Being Able to Adjust Keeps Adult Program Going Strong
Dec. 7, 2020 1:51 pm
By Susan Rodd
A day in the Adult Day Services (ADS) program is typically full of busy activity; clients and staff moving through the hallways, chatting and hanging out.
But like many organizations and businesses, that all changed last March when COVID-19 made itself known in Northeast Wisconsin, and we quickly realized we needed to adjust. Providers like CP must always be prepared to adapt and reimagine their programs to better align their offerings with the needs of our clients always in mind. And that is exactly what we did, albeit gradually.
While we were all safe at home in March and April, our instructors created impromptu videos to share on Facebook and CP's website so clients could stay engaged. Topics included making guacamole and stress balls, to important stretching exercises. Some even shared updates on projects classes were working on prior to Safer at Home. It wasn't much, but it was a start and served as a way to remain connected to clients who rely on CP for activity and socialization each day.
Our ADS team never imagined that we would need to revamp our programming with so much safety in mind in order to reopen. But our team was up for the challenge if that meant we could allow clients to return to programming. We spent weeks developing new policies and procedures and determining needs so when we did reopen at the end of May, we were ready.
Those new changes meant that the schedule for our Green Bay site needed to completely change. Instead of holding our typical morning and afternoon classes as usual, we decided to form "pods" to allow the same 15 clients and 4-5 staff to stay together for classes, lunch and any personal care needs throughout each day. Keeping groups together, while really different for us, went a long way to ensure the safety of clients and staff.
To form pods, our team looked at everyone's current classes and grouped clients who shared similar interests. They also considered client social wellbeing, ensuring everyone had a few friends within their pods, too. Our goal was to keep everyone safe within their pods while causing the least disruption.
CP always strives to make programming individualized for each client. And what feels like 137 months later, we feel that we're still offering quality programming and keeping the clients' best interest in mind, while maintaining everyone's safety. In fact, the pods have really been working well and everyone has adapted well to their classes. A few clients have even discovered some new classes they never thought they would enjoy.
After pods were well underway, we looked for other ways to expand programming, especially to those clients who needed to stay at home. So, in August we began offering opportunities where a few clients were able to join a class virtually. Most recently, we introduced more structured, 8-week group virtual classes, to include even more clients that are still safe at home. Classes include Fitness Champions, Virtual Tours-Around the World in 8 Weeks, Once Upon a Story, Games Galore and Craft Junkies.We're excited to see everyone that we haven't seen in while and the social interactions have been just as meaningful as the actual activities.
While all of these new ways to hold classes - from quick Facebook videos, to instructor lead virtual programming - have been key in continuing to serve our clients, we are very much looking forward to the day when we can welcome everyone back at CP.
Susan Rodd is the Manager of Curriculum Development at CP.
7 Tips to Help with the Holidays and a Picky Eater
Nov. 16, 2020 7:33 am
By Jessica Getter
Let's face it, the holidays can be stressful for all of us. As a parent of a child who is a picky eater, you may feel like you just can't win when it comes to holiday meals. Here are some easy, straight forward tips to making it through a family gathering during the holidays with your picky eater in a way that will make both of you feel successful.
Tip #1: Stay Calm and Stay Positive
When picky eaters are pressured to eat food that they perceive as a challenge it triggers a stress response. This response causes the release of hormones that will reduce their appetite, thus having the opposite effect of what parents are trying to achieve. Remain calm and encourage family members to do the same. Focus on the small victories such as your child being able to come to the table or having a small portion on their plate. The positive energy that you emit will make your child feel less stressed about the meal situation.
Tip #2: Even adventurous eaters are stressed during the holidays
New smells, new foods, changes in routines, a house full of people...the list goes on as to the stressors that affect all of us during holiday gatherings. For even the best eaters, all of these factors can affect appetite and how well (or not well!) they eat for the holiday meal.
Tip #3: Stick to normal meal and nap times
Obviously, this can be a big challenge for the holidays. We know that kids do best when things are predictable and routine. Overtired kids who have been snacking all day will not make the best meal time companions and getting them to eat a good meal will be difficult.
Tip #4: Offer some familiar foods
Plan ahead. If it's a potluck, bring something to serve that you know your child will eat, even if it's non-traditional. If you think other family members will be offended by your child not trying their traditional recipes, have a conversation ahead of time and remind them to stay calm and positive when you all arrive. If your child likes dipping their foods, bring the dip along and you might be surprised that your child may experiment with dipping other new foods, too!
Tip #5: Do a practice run
A few days or weeks ahead of time, do a practice run. Talk about what foods will be there and which people will be there. Together with your child, prepare and cook a few of the traditional foods that may be at the holiday gathering. This will allow your child to experience new foods in a safe, familiar environment. We know that repeated exposure is key for picky eaters and this technique will allow them to become acquainted with holiday foods ahead of time.
Tip #6: Keep serving sizes small
The goal when offering new foods is to underwhelm (not overwhelm!) your child. A heaping scoop of mashed potatoes may look like a mountain of a challenge to your child and they will quickly avoid and refuse to explore. Offer 1-2 teaspoons of new foods and this may trigger their curiosity.
Tip #7: Encourage self-serving and family-style serving
If your child is old enough, allow them to go through the line on their own if serving buffet-style. When given the control, they may surprise you as to what choices they make and the new foods that may make it on their plate. If serving family-style at the table, again allow your child to serve themselves or others; this will allow for exposure to the sights, smells, and textures of various foods without the stress of having to eat it. (Remember, repeated exposure!)
Use the tips that work best for you and your picky eater to make holiday meals enjoyable and fun for the entire family! Happy Holidays!
During November, CP is highlighting our Adult Day Services staff. You can see who we are focusing on and learn about what our team does by checking out our Instagram stories.
During all of the busyness of "a day in the life" of staff at CP, we were able to get Ted Huebbe, an adult instructor, to take a moment and answer a few questions about what he does at CP, and more importantly....why.
CP: What do you do at CP?
TH: As an Adult Instructor, I work directly with the clients in the Adult Day Services(ADS) program. I lead and organize the classes that CP offers. I have worked at CP for almost two years now.
CP: What interested you about working at CP and in the Adult Program?
TH: I had previously work as a transport driver, and through that job I met a lot of the CP clients, and drove the busses for CP outings. I realized what great people the clients and staff at CP were, and wanted an opportunity to work in that environment.
CP: What's a typical day in ADS like?
TH: There are two scheduled class times, morning and afternoon, with a variety of topics, from game classes to arts and crafts, kitchen classes, swim sessions, exercise classes and many others. I also help get the clients settled in the morning, assist at lunch time, and get them ready to go home at the end of the day.
CP: What's your favorite part about working in ADS?
TH: So many of my personal interests are relatable to class topics at CP, so whether it's gardening, cooking, games, photography, world cultures and customs, arts and crafts or music, I find that I have some level of knowledge to share with the clients, and to help keep the clients engaged with the class.
CP: What have you learned by working in the Adult program?
TH: Especially after the last 7 months with COVID, where all of our lives have been upended and changed, I have come to realize that our clients at CP are deeply affected by the social distancing imposed on them by their diagnosis. CP gives these folks a chance to come together, socialize, go on outings and be challenged by new experiences. We should all have a sense now of how important that feeling of community and togetherness is.
CP: When people ask what it's like to work at CP, what do you say?
TH: I have found CP to be a family of people, both the clients and the staff. Everybody greets each other so enthusiastically each morning and shows genuine interest and concern for each other during the day. This is a place of positivity.
Does CP sound like a place you'd like to work? If so, check out our open positions and apply today.
