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Transcript for October 2013 Brown Bag

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

 

>> Okay. Well thank you, thank you everybody for coming. We're going to give you a little...

 

[ Laughter ]

 

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

 

>> So, I've been [inaudible] child named Almelo and other folks are interested in dream working Europe for a long time with a European platform on these location. I've been working with folks in the Netherland for quite a number of years now, and also folks in Ireland who had a group equal to the internships program there for folks for a whole semester, that as you know many participants can't go for a whole semester. So, we had organized a couple of short trips so at least people can a feel for what is going on over there. And we had a number of people from both countries, but particularly Netherlands who have come to San Diego to check out our transition programs and looking at employment programs or envisioning [inaudible] really. We did a whole inversion in two in two weeks and tried to come up with some of the highlights.

 

Because there were a whole lot of highlights in this trip as you can imagine we had. So, were going to be talking in different students were going to talk about the different places. We were based in Gelderland in the Netherlands, which is about hour, hour and fifteen minutes, twenty minutes east of Amsterdam, so kind of in the middle of the country. And from there we went all over: Arnhem, Alemo, Doorwerth, Nijmegen, Grosbeak, Venlo, Eindehoven, Wijk and Zee. So every day we would go different places and Johnathan needed to be there because he mastered the Dutch language. [laughter] So, we're going to continue to give you all the highlights from the Netherlands and a few highlights from Ireland to give you a feel for what we do, we really experienced it and what [inaudible] there.

 

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

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>> So, our first day was to Alemo. [inaudible] it's way on the eastern border of Germany. And we first went to a school that provided services to students with disabilities. For the school students need to do an internship and to accommodate the internship opportunities were working with farm animals doing somewhat they call the rendering, which is part of like gardening and landscaping. So we went to one of the farms where those students were working at they took care of the horses, there were, there's a picture with the horses, there's sheep that they were taking care of. They also had an area where they had a bunch of chickens and they would [laughter] yes, they get eggs from the chickens and put it in a little carton and those, they would sell that to different markets around the area. So, what they were doing was very [inaudible] and they're getting the benefits from going to these places and doing the internships. Those are some more pictures.

 

This is also the country store, and the another country store [inaudible] they had it, interesting. I don't know if they can keep it [inaudible]. So, inside there a lot of examples with relatives they have, they also had rabbits. So, anything like a [inaudible] rabbit. And they [inaudible] kind of like nurture animals and [inaudible] or if you were interning there you would be to extract them [inaudible] you know and take responsibility and try to learn those nurturing skills that maybe, they may not be able to apply to another human yet, but just to get a basic idea by starting out with animals. Getting comfortable caring you know learn responsibility and things like that. So, they were kind of natural at it at a couple of their rabbits that they had in the cage.

 

>> So, what kind of disabilities did they have? The students?

 

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>> So, there the majority of them it was cognitive and physical areas. A lot of Autism and stuff like that. The social skills and not being able to relate to others. Yes, so that was a step for them to be able to you know, be in a smaller setting and learn how to try to interact with animals and kind of find out their needs and learn that responsibility. Because interaction with someone other than [inaudible] maybe a family member or something, just to branch out. Something else they would need to adjust to other human individuals. And I don't have the picture of it [inaudible] of the apartments they had in town.

 

>> Yeah the students would often to go to the apartment where one of our of former guys had lived there when he was doing his in the Netherlands. And at this apartment when went there, they were cleaning the apartment, and this time they were learning cooking skills there is a manual on how to make different meals. Like and then there was like pictures and stuff like that so the students could learn some independent living skills as well.

 

>> They love our student's stay there for free, and every day the apartment would be cleaned, and they would do his laundry. [laughter] They would fold his clothes.

 

>> So Johnathon, if you want to talk a little bit about what we did then in the afternoon when we went to the university. Then well show the video.

