessment) with an assistive technology specialist, and I was amazed at the items they have out there to help disabled individuals! I have adapted most things I already have to accomodate my needs, but today I found products specifically designed to make life easier. For example I found out that there are mice available that would keep my wrist in a natural position allowing more time that I could use it. Then of course there is a mouse that you don't even have to touch, it's called "Tracker" and works by watching the movement of a reflective disc on a headset or front frame of your glasses. I was blown away! I also found that they have a portable adjustable arm rest, it attatches to tables and/or chairs for proper support!
This was all preformed by an employee of the Neil Squire Foundation (their website can be found in my previous post), which I set up but Worker's Comp approved and will now pay for the necessary equipment. I have to admit that seeing some of these things like the armrest made me a little emotional, you see I've been trying to adapt everyday items to fit my needs but it never seems to work as well as planned or hoped for. So when she was showing me things that I knew would help me deal with my condition better, I have to say I got a little damp in the eyes. It hasn't been very often in the past 7 years that I've had any kind of real from Worker's Comp, and it's a little overwhelming at times.
Now I have to wait for a report from the specialist, and then I will submit to Comp the quotes I got for some of the equipment and software that is readily available to me. Then it's a matter of getting everything, setting up my workstation and I'm ready to go. Meanwhile I still need to work on getting my transcript, as well as getting ready to apply for University. There is still some work to be done in the area of school, but it's amazing how God is really in control.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Heading toward the mark.

After meeting with the disability office at the UofR, I was given the name of a foundation specifically set up to assist disabled individuals with proper equipment to return to as normal a life as possible. For me this means ergonomic specialty equipment to accommodate keeping my pain down, thereby making it feasible and possible for me to return to school and work towards employment. The name of the organization is The Neil Squire Foundation, their website is Neil Squire Foundation. The foundation called me back today regarding their ergonomic specialist coming out and assessing my needs for this upcoming endeavor, I'm looking forward to this as it is a chance to learn what's available out there to assist me.
Last week I also met with the career counselor I've been working with, and she helped with the decision about what I should take. She did this by telling me that some of the things I want to do are only available with certain credentials. We also came up with a plan that would let us start anytime now, which involved taking a disability management course and transferring those credits into a B.A. in psychology. The major two factors that delay the start date are, first I need to have all the equipment in place and ready to go by the time I submit the application and secondly I need to get my transcripts for the application. I see the former being the largest challenge at present, mostly because I don't know what's available out there to help.... YET... However that is being taken care of very smoothly on both ends, that of the assessor and of the insurer! (As much as I dislike shopping for the most part, I have to get quotes for a lot of the equipment myself *ugh*)
That pretty much covers what's going on for now, assessment, shopping, getting transcripts and then submitting the application. I have no idea if it's going to get interesting yet or keep running this smoothly, but I'm trusting God to keep things smoo-ooth! *Grin*

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

December 1st - Career Options.

I met with my Vocational Rehab CSR from WCB yesterday, and once again it was an enlightening and productive meeting. This lady is incredibly supportive and helpful, it's like the complete opposite of what I had to deal with at the beginning of this ordeal and I thank God for it! She is letting me put together my own program specifically designed to assist injured workers! I see this being a combination of things like Disability Management, Occupational Health and some Rehabilitation Services. I do want to be careful not to duplicate materials from the individual programs, and at the same time I want to be thorough and complete for the best opportunities for employment.
I was very surprised at one point, when she said that she would not be opposed to my taking a BA in Psychology. A BACHELOR'S IN PSYCHOLOGY!!!! This is 3-4 years of full time studies, and she is well aware that I may be only be able to work at it a MAXIMUM of part time! The most exciting part about all this is the limitless opportunities that are being presented. I do understand that some of the things in a Psych degree would be unnecessary to do the particular job that I'm working towards, but there are other avenues I can explore that may reduce the "fluff"(as my Voc CSR called it, and she should know as she has a Psych degree) information.
So I'll be meeting with the Career counselor again next week, as we had a mix up in this weeks meeting when I missed a message to reschedule. The meeting yesterday was actually meant to be with the Voc CSR and the Career counselor, but it was most likely Divine intervention as we got to discuss much more than just career objectives. And the extras we discussed were very important, they involved things like personal care as well as what they cover for medical equipment (some of which we've bought ourselves because they were needed, but didn't claim for them).
Needless to say these are very exciting times in my life. I'm really enjoying it even through the added pain levels, which is very cool! I would really love to help injured and disabled people like myself and that looks to be the way things will work out. It's just a matter of collecting appropriate information from employers on employment requirements, then finding the right courses and creating a program to encompass it all. There is still a fair bit of work to do, but it's getting closer every day!!