It's November, a time of year where people turn their focus to what they are thankful for. I think it's safe to say that, given what 2020 has become, we are all putting a bit more thought into what or who we are giving thanks for - our families, friends, community and where we work.
At CP, we have a lot to be thankful for every day. But right now, we are truly thankful for our staff. Like many nonprofit organizations, since we reopened after Safer at Home back in May, our team has had to ebb and flow with the changes COVIDbrought. This is especially true with the team in our Adult Day Services program in Green Bay, Fox Cities and Lakeshore, where so much of the day is spent interacting with clients in classes, helping with personal cares and transfers, and just overall daily interaction.
Classes got smaller, masks and PPE became a priority and our team needed to find a way to adapt programming so that it was still effective to help clients gain skills to meet their personal goals.
We had to separate clients and instructors into "pods" to help mitigate the risk of exposure, which means social interaction hasn't been what we are used to.
But through it all and despite the ups, downs and challenges, our team has come through big. In an ever changing environment, our ADS team has been doing what they can to bring some normalcy back to CP and to their clients through new class projects and adaptive activities to keep everyone socially distanced. Not to mention that for some clients, just seeing the friendly face of their instructor is really all they need. For that, CP is truly thankful.
All through November we'll be highlighting our ADS team on CP's Instagram page and giving you a glimpse into what our staff does... and maybe a little bit about who they are. It's kind of like a takeover - and with this group, you just never know what is going to happen.
You'll meet Ted, Tiffany and Whitney later this month, but we kick it all off with Jenna, a Core Program Supervisor. She's awesome with the clients, caring, can make a mean salsa and, apparently, has a lot of shoes (we'll get to the bottom of that later).
And if you follow us through the month and think that CP would be an awesome place to work, feel free to drop us an application and we'll take it from there. We'd love to hear from you.
While 2020 is a year many of us are looking forward to saying goodbye to, there are still a few important events taking place that we can't forget. One of those is voting on Tuesday, November 3.
And if you or a loved one has a disability, understanding your rights and options on how to vote are extremely important. In Wisconsin, there are several invaluable resources that can help ensure every vote counts.
Everyone who has the right to vote should have an equal chance at voting on Election Day. In fact, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, all polling places in Wisconsin must provide accessible voting equipment. If you are unable to physically go inside your polling place due to a disability, curbside voting from your car should also be available. This video from Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition explains it rather well.
In addition to the video, the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition is a great resource full of information to help educate on topics including the rights voters with disabilities have, how to register to vote, how to safely vote during COVID-19, absentee voting and how to make your voting plan.
If your voting plan includes in person voting on Election Day, in Brown County, the Aging and Disability Resource Center offers a list of transportation options to help get you safely to your polling place.
Voting is an important right, and some say that voting in 2020 is more important than ever. So, make it a point to exercise your power to vote on Election Day. If you do, take a photo or send us a note to email@example.com. We'd love to see it!
We are seven months into this, people, and it's safe to say that COVID fatigue has clearly settled in. We are all just tired of being tired. Tired of sitting at home. Tired of things not being 'normal' and we totally get it.
So how do brush off some of that COVID weariness? Do something that makes you feel good; something that makes a difference. Help a nonprofit.
Why? Because nonprofits are a strong part of our local community, providing services, programming and a voice to important causes. Nonprofits help your neighbors, friends and quite possibly, even you. So, how can you help?
Donations are Always Needed
A simple donation is always helpful as many nonprofits are feeling the pressure of COIVD and the financial impact. Making a small $10 or $20 online donation really does make a difference. Or, if you are already a donor, consider switching up to a monthly gift option.
Follow on Social Media
Help spread the nonprofit's message by following them on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to engage by liking and sharing posts and leaving comments.
This one might be tricky as lots of nonprofits are limiting volunteers, but maybe there is something you can do from home that can help. It doesn't hurt to ask, so give them a call and find out.
Support a Fundraising Event
Despite COVID, nonprofit organizations still need to hold their fundraising events and had to make major adjustments to transition to a virtual platform. For many, funds raised from events are critical to the continued success of the organization.
This was the case with CP and our annual auction, Rooted, which typically draws a huge community crowd. Instead of meeting in person, we've transitioned to a complete virtual experience this year in order to keep everyone safe while still holding the event.
Speaking of the CP Auction, you can check out what's up for bid on our website. Bidding is open now through October 23rd. There are also some amazing raffles you can purchase tickets for. Raffle winners will be announced on October 22.
Whether you have COVID fatigue, or just need something new to do, consider supporting a local nonprofit. Helping where you can will make all the difference and ensure our local nonprofits will be here long after COIVD has gone.
Halloween is a day many kiddos look forward to each year. Yet for a child with special needs, such as a sensory processing issue, the holiday can be a bit tricky to navigate. But, that doesn't mean a lot of fun can't be had on the spookiest night of the year!
But first, the costume!
Halloween may look different this year, but the fun of dressing up doesn't have to change. In fact, due to COVID restrictions in some communities, dressing up may be the center of the day. The good news is that there are more costumes available than ever before for children with special needs:
Target has a fun sensory line of Halloween costumes with a good selection to browse.
Etsy is a great place to shop around for a wide variety of ideas that is sure to engage your child. Just search for adaptive Halloween costumes and you'll find lots of options.
If your child is into Disney, the company has a pretty extensive line of costumes to browse. If your child has a favorite character, this may be a website you can't miss.
If your more of a creative type, look no further than sites like Pinterest to spark the imagination.
Sometimes parents get so worried about finding the right costume to accommodate the needs of their child, they forget to make sure the child has input into what they would like to dress up as. It's supposed to be fun after all! Spend time brainstorming together by making a list of possibilities or coloring pictures of potential costumes. Make the decision making process fun and you'll be sure to come up with a costume idea that you are both excited about.
We all might be limited in partaking in traditional Halloween festivities due to COVID. If that is the case in your community, consider these sensory friendly ideas that will still make the day fun.
Make a Halloween themed dinner with your child's favorite foods. Work together to plan the menu, go shopping and help prepare the spooky treats the entire family can enjoy.
Walk the (Black) Catwalk
If you have other little goblins in the house, consider holding a costume fashion show. Everyone can get dressed in their costumes (even mom and dad) and take turns walking the "runway" with the rest of the family cheering on.
Halloween Movie Night
A great idea for after your spooky dinner. Get the family together for a Halloween themed movie night. Curl up in your costumes, grab some popcorn and watch a few family friendly Halloween movies. It's a low key way to enjoy the holiday together.
If you live in a community where Trick-or-Treating will be taking place, it might be a good idea to practice trick-or-treating at home a few times before heading out. Practice knocking on the door, saying "trick-or-treat" and "thank you."
No matter how you spend Halloween, the important thing is that you are together as a family and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy the process, get creative and have fun. It will guarantee everyone has a great time!
Comprehensively, CP Therapy Servicesfocuses on occupational, physical and speech-language therapy for infants, children and adults. But in October, we are singling out our physical therapy team because its National Physical Therapy month, an annual opportunity to highlight CP's PT program and our team. And there is a lot of good stuff to share.
Here are some things to note about our PT team:
Team of 5 (one just new to the team about only a few weeks ago!)
Currently serving 128 clients, children and adults
Our PT's have held 3,007 appointments so far in 2020 (through 9/5)
That's 135,315 minutes spent with clients. This doesn't include paperwork or client prep!
And just what have those minutes been spent doing?
Evaluating and creating individual treatment plans for each client and family.
Working with clients on things like range of motion, balance, coordination and stretching in the pool and in the therapy gym...
...and also on a trampoline, on a scooter, while riding a bike in the hallway...