 

>> Well first of all, I cultures for [inaudible]. But the first project we did Brenda, is the kind of worked together with their college students especially from this university. And we basically just created, there was a need that kind of emphasized you know, the structure of personal driven planning. And what are the important kind of themes that can contribute personal driven planning. So, example - career, friends. And we just played a game well call - with other students come to the university and then we talked about ideas and issues that can come up when they comes to the university center planning professionally. Like the idea of you know, some career and then who leads it. You know, usually the family especially a person who depends on totally.

 

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It's usually the primary care givers, which are family members, or moms and dads that usually make the last decision. And so, this is basically a game it's a will issue like, that we end up playing for like an hour and share our ideas and if there's questions on what types of personal planning our important. And so, we kind of made use of our ideas. And we also shared a story of their lifestyle there in their country versus ours. And so, you know you kind of share stories about you know. They had some gruesome stories of, from what they heard from the U.S., which I was kind of surprised to find [laughter]. And we kind of had to you know tell them no, that's not how we do it, that's not how we do it here so. But we told them you know, you have things right here, we have the means right here. [inaudible] we already told them that you've learned Dutch so that...

 

>> Yes I did learn Dutch! But my Dutch is really -- yeah [laughter]!

 

>> I'll do it. For me I learned "hier ga je" - hier ga je means "here you go"! I was working with a professor that said hier ga je..

 

>> Woo!

 

>> And the, and then when I get in my receipts records "dank u" which is thank you. And the, and then for your longer [inaudible conversation] and I kept a [inaudible] I didn't say it right and left [inaudible conversation] so that you start to practice them.

 

>> Melissa, I got a question for you that is you carrying things for our various

[ inaudible question ]?

 

>> I don't think it's a...

 

>> For me, I think a lot of their systems are cumbersome over there. They feel more pressure there, than our instances like, this person is our in our [inaudible] that Karen is doing is hard but for me it's just a mess, that means the whole disability system there who do that they treat individual cases. I just seems like there's a lot more access and the individual who [inaudible] and whose there to make their decisions and there's tools.

 

>> So, yes it did very much so any..

 

>> So, what they're doing is they started the training that we did.

 

>> Ah!

 

>> So, it should look alike. [laughter] Yeah, because again the theory that people do train with us and then like my colleague in the Netherlands who helped us organize everything. Rob Klien been continuing and then ongoing training and then I reply back and then more of it with him. So, it's all been there, you know they put their own twist on obviously so it's nice to see how they then make it their own and how their making it work for them in their culture. And so let's see if communicating [inaudible].

 

>> Right here. So, it should [inaudible] hesitate..

 

>> Programs..

 

>> Different programs..

 

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

 

>> So what they were filming all day. We had no idea what they were actually going to do with this film. And then they put it on their website and then just a couple of weeks ago they sent us the link that it's on YouTube. So, now were on the Internet.

 

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

 

>> Are we ready?

 

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

 

[ Music ]

 

>> The future focus in our work in the program, some of it is Ashley running the apartment some of the students here who have been working on the project. And so, I got them [inaudible] to work with them. So I think that's what's really brings it to life you have to be [inaudible].

 

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[ Music and Inaudible Conversation ]

 

>> So moving on. The next thing ready here it comes. Blixem, I really want to talk about this so this for one it's my favorite. Blixem is a restaurant along [inaudible] that run by people with disabilities only. [Inaudible] and if you notice some of the pictures on the walls that actually show people with disabilities. And it was really cool artwork on the walls. So there's [inaudible] and some of the people that work there and talk with them. And in the back there was a huge store which I bought a lot of stuff back. It was really neat and was really cool to interact in their environment and just see people real people just love you. I mean you know, working at a restaurant, a big restaurant and they did everything they worked in the kitchen, they did the serving. They actually served like coffee or tea anything that we wanted. And it was a really cool environment to see them, they seemed very happy and they all really liked it.