...while doing puzzles, playing kitchen, or making up their own game. Anywhere and any way to make it work.
Meeting with parents to discuss progress.
Learning about new techniques, technology and equipment to bring only the best ideas, options and solutions to clients.
Thinking on their feet and adapting as necessary to get the most out of each session with every client.
Making sure parents are involved - it's a family affair!
Cheering on successes, and rolling with it when the kiddo just isn't having a good day.
Singing. So. Many. Songs.
Making suggestions to parents about equipment, resources and activities that can be used at home.
Working and collaborating together to do what's best for the client.
Adjusting to bring PT to clients through TeleHealth because...COVID.Why do they do it?
Because there was an injury or a complication, or perhaps a milestone missed and they knew they could help.
To see a smiling face on a client when they did something they weren't able to do the day before.
To help each child, each adult, meet their goals and go beyond what they thought possible.
There has been a lot of time spent doing really good things for clients and a community that has trusted CP and its services for more than 65 years. Well done PT team!
We've only just kicked off the month, so be sure to check out CP's Facebook and Instagrampages throughout October as we continue to highlight CP's physical therapy program and our team.
Generally speaking, people tend to have a sense of uneasiness around something that is unfamiliar or different from what they know. Imagine trying a food you never have before. Do you take huge bite or a tiny sample? What about starting a new job? It's likely that your biggest worry on the first day is finding your way around a new office space.
These are just small examples of the awkwardness we can feel when doing something that challenges our comfort level. So now think about meeting someone who uses a wheelchair for the first time. Chances are, similar feelings of uneasiness come into play and common questions bubble to the surface: How do I act? What do I say? What do I do?
The reality is that it's not that hard, because at the end of the day, it's just another person. But to help, we've come up with the top three things to keep in mind when you meet someone who uses a wheelchair.
1. Speak directly to the person
Speak to the person in the wheelchair directly, not the people or caregiver they are with. You'd be surprised on how much this happens. Just because someone is in a wheelchair doesn't mean they can't hear you, understand you or communicate with you.
2. Be respectful of the wheelchair
For some people, their wheelchair is an extension of themselves. Because of that, touching or leaning on the wheelchair can been seen as an invasion of personal space. Only touch or lean in if you are invited to do so.
In addition, you should always ask permission or let the person know if you are going to move them while they are in their wheelchair. Doing so allows the person to give direction and remain in control of their independence.
3. Ask if they need help before helping
It's great that you want to be helpful; it's a natural tendency. Most of the time it is appreciated, but you need to ask first. People who use a wheelchair are capable of doing lots of things on their own, it may just take a bit longer, or be accomplished in a different way using adaptive equipment.
By asking if help is needed, the person maintains their independence and leaves the decision on whether they need additional assistance up to them to determine.
Keep these easy, but often overlooked, tips in mind when first meeting someone who uses a wheelchair and you'll do just fine. If you are unsure of something, just ask what the person would prefer and go from there. Before you know it, you'll be less worried about doing something wrong and more focused on getting to know someone new.
During a time when there seems to be a cloud over just about everything, it's easy to feel down.
The fact is that we are mourning the year and all of the activities that come with it. First it was graduation season, then summer events and vacations, then back to school and fall sports and now discussions about Halloween are on the table. Who knows what the holidays will bring! We haven't been able to get past this doom and gloom feeling because we are still in the COVID year of firsts.
So just how do you keep your spirits up during a pandemic?
CP put the question to our experts - our clients in Adult Day Services - and asked them the question: What makes you happy?
Swimming keeps Bobby happy.
Desi likes to paint and be with friends.
Bobby is just happy to be out of the house!
The lesson out of this short exercise is that the answer can be something quite simple. What makes you happy right now could be a morning cup of coffee, playing with your kids, exercising or just learning something new. In order to keep our spirits high, we need to remember there is still fun to be had, even in the smallest of things. What a great reminder, right?
So what is making you happy during these pandemic days? If you can't think of one right away, that's a sign that you should maybe stop and find something. Once you do, take a moment to share - CP's clients would love to hear your answers!
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2020 has been called many things. A whirlwind. Unpredictable. Crazy. And a personal favorite - a dumpster fire. If this year is teaching us anything, it's that it's best to roll with the punches and do our best to appreciate what we have. We're still moving forward, just in a different way.
Like many nonprofit organizations, CP has implemented its share of changes and we've had to adapt in order to provide services as safely as possible. From taking temperatures and wearing face masks to Zoom meetings and working from home, we've found our way to keep moving ahead even during an unpredictable year.
So when it came time to talk about plans for the Annual CP Auction, we found ourselves rethinking what this popular community event would look like through 2020 glasses. Instead of dwelling on the fact we couldn't hold the event in person, we looked at it as an opportunity to do something different.
So, as you read on about the details of what we think will be an amazing virtual auction experience, we also hope you keep in mind that your support is not only appreciated, but is very much needed. It's through events like Auction that CP is able to help people from all over Northeast Wisconsin hit milestones, reach goals and go beyond what they thought possible.
Rooted | CP Annual Auction Details
Join us online for this year's CP Auction at the place you are Rooted. Home.
Celebrate the CP Auction, presented by Keller Inc., from the comfort of your couch. Dress up or dress down. Eat in or order out. Invite friends or party solo. This year, it's up to you.
?In the coming weeks, we'll be adding amazing items to the online auction and we'll share some Event Essentials that will help ensure your Auction experience is one of a kind. Bidding begins October 19 and closes on October 23rd.
We'll Bring the Party to You!
For $50, you can be one of 100 virtual guests to receive a HOUSE PARTY, delivered to your front door, the morning of October 23rd. ($150 value).
We can't tell you all of what's inside, but we can say it will add some fun to your Auction night experience!
Looking for Something in Person?
Safely browse auction items in person while enjoying a cocktail and bite to eat at the Festival Foods MVP Deck at Lambeau Field. Doors will be open from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. This is a FREE option, however, we ask that you kindly RSVP.
As the school year kicks off, the normal first day jitters have been magnified by the fact that school just won't look like it should. It's a stressful time for families, and for those kids that struggle with anxiety, it can seem like an overwhelming challenge. But it doesn't have to be.
Occupational therapy helps people develop the skills needed to complete daily living skills. This includes fine and gross motor skills, cognitive skills and self-care tasks like brushing teeth and getting dressed. But an OT also teaches skills children can use to help with challenges you may not be able to see, like anxiety.
Children with anxiety often find it difficult to manage everyday tasks and situations which can lead to them getting upset, worried and distant. Occupational therapy can help by teaching children techniques they can apply to help lessen and manage their anxiety.
If the shift in how the school year will go is challenging for your family, consider the following:
Avoid the Morning Rush
After living in a relaxed summer schedule (longer, actually!), it can be quite a shift to get back into a morning school routine. There just never seems to be enough time in the morning, so talking about a routine and practicing it with your child will set everyone up for success.
For younger kids, this can be done by creating a visual schedule. Find images online or take actual photos of all the tasks your child needs to complete each morning (going to the bathroom, getting dressed, brushing hair/teeth, eating breakfast) and put them in order on a chart using Velcro or clothespins. Once your child completes a task, they can remove the image from the list and start working on the next one. For older kids, writing tasks out as a list can also be effective.
Be sure to post the schedule or list where it can be seen easily, or consider posting a few in key areas of the house like the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. By having a list of tasks your child knows they need to complete can help everyone get ready in the morning with less stress and get them ready for learning in the classroom or online.
Whether kids are starting school online, in the classroom, or a combination of both, there are going to be big changes to get used to. Continue the conversation about how school is different, and that's okay. We are living in a time of uncertainty where things can change quickly. Keep having open dialogue with your child about changes to schedules so they can prepare and share how those changes make them feel.
If talking is a struggle, consider asking your child to draw pictures of how they are feeling or what they remember from their day of school. Drawing will help lower anxious feelings and provide an opportunity to talk by using the drawing as starting point for the discussion.
Create a Quite Space
With the future of the school year feeling like the ups and downs of a roller coaster, your child's anxiety may be just as varied. Consider establishing a quite area of your house or your child's room where they know they can go when they are feeling anxious. Items in the quite area might include a comfy beanbag chair, books, noise cancelling headphones, relaxing music and any other sensory items that usually help your child feel calm. Establishing a quite space can go a long way in helping your child learn how to manage their anxiety on their own.
The school year may be uncertain, but helping your child manage their anxiety doesn't have to be. Planning ahead, having ongoing conversations and creating an environment for them to feel comfortable in will go a long way to ensure a successful school year.
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When COVID-19 became a reality, just about everyone was impacted. Some in small ways, some in even manageable ways. We learned to adapt, rework and triage. But for others, the arrival of COVID presented a more difficult challenge. This was the case Emily, Michael and their two your old son, Henry.
Henry has myotubular myopathy, which causes muscle weakness and low muscle tone. Emily and Michael brought Henry at CP to start occupational and physical therapy just over a year ago to work on building his strength. "We saw Henry do more and more each time his therapy team set new expectations," Michael recalled. "He just blossomed and made so much progress." Emily and Michael were thrilled when Henry starting reaching goals, however, not long after, Henry got sick and spent the next few months at Children's Hospital. While there, Henry was restricted in his movement and wasn't able to participate in therapy.
After being sidelined for that long, Emily and Michael were anxious to get back to CP and start Henry's therapy again. About a week after returning, life threw the curve ball no one saw coming: COVID-19. When CP made the decision to temporarily close its facility, Emily and Michael were worried that the progress Henry had made would roll back without consistent therapy. They were unsure of the next steps to take. "We didn't want to see Henry lose anything he had gained and worked so hard for, especially since we lost the time when he was in the hospital," Emily said.
Then CP sent an email offering TeleHealth visits. It was a way to still connect with clients and continue therapy while everyone stayed safer at home. Emily and Michael quickly got Henry enrolled.
Now they were the driver's seat, having to help their son complete exercises at home while Henry's OT and PT provided coaching and consulting (and cheering!) through Zoom at CP. "Our first few sessions were really about the therapy team asking us what we needed to feel prepared to start therapy in a new way, " Emily said. "We didn't feel like we were thrown into anything."
It wasn't easy, but after getting the hang of it, Henry started to make additional gains. "We have a whole new appreciation for the therapists at CP and what they do in the clinic," Michael said. "We didn't realize how much goes into just making sure Henry's posture is aligned in order for him to do things the right way."
Even with CP back open, Henry continues his therapy through TeleHealth since he has a compromised immune system. "To achieve everything Henry has through TeleHealth has been amazing," Emily noted. "Henry isn't just back on track, he's surpassing goals."
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Although much recent attention has been focused on back to school plans, it's important to remember there is still some summer left! For little kiddos, summer means plenty of outside play time, exploring and having fun.
But it seems as if play has taken a back seat to technology and more structured activities. Days are programmed instead of offering time for free play. And with many parents facing the reality of online learning, how can you make sure that play is a part of your child's day with all of that screen time? First, it's worth noting why play is so important.
Play helps with development
Play helps children learn physical, cognitive and social skills, all of which are critical to their development. It's also believed by some experts that play may actually contribute to the structural design of the brain; that play can create a brain that has more potential for learning throughout a person's life.
Play teaches discovery
Play is one of the first opportunities children have to explore their surroundings and investigate how things work, sound and move. This type of play helps children use their brain in lots of different ways as they explore the meaning of things. Play surrounding the use of the imagination, or "playing pretend," also assists with promoting self-expression, creativity and self-confidence.
Play helps children grow emotionally
We all can think of a time when we've set a goal, worked hard to reach it and felt a sense of accomplishment. Play for children can present the same feeling. A child might be nervous about making it all the way across the monkey bars, but they work at it, make it across and have a feeling of pride. The fear melts away and is replaced with a booted self-esteem. It is instances like these that occur during play that contributes to a child's emotional growth.
Getting Your Kids to Play
Facilitating play doesn't require expensive toys or manuals to read. It's simply letting your child safely explore their world.
Consider using things you already have to help promote play. Items like cardboard boxes, plastic food containers, milk carton caps, pillows, scratch paper, art supplies and blankets can all be turned into something with a little imagination. Really, the sky is the limit.
Soak up the remainder of the summer by getting your kids outside to play. Here are few ideas to consider:
Outdoor options for play
Play games like tag or sack races. Better yet, make up your own game!
Give outdoor yoga a try.
Explore your local park or nature preserve. Count the birds or see how many colors you can find.
Give your child a small garden shovel and see what they dig up! Or, if you have a family garden, give them an area in your yard to create their own imaginary one.
Make an obstacle course - who can be the most creative?
Living in uncertain times has made a lasting impact on people and the communities they live in, from the smallest child to the seasoned senior, and from small businesses, to big box stores. And somewhere in all of this lives the nonprofit.
When you think of nonprofits, you probably tend to think of the ones that are quite visible to the community like food pantries, animal shelters or ones that deal with disease or illness. But there are many that you don't see, all working for their cause or mission, with the goal of serving, advocating and making the community better.
With the uncertainty of the past several months, nonprofit organizations, now more than ever, are being asked to do more with less. But, just what do nonprofits do?
The role of the nonprofit in your community
It's important to note that nonprofits come in all shapes and sizes. From national organizations with local community chapters, to those with a regional reach, to a small, one-person show.
Nonprofits, while serving a specific cause, also contribute to the greater good:
Nonprofits provide critical services, goods and resources to meet the needs of their immediate community.
Nonprofits serve as a voice for the people they serve and can act as agents of change regarding local and state policy development.
Nonprofits contribute to the area economy and provide jobs.
Nonprofits build community by bringing together people they serve with staff, volunteers and donors, creating advocates and new leaders.
Let's go back to the notion mentioned earlier regarding the fact there are many nonprofits people probably aren't even aware of. It's not for a lack of interest or education, but simply, there are just a lot of nonprofits to get to know. In fact, according to GuideStar, a nonprofit reporting agency, there are close to 1,000 nonprofit organizations in Green Bay alone, and nearly 40,000 throughout the state.
Chances are you have already been impacted by a nonprofit group. Have you ever visited a thrift store? Donated blood? Were you a Boy Scout or Girl Scout? Have you traveled to a state park? Yep, all of those services and programs are run or maintained by a nonprofit organization. There are even nonprofits that you may not need now, but may need later in life.
No matter the size, many nonprofits have either seen a recent surge in the need for services and they are unsure of how to meet the demand, or on the flip side, they have seen a decrease in services, leaving the future unknown. Either way, it's clear that our area nonprofits need our help.
Whether it's through a donation, offering to volunteer, or even sharing news from their social media channels with your friends, nonprofits are in need of community champions right now. Take a moment to touch base with your favorite nonprofit, or perhaps research one that might have special meaning or interest to you and ask how you can get involved.
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July 27 - 31 marks the fifth year of No Limits week, a collaborative disability awareness event with CP, ASPIRO and Curative Connections. While the week will look different this year due to COVID-19, the message is the same: to show others that having a disability isn't a limitation on being an active part of the community.