Everyone - anyone that I talked to especially in the back where the store was and they said they really liked it and it was a good opportunity for them and they liked it that this was something that they offered. Yeah I said "I would love to see this stuff in the U.S.". So for the social enterprise they had built this and then they, they do have people with and without disabilities working there. And there can be a training program, typically a [inaudible] program it lasts a year. For some people they're in there for a couple months. Other people may take longer. A whole variety of disabilities, we saw people with Down syndrome or people with mental health issues. So, depending on what they need and then they help place them in the community. But it's a thriving, it's in the neighborhood and it's just poring across the neighborhood. So it's a really a great model.

 

>> And your one last thing?

 

>> They, they said that restaurant is actually really popular and they get tons of traffic through there so...

 

>> [Inaudible comment].

 

>> No it's run actually, it's ran out of an organization.

 

>> I have a question?

 

>> Huh?

 

>> Other than this [inaudible] restaurant how is it, how is it different or similar to say the program like QWI?

 

>> Because of the way that it's set up is that people can get placed there and move one. So the business is a thriving business it's not you know, it's not set up to do any kind of contract work or anything like that. People got together and started the business so there are owners to the business and then people get placed there. For however long they need for particular training.

 

>> They pay the employees?

 

>> Yes they all get paid.

 

>> Hm-mm.

 

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>> So, then we moved onto a place called [inaudible], which is the name of the agency in Grosbeak and had kind of a fun after the tour of the school and the program [inaudible] they have little treats they chose Taylor. And, Taylor tell us your part in it.

 

>> Okay, they just built a church field at the school to allow the students to have a place to use sports. And that day some of the members of street ball called me a national team were playing or half the team there. So I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to practice a little bit with them.

 

>> It was really cool I remember I posted this on Facebook [laughing]. I was like, but I said, but soccer allows people to with different abilities from different cultures kind of connect in a way that they wouldn't be able to otherwise. So, I thought it was a really cool experience and they were really good. Really good [laughing].

 

>> [Inaudible conversation].

 

>> I happen to have Cerebral Palsy and we spent about two days dealing with Cerebral Palsy specifically and this was really powerful experience for me to see how these individuals see themselves as athletes and they're competitive and people support them and there's a whole system and there's a psychology in disability community is very different, but I don't see that over here and it was really powerful for me because like cause like [inaudible] what they can accomplish and what they can dream to do and be is completely different because of these experiences and it and it's just overwhelmingly nice to see.

 

>> And there were a bunch of different training areas there as well different vocational training that which they had today I think greenhouse training.

 

>> Yeah, yeah, right.

 

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>> And then the next day we went to Helio ? which is North of Amsterdam right on the North Sea. Beautiful little village and it's a rehab center and there's a school there and this there was a whole group of the [inaudible] administrators and program managers who came to San Diego the year before last and so they went because it was the whole group of [inaudible], they went back determined that they were going to start integrating persons with [inaudible] in how they operate and it was already in their mission but they soon realized that they weren't really doing it. They talked about doing it but they were still running it and so I had done a path plan with them on how they were going to look at integrating this more than you know, the philosophy but then how were they going to integrate it into their service delivery. So it's really cool to go back and see how they had taken what we had done which was a really kind of brief idea of how to do the path and then they obviously did it in Dutch [laughter]. So that they could literally detailed it and they were telling us about how far they had come and -- somebody want to take that?

 

>> Me.

 

>> Go for it.

 

>> So at the beginning when we first arrived we had kind of like a little chore at the school and it was really interesting cause it had -- you know everyone at that school has disabilities so in the hallways they're really wide hallways and they had scooters and like handcarts and go carts for the students to use if they needed help you know getting from 1 class to another they had some kind of some form of mobility if they needed extra assistance. I thought that was interesting that they just have parking areas for bikes I mean go-carts. So we also got to hear from 2 of the student who had completed a class or PCP just to hear their experience in how it's been applied in their life and how kind of they're in charge now and how like the realizations that they came to through going through PCP to how they can change their lives and how people around them have been supportive with that change. But also [inaudible].

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>> Yes. Just another -- does anybody else want to talk about the 2 young folks because their like, their stories was pretty powerful. Anybody remember any of the details? Both of them had pretty significant mental health issues that they were dealing with. They both had had episodes where they were looking at suicide. I mean it was that serious so it was pretty serious stuff and what they told us is the sense of being in charge and having people listen to them and look to them as to what they really wanted to do changed their whole outlook. The young man who talked about how he had kept being told that he should take this medication you got to take this medi -- and he didn't want to have any part of the psychiatrist he didn't want any part of medication.

 

Once he had this opportunity to talk with peers and the people who he invited so people he felt comfortable with he realized that he had the say whether he did or not. That it wasn't in defiance and instead he started realizing that maybe this could be a benefit but because he was the one that got to determine that, he decided maybe it would be beneficial and a young woman had a very similar story and she was talking about how you know she had never had any say about anything that had happened to her and now she was just getting ready to take her exams every so that -- she could she was really excited she had this you know outlook on life that was completely different and it's such a simple thing. That we don't tend to give people that opportunity because we're afraid they're not going to make the right decision or something. Oh and I also wanted to add the little girl in here she was an individual who didn't speak a lot too. She was very, very, very, shy and with this opportunity she was able little by little able to express her opinions express what she wanted and she never got that opportunity. So that's why she was very silent all the time [inaudible conversation]. And yet there they were they were presenting in front of you know the 12 of us plus other people from their organization and we're very proud of their accomplishment.

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>> At the end of the day we did a workshop performed by, I can't remember the gentleman's name but he trains and conducts these workshops for people with -- well with individuals with disabilities and it's kind of for students with disabilities to be able to explain to students without disabilities, "Hey look this is why things take my longer this is why I walk the way they do". Just for students without disabilities to have an understanding of what their peers with disabilities may be going through. So he had some of the series of activates for us to do. This top picture here is they're putting on braces where they came up to like the, to your knees so when you walk you couldn't bend your ankle or your foot or anything just like completely stiff and he had us walk with those and he had a balance beams at like varying levels to walk on the balance beams without being able to flex your foot or ankle and everyone was extremely scary and challenging but it gave us a better understanding of why someone with you know a disability might go through and it was frustrating a lot of the times because it's stuff that we take for granted you know just being able to walk on a balance beam and not think about it but it takes 10-15 minutes to go across 3 balance beams holding someone's hand was a completely new experience for a lot of us. So it was really powerful they had us do an obstacle course with wheelchairs where we had to kind of maneuver and navigate through cones and things like that.

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They had us put on these --what were they 30 pound backpacks or something with ankle weights and wrist weights to try to walk around and do the [inaudible] things [inaudible] throw basketballs or you know play soccer. He had he had us take ropes where we had to swing from kind of one side of the balance beam to another holding onto the ropes with these weights on us just to kind of get a sense of the you know some kind of limitation physically you know for us. He had a bucket of like tiny like beads for bracelets and we had to wear and it was really thick gloves and take out beads out of this bucket and make a little bracelet and like I remember personally being really frustrated because I couldn't figure out the beads and it took me 20 minutes to put 3 beads on this wire and I remember leaving just thinking like of how horrible that experience was because it's something we learn about in school is something we hear about from other people with disabilities or with some challenges like that but we never really have a sense of really what it feels like and to have that empathy unless we go through that as well.

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So I remember that just being kind of a highlight of being at [inaudible] because it was a completely new experience and I now have a better understanding of what it's like to have to spend 20 minutes maybe walking down 1 hallway or something like that so I thought it was really enjoyable to go do that.

 

 

>> The [inaudible] was probably one of the most powerful days for me to because I was going through all of the exercises and I was thinking to myself, you know we really need something like this in the States. I mean cause what he'll do is I guess, he'll go to businesses and educate people about this facility and it just its that bridge that we need between disability and the other population because there's so much people don't know and understand and it's just a low tolerance for it. That what he does is invaluable to everybody so that they can be exposed and learn and just we're not to be afraid of it and I just found that to be very powerful and I can't wait to see one of these in the states.

 

>> Well and there are...

 

>> Go ahead.