There are more opportunities than ever for people with disabilities to engage in community activities, attend school and find meaningful employment. But even with those societal advances, there is still the issue of one's personal discomfort with getting to know someone with a disability. This discomfort doesn't come from not wanting to interact, but rather, being unsure of howto interact. So, just how do you talk to someone with a disability?
An easy way to think about it is to consider the words we use to describe disabilities. As we know from recent experiences in our country, words are very powerful tools. The language we use to describe someone usually creates an attitude. When speaking about a person with a disability, there is proper and improper terminology.
Talking to someone with a disability starts by saying hello!
Words to avoid include:
retard or retarded
confined to a wheelchair
The phrase "people first language" recognizes that someone is a person first, and the disability is a part of, but not the whole person. Refer to the individual first, then to his or her disability when it is relevant and appropriate. Consider these examples: Person First Language:
person who uses a wheelchair
person with a disability
person with a mental illness
person who is blind
When it comes to speaking with someone with a disability, there are a few things to keep in mind that can ease some of the pressure.
First, approach the person just like you would anyone else. Speak to an adult as an adult. Talk directly to the person using the wheelchair, rather than someone else such as a caregiver. Just because they are in a wheelchair doesn't mean they can't understand or interact with you.
Depending on their communication ability, you may not understand the person right away. That is totally okay, just ask them to repeat what they said and be patient. Some folks communicate using a device they key their message into which can take time. Again, just be patient and let them finish their thought instead of trying to guess what they want to say.
While you are talking, don't lean or hang on the person's wheelchair. It invades their personal space.
In addition, you might have to adjust how you communicate in order to better connect with the person. This includes using more direct language, making solid eye contact and keeping the message simple.
Taking the time to get to know someone with a disability isn't a one sided affair. It can open you both up to an entirely new experience that is rewarding and meaningful while creating a new and lasting friendship.
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When most people think of physical therapy, they tend to think of a typical clinic setting in a medical office with different exercises and equipment. While traditional physical therapy is an effective treatment option, aquatic therapy may open a door for those looking for an alternative, or complement, to the therapy they are already doing.
If land-based exercise or therapy isn't an option for you due to the nature of your condition or injury, getting in the pool may be of benefit. Aquatic therapy can be helpful for a host of medical issues including:
Joint and chronic pain
Pre and post-surgical recovery
The key with water - especially warm water - is that it provides muscle relaxation. Once the muscles are relaxed, you may find you are able to do more in the water with less pain and have a greater range of motion. Decreased muscle tension also increases the ability to stretch muscles which means you are able to try, and be successful with, new exercises and in turn can increase your heart rate and overall cardiovascular health.
Working in the water also helps you "buy back" gravity. Aquatic specialists and therapists may start your therapy in the deep end of the pool, where you are completely buoyant and exercises are easier to perform. As you progress, you'll work toward the shallow end, reintroducing a bit of gravity each time as you build adequate strength. Doing this allows you to work at your pace and progress when you are ready and able to.
Warm pool temperatures help to decrease pain which allow increased blood flow which in turn increases healing.
Aquatic exercise can be an energy-intensive work out because you are forced to use more energy to perform each exercise. The resistance of the water allows for increased strengthening and core activation with every movement.
Compression of the water can help with swelling of lower extremities and improve circulation.
Aquatic therapy is also quite versatile and can be done as a part of your current therapy plan, or on your own as a continuation of work you've already done. Options of who to work with are also plentiful, and can include a physical therapist trained in aquatic therapy, an adaptive aquatic specialist or a specialized group class.
If you are seeking another therapy option, talk to your doctor or current therapist about treatment options and if aquatic therapy is among them. Not only can aquatic therapy be beneficial to your overall treatment and health, it can be a fun experience to look forward to doing!
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What to Look for in a Pediatric Physical Therapist
July 14, 2020 9:34 am
There are several reasons why a child may need pediatric physical therapy. It can be due to a developmental delay, an orthopedic condition like scoliosis or recovery from a broken bone, or due to a congenital condition such as Down syndrome, spina bifida or cerebral palsy.
A pediatric physical therapist is specifically trained to work with children and families to provide services specific to each child's needs that improve motor skills, range of motion, balance and coordination and other skills. The goal is to help each child improve their quality of life and ease the challenges of daily caregiving.
Once you've determined with your doctor that physical therapy is a good treatment option for your child, the work to find the right pediatric physical therapist begins. Moving forward with a physical therapist within your medical provider group is a possibility, but, there are different therapy options available. Investigate your choices before you decide by considering the following:
Basic physical therapy principles are applied.
Pediatric physical therapy can be a bit tricky. It isn't as simple as giving the patient a set of exercises and asking them to execute. In most cases that strategy won't work on a giggly, wiggly kiddo. A good pediatric physical therapist will know how to apply basic physical therapy principles through play-based activities that will keep your child engaged and working without really knowing it.
In order to do this effectively, the therapist will need a small arsenal of options and be able to think and adjust on the fly as the attitude and temperament of a child can change quickly.
You receive a treatment plan you can understand.
For any therapy to be effective, a treatment plan needs to be developed. The details of the plan will vary from child to child, but fundamentally, the plan should identify goals for your child that you and the physical therapist have determined together and that you have a clear understanding of before moving ahead. The plan should also grow with your child's progress and be reevaluated as needed to decide if new goals should be developed or if your child has accomplished what they set out to complete.
It's important to note that physical therapy doesn't only take place in a clinic setting. While the appointment with the physical therapist is part of your child's success, how your child continues with exercises and strategies outside of a clinic setting is just as important. Be sure that part of the treatment plan includes tips and exercises you can help your child complete at home, as well as what you should be looking for the exercise to accomplish. Being able to share what you've worked on and how your child responded when you meet up at your next appointment can help your therapist determine progress and what to continue working on in the clinic.
Take a tour of a physical therapy clinic.
Part of your research in finding the right physical therapist should include looking at the space in which they work and deciding if it's an environment that will best suit your child's needs and personality. Most clinics are willing to provide a tour and answer questions about how therapy appointments typically work, so feel free to call or request a tour. While you're there, ask to meet at therapist, or request to meet one through video meeting. Sometimes asking questions directly to a therapist can help in your decision making while establishing a personal connection with the therapist.
In addition, you'll want to ask a clinic about insurance and how claims are submitted.
When it comes to finding the right pediatric physical therapist for your child, leave no stone unturned. There are more options available to parents than ever before, so taking the time to research your options can make all of the difference and give you piece of mind you've made the right choice for your child.
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Tips to Help Celebrate the 4th of July with Your Child with Sensory Issues
June 29, 2020 8:13 am
As with just about everything this summer, the 4thof July probably won't look the same as it has in the past. And while parades, backyard cookouts and big community celebrations may be modified or cancelled, that doesn't mean the day won't be celebrated. There will still be fireworks, and perhaps you'll attend appropriately socially distanced picnics.
If you have a child with sensory processing challenges, the 4th of July can be a stressful time, no matter how people are planning to celebrate the holiday. It can be overwhelming, especially if family traditions are changing into something new. But there are ways to help your child navigate their feelings and bodies so they can be involved in the fun:
Spend Time Talking About Your Plans
Speaking with your child about plans you have for the day can help prepare them for what's coming up. Talking about how long things will take, where you are going, what you'll be doing and who will be there are all good starting points. Some children respond well to a countdown calendar, which can be a fun way to lead up to the celebration.
No matter how you do it, discussing plans with your child beforehand can help them feel better about what's coming up on the big day. You know your child best, so you are the right person to determine how much to share and when to share it.
Plan Alternate Activities
If there won't be a yard full of neighborhood kids or family this year you might need to come up with your own activities to celebrate the 4th. Making sensory based projects with a patriotic twist can help fill the void and offer up some fun play time with your child. A quick search on Pinterest will provide you with lots of ideas that incorporate materials like slime, shaving cream, water, rice and other things you likely have in your pantry. Or, if it would be best for your child to forgo holiday festivities this year, consider having a movie night at home complete with a few patriotic snacks.
Get Your Child Involved
If you are attending any kind of festivities, or perhaps hosting one yourself, find ways to get your child involved in the preparation. Asking them to help with a few small tasks can better prepare them for what's to come. Simple tasks like setting up chairs around the fire pit, or packing a bag not only allows them to contribute, but helps prepare for the fun.
Have Familiar Things on Hand
Festivities can be full of new experiences, new foods, unfamiliar sounds and lots of people, all of which can heighten anxiety for someone with sensory issues. Having a familiar snack or drink on hand may help to calm things down and provide the consistency your child may be looking for.
In addition, consider establishing a "safe place" where your child knows they can go if they start to feel overwhelmed. Find a quiet spot away from the bustle where you can set up a chair or blanket. You may want to include a favorite toy or book as well.
No matter how you celebrate this 4th of July, it's going to look different, which might prove to be overwhelming for a child with sensory processing challenges, Taking time to prepare them for what to expect can help make the celebration fun and can go a long way to ensure that everyone enjoys the holiday.
Get those walking shoes on people! The 4th Annual Forsite Benefits Move challenge is not too far off. CP is thrilled to once again be the charity partner for this fun company vs. company step challenge in September.
The Move challenge is great way to fuel a competitive spirit while staying active. Steps are tracked by using the Forsite Benefit's corporate wellness mobile app. Anyone with a tracking device like a Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Watch or smart phone and a pair of shoes can participate!
The Move challenge is a great employee event as it's something that everyone can do on their own, or in small groups, but contributes to the overall team. Teams track their average daily steps and compete against others racing to achieve the highest average daily step count. Look at it this way, you can practice social distancing, get some exercise and help a local nonprofit at the same time!
And - BONUS - teams averaging 10,000+ steps during September will walk their way into the 10k Club and CP will receive an additional donation. The top three teams and all 10k Club members will be recognized at the closing ceremony celebration. Last year's celebration was held at Badger State Brewing Company, a perfect venue to recognize everyone who stepped up to the challenge.
This will be the second year that CP has been the charity partner for the Move challenge and we even put our own team together (look out). We are so grateful for organizations like Forsite and their creative ways to help bolster area nonprofits. We are just as grateful for all of the teams that participate, too!
Registration for the Move challenge starts TODAY! You can get all of the details HERE and register your team for this year's event!
We hope to see you and your colleagues out walking in September!
The International Day of Yoga is on June 21. This day, which is also the longest day of the year, has been celebrated since 2015 with people all over the world bending and twisting together in a class, or in their own practice. At CP, we've been incorporating the practice of yoga into our childcareand adult program for a while now, so it seemed fitting to highlight these programs, just ahead of the day that celebrates yoga around the globe.
Children's Yoga & CP Early Education & Care
Yoga has long been shown as an effective way to reduce stress for children, which is one of the reasons why CP Early Education & Care has made it a part of their curriculum for older kids. The class tries to practice at least twice a week, using books and flashcards to help make it fun and kid friendly. Just check out a few of our childcare kiddos in action:
Practicing yoga at an early age also teaches kids body awareness and gets them active without being competitive with others, leaving more room to teach compassion, sharing and develop friendships.
The best part is that our childcare kiddos find yoga fun and a real highlight to the week.
Yogabilities in Adult Day Services
Yoga has proven to be just as effective for clients in our Adult Program as well. Yogabilities is a newer class that was introduced about a year ago and has been popular among clients.
For those with disabilities, yoga offers many physical benefits, the main one being an opportunity to stretch muscles, especially for those who spend a majority of their time in a wheelchair. The stretching done in yoga can help with range of motion and help prevent muscle stiffness as well.
Mental benefits are also plentiful. In addition to stretching, yoga offers an opportunity to focus on the breath, creating a calming and relaxing environment that has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. This works especially well with some clients with sensory processing issues who do better in a calm environment.
Yoga is a great practice because of its adaptability. Poses can be modified as needed depending on flexibility, range of motion, whether the person is in a wheelchair or has more mobility. A yoga practice may also aide in helping clients achieve other physical goals such as standing or walking as yoga can help improve strength and stamina.
But perhaps one of the best things about yoga is how empowering it can be. With yoga, the client starts where they're at in their current level of functioning and move toward meeting goals from there. It's a perfect representation of what we do in all of our adult classes at CP: help build not only physical strength but self-confidence.
Yoga has infused positivity, a sense of calm and self-confidence throughout CP, and we are fortunate to have partners and staff to help make it happen. To them, and everyone that practices yoga, we celebrate International Day of Yoga with you!
It's hard to believe that it was just over a month ago when we reached out through social media and asked our community to share what they were thankful for as CP took part in #GivingTuesdayNow. It seems like so much has happened since then, and it has. We've all made it through the safer at home order (complicated by a whirlwind supreme court decision), CP reopened its doors a bit differently for clients and families and our country and communities have been shaken with recent national events regarding racism.
Back on May 5, during #GivingTuesdayNow, we celebrated all we were thankful for. As you sent in your messages that day, we developed a Thankful Wall at CP, literally filling up a wall in our conference room with your words of thanks. It was an amazing morning and it was a great representation that we all have so much to be thankful for.
As I was taking down the messages from friends, family and staff who helped us construct our Thankful Wall the other day, I started to wonder, in light of current events, what were we hopeful for?
So I brought the question to some of our folks at CP and I received some great answers. It seemed only appropriate to combine a reminder of what we were thankful for with what we are hopeful for. The message turned out to be a strong one:
Thank you to our community and CP friends and family who contributed to the notion that while we are all different, we are all hopeful.
Videos That Made a Difference During COVID (and even now)
June 1, 2020 10:32 am
While CP opened its doors last Tuesday, we aren't quite back to where we were before COVID-19 changed the way we do things. Families and clients are understandably taking extra precautions to ensure safety, which has meant a slower progression back to CP and services for some. In the end, deciding what to do, when it is safe to venture out and where to venture to, is a very personal decision.
Recalling just a short time ago during our safer at home hiatus, our Adult Day Services staff came together and started creating class videos highlighting activities that would have normally been done at CP. From a DIY lava lamp to practicing daily basic stretches, the videos covered a lot of ground. And while nothing beats doing these activities together in a classroom, they did provide clients with some engagement while being at home.
And while CP is open, and while we wait for others to come back when they are ready, the videos are still proving useful and are providing a way for those still at home to participate in some fun and educational activities.
We've even created a library of all of the videos on CP's website. The Video Resources & Activities page offers an ample supply of projects anyone can do from home, at any time, or just when you'd like to try something new.
But there is something else these videos have created. Although they were developed with connecting to the client in mind, we've done something else - connected even more with our community. It's been entertaining to read the comments as these videos have been posted to Facebook. From a client simply sending a virtual wave to their favorite instructor, to a family - who doesn't even come to CP - sharing the end result of the craft project they created, the engagement has been amazing and has made us all feel as if we weren't too far apart after all.
What started as a staff effort to keep clients engaged, has turned into so much more. These aren't just videos - it's a lifeline, a way to feel united and another way to feel safe by seeing a familiar face or having something new to do. We've ended up contributing to our community - in a way that is very CP.