 

>> You know the college at University of Illinois in Champagne right who's a University for Science and Engineering do they actually do this? Would they allow a lot of the students to experience what it's like to be.

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>> Yeah, there's actually a lot of programs that do this and there's been a lot of controversy over the years cause of the disability stimulation activities because unless they're done well -- and this guy has it -- I mean he does it really good debriefing, he gets into the whole thing of being able to ask somebody for help you know he gets to a lot of different issues. What has happened in the past here as where this can go really wrong is that you have somebody do that but you don't, you don't link them with an individual with disability to say well, this is how I do that, and then they see how people can actually operate instead of walking away going oh my God that was horrible.

 

>> Yeah right.

 

>> Those poor people how do that do it? And that's where it has gone wrong and that's where I think people got away from doing those activities because they could be -- they ended up being poor thing the attitude that we are trying to dispel and so unless people are really skilled at doing a follow up and a debriefing and showing okay maybe you can't do it with those gloves on but if you had this assisted technology this is how you do it and you put the individual with the disability in the role of let me show you how to do this. You know let me show you how to go through an obstacle course because I do this every day obviously you're not going to learn it in just 2 minutes.

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So it's a way of trying to ground it in the reality and say look you know we want to walk away going wow people have to be really cleaver and fearless to do this you know and to look at what are the accommodations and what are the technologies and other kinds of things. But they did some really cool stuff and it just what was surprising to me was the reaction from everybody and how much they really got out of it and so that's what make me start thinking.

 

 

>> Maybe we should be doing some things like this because we could set it up well. I mean I think we could come up with some really good ways and there are people who do some really good training with this and you just sort of made the assumption that people get it because you're in the same room so just because -- and I think if I could see and you guys could tell me just looking at how you dealt with the accessibility issue that's crazy and Jonathan you know that you guys dealt with if you want to talk to her about it and that gave everybody a little more experience too in seeing you know how we had to try and figure things out [inaudible conversation].

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>> You know we did a lot of walking and you guys weren't typically ready for that on the trip and you know there you know their bathtubs are different than ours you know so they actually had a lot of accessible stuff but there that wasn't too much of a problem but definitely like the tub set up over there was different and you know.

 

 

>> Well, and we were trying you know we always ask for you know an accessible rooms in the hotel and we had our travel agent is a woman who uses a wheelchair. So you know she was you know had everything set. Well it turns out it [inaudible] you had no choice. You either got an accessible room or you got a room for 2 people and they didn't seem to have that [inaudible conversation]. You got 1 or the other. So you get an accessible room but you only get 1 bed yeah made everybody good friends huh [laughter]?

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>> We also learning that people need to be very comfortable when we travel huh because the rooms were never great and we stopped at [foreign language] which is where our colleague Robb, that's where he works part of the time so I think Jonathan you were going to talk about him?

 

 

>> Yes this was a school that our other professor Rob that was our tour guide he worked at and it was amazing just because all their access of disability was integrated into their school and it was great to see all of the students be very active and just kind of doing normal routine that any other student would do and I love the fact that their students also especially were going to have lunch they helped there are [inaudible] in everything so they made us feel very welcome and...

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>> You can't see it but there's little American Flags sticking out [inaudible conversation] and it was just great like the detail of their lunch preparation was great and we felt so welcomed and everything and I'd loved this aspect of the school because they didn't treat anybody differently everyone was integrated especially persons with disabilities and we take a look at their workshop especially the mechanic or the welding?

 

>> Yes.

 

>> We looked at their welding area and they had students with intellectual disabilities who were working and trying to gain that experience of being a welder and building stuff and I like that experience because they were working very hard and they were just any other student and I liked it.

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>> One thing I remember too is that sometimes the students would take over the chore and they they're bilingual you know so they weren't speaking in Dutch they weren't needing a translator they were speaking to us in English and you know they had these disabilities and stuck in awe because you know they couldn't control and they looked -- it was just a -- very awesome to see that they took on that leadership role they had their problems you know very little direction from their teachers or instructors and take over they which was [inaudible].