Who knew an 8 minute video recorded on a phone could have so much impact? Thanks to our CP staff for taking the time to share their skills to everyone.
Like many businesses and organizations in Northeast Wisconsin, we reopened the doors of CP today. And, just like others, we reopened a bit differently than before. Face masks, temperature taking and social distancing have become the sudden norm. We do this, not out of fear of COVID-19, but to do our part to protect clients, families and staff for as long as needed.
For the last several weeks, our team has worked to develop a plan of operating in the new normal, taking all of the important health factors into consideration. We developed new guidelines, policies and safety measures. We consulted the CDC and county health departments. We have sought advice from
area medical providers, just to be certain what we were putting in place was the right course of action. We spent time combing over details, questioning how to put policy into practice, gathering supplies and putting up signage. Finally, after weeks of work, we felt ready to safely reopen.
And what happened when we opened a few hours ago? A few bumps in getting people through the door, sure, but we overwhelmingly saw so many more welcoming cheers from staff who haven't seen each other in two months, big smiles from clients who are so happy to be back and just a general sense of excitement from everyone about being at CP and ready to work, just in a new way. This vibrant energy easily took the spotlight away from new safety procedures. In fact, it was almost surprising to see all of this elation around the building, but it really shouldn't have been. We were so focused on making sure we were reopening safely, that it was easy to forget that when you get people together, it brings a totally different dynamic. Our team and clients were simply ready to be back, masks and all. It's a new vibe, but a very, very good vibe around CP today.
And while the safety of everyone at CP will always be our top priority, we won't let that turn into fear and we certainly won't let that stop our clients from making the gains they've been working so hard toward.
This morning reminded our team that what we are facing isn't insurmountable. We just have to find another way over the hill. We are here, ready to help clients meet their goals, and celebrate every milestone achieved. We have a rejuvenated love and commitment to the community we've been so proud to be a part of for more than 65 years and we are committed, more than ever, to helping everyone live the life they want and go beyond what they thought possible.
Last week we all had a lot to be thankful for. And more the 80 of you shared your messages of thanks with CP during #GivingTuesdayNow. Messages that we posted to our thankful wall right at CP. And to end the day, we announced a gift matching opportunity. Donations made to CP would be matched (up to $3000) by the Kris Van Dinter family. You can still make your donation if you'd like.
In the end, our #GivingTuesdayNow virtual event turned out pretty amazing. You never know what you are going to get from virtual participation, and this far exceeded our expectations. To me, it was proof that not only are we really in this together, but we are all excited and looking forward to being at CP again soon.
Speaking of which, our leadership team continues to work on a plan to reopen the doors of CP when it is safe to do so. When we do, daily operations might look a bit different, but together we'll get there and find our new normal, keeping in mind our end goal of helping everyone live the lives they want to live.
But until then, our very creative staff have done the next best thing by creating videos of different activities to share with all of you. You'll find a new video posted most days on CP's Facebook page, but you can browse the entire library on CP's Video Resources & Activities page. From making guacamole to moon sand, you'll find easy and fun projects you can do at home. While we'd love to have clients back to do all of these fun activities in class, this is the next best thing.
For now, stay well and stay safer at home, everyone. Remember, we'll be together again soon, and that every day, there truly is something to be thankful for.
Next Tuesday is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity. While the day was created in response to the pandemic we are all facing, it can - and should be - seen as something so much more.
At CP, we are choosing to participate by asking our friends and family to take time that morning and share on Facebook what they are thankful for. It can be something simple like: I'm thankful for my family, I'm thankful for delivery drivers, I'm thankful for sunny days. We are going to collect all of those messages and create a Thankful Wall right at CP. Our hope is that by the end of the day, our wall will be full of thanks.
It's amazing how something so simple, like sharing what we are thankful for, can bring us together. That's the hope with next Tuesday. That despite being apart for so long, we'll be able to see, quite literally, that we are all still connected by simply giving thanks.
We all have had more time on our hands these days and we hope that you take a few minutes and share a message with us.
If you'd like, you can download our I'm thankful for... template to write your message on. Then snap a quick photo and share it with CP's Facebook page (or make sure to tag us). If you can't access the template, no worries, a scrap of paper will do the trick. Or, if you're in the mood, we'd love to see a video. We just hope that you'll take a moment to share.
We'll also be going live on Facebook throughout the morning to give updates on how our wall is filling out and we'll have a few special guests share what they are thankful for as well.
Because after all of this is over, after we get used to a new normal, we'll have a lot to be thankful for.
What's Been Inspiring You? I Have a Few Suggestions...
Apr. 7, 2020 11:47 am
So, we are on day ??? of the safer at home order in Wisconsin. How are we all doing? I know it's hard. For some, it's harder than you thought, and although we know staying at home is the right thing to do, it can feel like you are reaching your limit. At some point, we crave interacting with people, getting back to a routine, doing things, going places. All those feelings are completely valid and totally understandable, but we need to hold tight just a bit longer.
I've seen both sides the COVID-19 effect, mainly on social media, but also around where I live. People are either totally engaged, crafting away, trying new recipes and taking walks, or they are going stir crazy, binge watching whatever is on Netflix and worrying about gaining the "pandemic 19" from sitting on the couch and letting eating habits slide.
The important thing to remember is that it doesn't have to be one or the other. You don't have to be a Pinterest project champ (I'm talking to you, Pinterest class people) or a complete couch potato all the time. There can, and most likely will be, days during this time when you are both, and that is okay. One day you might be willing to tackle that bathroom painting project (still getting myself psyched up for that), and on another, you might decide that watching all 22 episodes of season three of Private Practice is a great idea (don't judge).
What I'm saying is don't criticize yourself too harshly here. We've never been through something like this before, so just take one day at a time. Be aware of your feelings. If you're becoming sad or lonely, or just not yourself, look for help. But know that how you are feeling right now, is okay.
Remember the good that is happening right now. It may not be a perfect world, but there have been some pretty cool and inspiring things that have come from all of this. Have you seen any episodes of Some Good News with John Krasinski on Facebook? This makeshift newscast by Krasinski, with graphics designed by his kids, is all about focusing on the good things happening in the world right now - and it's kind of funny. Watch if you can.
Closer to home, a friend of CP, Dan Rafferty (half of the NEW Piano Guys) is holding Facebook live by request shows a few times a week on his page, Play It Again, Dan. The first time he did it was somewhat impromptu and was only supposed to last 30 minutes, but turned into two hours. It's a great way to spend some time with family and listen to some great music. I highly recommend.
Just outside my door, my neighbors have been busy decorating every inch of the sidewalk in front of their house with inspirational messages. These are great daily reminders. In fact, I've seen messages like this all around my neighborhood when I take my dogs for a walk.
Speaking of which, how can you not smile at these faces?
No matter if your agenda today involves making a baked Alaska or watching someone else do it during episode 118 of the Great British Baking Show, just know that it's okay. Tomorrow is a new day and there is a lot to look forward to as we stay safer at home, and remind ourselves that we are doing this for everyone, including the clients and families at CP that we so dearly miss.
What are some of the things that have inspired you, or have been helping you through all of this? Please share in the Facebook post I shared this message in. I've love to see them.
As you many know, on Monday, CP decided to keep all of our locations closed through April 24, per Governor Evers' Saferat Home order. It was a tough decision, but after talking as a staff and reaching out to some of our clients, we felt this was really the best action to take for the safety and well being of everyone.
Speaking of that, I know a lot of people are home right now, and it might be getting a bit old. How many more movies can you watch, how many more puzzles can you put together? I know I had the realization yesterday of what am I going to do to keep busy at home for a month? I have work, which helps, but what about at night or on the weekends? Luckily, I have two teenagers who, for the most part, keep themselves busy, but even they get bored and need something to do outside of online learning. It was a lot more overwhelming than I thought, really.
But then I thought about our clients - the people that CP serves every day. The infants, the seniors, the kiddos who are medically fragile, those who have compromised immune systems. It's so easy to forget why you are staying at home when the reason may not be sitting in front of you. Well, I'm here to remind you that you are not only staying home for our clients, but for the countless others who may not be as strong as you and I are to fight off a virus like COVID-19. For them, this is a very real and very scary situation.
I did some checking in last week with some of our team to see how everyone was doing, and the reports were pretty good. Lots of folks are finding a new normal - a new routine as we ride out all of this. But there was certainly an underlying theme: they all miss coming to CP and seeing their friends. Pool patrons have shared on Facebook on how they miss coming to the pool to take their class and see people they know. Families are missing their weekly visits with their therapist and interacting with other families. And in speaking with a lot of our staff last week, I know they are missing being at CP, too. But everyone also understands the importance of keeping everyone safer at home.
My take away from that is, if we are going to be apart for at least a month (for some of us longer), then we should all be doing our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. You know the drill - wash your hands, sanitize everything, practice social distancing and only leave your house when you absolutely have to. I get it, being cooped up is hard and as the days start to get nicer, it will be more difficult, but please - just stay home. What's a few weeks, when the end game is being able to open the doors of CP again and welcome back all of our clients?
In the meantime, I've been trying to make sure we are staying connected with our community using Facebook. I've been calling on our staff to share photos and videos about what they've been doing while we are closed. Now I'm talking to our team specifically: Now that we'll be closed through April 24, I'm hoping I can get some of our staff to share videos on what they would have been doing in class - maybe a cooking video, showing a craft project, or something with music or exercise. Maybe its tips on staying mobile while at home, sensory activities or something else. Maybe its just encouraging words you want to share with our clients to keep them motivated.
I know it's hard to get in front of a camera, and I'm not asking for anything fancy or perfectly edited. Just be yourself. I think it would mean a lot to our clients to see you again and would make the connection to CP just that more real. Just email me and we can talk about ideas. Okay, enough of that.
Just make sure to do all you can to keep yourself and our communities safe through all of this. It's amazing how simply staying at home can make such a big difference. If we all do it correctly, we'll be back at CP before you know it. Back riding bikes down the hallways, jumping in ball pits, playing on the playground, working out in the pool - and safer and stronger together. Stay well #saferathome.
As many of you know, CP made the decision to close all of our locations through Friday, April 3 to ensure the health and safety of our clients, families and staff while we all navigate through COVID-19. Although it was a difficult decision, it was the right one to make.
So, I'm sitting at home, Friday, March 20, trying to figure out my new normal. If I were in my office, I'd be drafting the blog post for the upcoming Monday. But as I write this from my makeshift work station at home, I find that difficult to do. What do you write about, talk about, when you aren't physically there? So I figured I'd do the next best thing - tell you what I was going to write about over the next two weeks.
Monday, March 23
Today was going to be all about CP's Aquatic Center. Our spring registration (which is now on hold) was starting to take off and many of our patrons and new families were coming in to register for fitness classes, swim lessons and specialized exercise. The Aquatic Center is open to the public, so it's always nice to see new faces mixed in with our "regulars" during class registration time.
Spring is a great time to get the kids enrolled in swim lessons so they are ready for summer swimming fun. For others, there is just something about being in a warm water pool that makes you feel good while helping to build balance, strength and coordination through aquatic exercise. Now, I'd normally post a photo of kids having fun in the pool, or perhaps a group fitness class taking place. But, alas, I'm not at CP, so this photo simulation will have to do.
In all sincerity, when we get back at it - and we will - you'll have to stop by the Aquatic Center yourself to take in all of the action. We're a pretty busy place with classes designed for every age. Register for a class while you're there, too!
Monday, March 30
This post was going to promote CP's YouTube channel. Did you know we even had one? We are working hard in 2020 to provide content that will be helpful not only to current CP families, but for families everywhere. It's our way to extend our reach beyond Northeast Wisconsin. We have a pretty amazing staff who are knowledgeable about topics including adaptive equipment, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, sensory activities, play based learning, aquatic physical therapy and adaptive technology. Our team also has experience working with a variety of conditions including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, MS, traumatic brain injuries, post-stroke, and even cases where there isn't a specific diagnosis.
The March 30 post was going to show our latest video, which has unfortunately been suspended due to reasons we all know too well. It was going to feature our Adult Day Services program and the kitchen class sharing a recipe. We'll still get it posted - just at a later date. For now, you can check out our most recent video on using adaptive equipment:
My sincere hope that is these are the only two blog posts that we will miss. I'll think of something to post on March 30 (today is taken care of), even if it can't be what I talked about above. Feel free to subscribe to our blog by sharing your email as well, so that when we do get back to normal, you won't miss anything.
To everyone: be well, stay safe. I think everyone at CP - clients and staff alike - are missing each other a lot right now. You should head over to CP's Facebook page and check out what everyone is doing while we are closed. In this trying time, our clients and staff have found wonderful ways to get through all of this with laughter, fun and grace.
Stay healthy and safe.
UPDATE: As we have learned the last few weeks, things change quite rapidly. There is now news of yet another change for WI regarding COVID-19. Please stay safe everyone. Perhaps I'll have to think of another post for week three after all.
Well, this certainly isn't the blog post that I thought I'd be sharing this week. COVID-19 has certainly kept us busy creating plans and sharing information, only to have them change a few moments later. CP certainly isn't alone in this - my personal email inbox has been full of updates and changes over the last week from school, businesses and restaurants. I think we are all just trying to manage the best we can with the information we have. And so, life goes on...
CP has made some decisions regarding our programming due to COVID-19 that we'd like to tell you about. Today, Wednesday, March 18 at 5pm through Friday, April 3, all of CP's facilities will close. This includes our Green Bay, Kimberly and Two Rivers locations.
We did not take the importance of this decision lightly. We understand that many families rely on CP to care for their loved ones. However, after much discussion, we thought it was necessary in order to protect the health of our clients, families and staff, which is, and always will be, our top priority.
What will happen after Friday, April 3?
Unfortunately, no one really knows what will happen. Although it feels like we finally have a minute to catch our breath, everything could change again. After the two weeks are concluded, CP will assess the situation before making decisions about programming. Those decisions will be communicated as quickly as possible.
With everything going on, CP would like to thank our clients, families and especially our amazing team of employees for standing with us through it all.
More changes may lie ahead, but with such amazing support, there isn't anything we can't overcome.
Well, another CP Telethon is done and, yet again, we have so much to be thankful for. $1,458,664 reasons to be exact.
From the performances, to the hosts, WBAY, the VIPs, our own CP team and, of course, everyone who called in and donated, it all just came together.
Not only did we break another fundraising record, we had one of our best shows yet, with dance and music performances all by local groups and organizations. But one of the real highlights had to be our live remotes that featured CP programs and our in-studio interviews highlighting some pretty amazing clients and the gains they have made. Looking back, now two days post-Telethon, it was a weekend to be proud of.
Our biggest thanks of all needs to go to our community and the people and businesses who make it a point to call in their pledge every year. From $5 to $1,000, every donation makes a real difference to our clients all year long.
So, thank you, Northeast Wisconsin, for your generosity, compassion and support of CP and our families. We couldn't have done it without you.
If you missed the weekend, you can still make a donation to the CP Telethon here.