>> You can check in here Briana.

 

>> I can [laughter].

 

>> So we're going to move and I'm seeing where it says we're getting close on time but I just want to make sure you get through the rest we after going there we had the weekend in Amsterdam so we went there for Friday night Saturday, Saturday night I have no idea what they did [laughing], and I don't want to know [laughing]. I hear there were some places that were interesting there that I went to in the 80's so. [laughter and inaudible conversations] It was beautiful yeah we were very fortunate on the weather, we had we were really charmed. So then on Sunday we flew to Dublin and we spent the next week there. So we went to Dublin, Galway, and [foreign language]. So we decided to keep highlights to share from those. We did go by [inaudible conversations] gave me this picture [laughter] and I'm not quite sure what happened that night tell us why you sent this picture?

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>> Okay so I was with the ghost [inaudible conversation] and we did a ghost tour at [inaudible] Asylum [inaudible conversations] after work you just did a ghost tour of all the different [inaudible].

 

>> A haunted graveyard.

 

>> Yeah, a haunted graveyard. A Graveyard tour in Dublin, Ireland, and at the end we stopped at a pub and so we hung out with our ghost tourist and so you know I didn't realize he's sitting next to me and then they just they just sit here and I'm like [laughter] [inaudible conversations]. So we decide the morning we had gone to learn more about the [inaudible] group and the National Learning Network, which was our colleagues there.

 

 

>> So the rehab group are [inaudible] got close to the emergency had probably 7 or 8 interns who had spent a semester in Ireland either in Dublin or in Galway and there a huge support organization that serve the whole country and they also serve [foreign language], they have some agencies in the Netherlands and also Poland so they provide education further education and vocational training for people with a whole variety of disabilities. So we got to see a bunch of their sites both in [foreign language] and Dublin we saw a bunch in Galway. > When we got -- we took the train from [foreign language] into Galway and then we had a day where the people from the National Learning Network actually sent us a tour guide and a bus and this guy works for them but used to be a tour guide that was his business so he took us on a day you guys want to talk about couple of the tings where we went?

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>> One of the places we went to was the [foreign language]. All I know is it was really pretty [inaudible conversation] yeah it's on the right hand side I think we just spent a few hours there we were able to hike if you see that hike it was very [inaudible] we had to hike all the way that like you're a little bit time limited so not all of us went down there and it was really, really windy [laughing] and scary walking on that edge of the cliff, but it was beautiful and just seeing I guess kind of like the countryside and then the castle [foreign language] and like their old architecture and like their history it was really interesting it let us get a better sense of their culture and kind of the things that are important to them and why they are who they are.

 

>> Carrie, can I jump in and say something?

 

>> Sure [laughing].

 

>> I actually I [inaudible] think that [inaudible conversations] was the highlight [inaudible]. Jonathan and I walked together and Jonathan -- I was just in shock. He [inaudible conversation] Jonathan had a lot of his prosthetics on his bike and he literally was walking in front of me the entire time just be laughing and he how many hours were we on there? Two, [inaudible conversations] 2 to 3 hours [inaudible].

 

>> Two, 2 1/2 hours.

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>> It just goes to show that there is no limitations at all that really speak to what our program represents and what it's about. Is it braces and accommodations and really opened mind that the sky is the limit and I'll never forget that. I mean Jonathan can literally solve future generations and future [inaudible]. He climbed [foreign language] and did it on prosthetics and he didn't even complain about it and the rest of us were my feet are hurting and [laughing] he was just amazing.

 

>> I'm glad you shared that.

 

>> That was just pretty that was a pretty special day. And the cows [inaudible conversations].

 

>> So the next day we went to go see Quest Brain Injury Services which is again a place that Sightnet has hosted several of our interns.

 

>> Me. Yeah Quest unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot like of people for us to kind of see interacting with staff members there but it was a pretty slow day and they only had a group of maybe 10 to 11 clients there doing art [inaudible conversations] eating, yeah there were a lot of people out but it was good because we got to speak the acting director and kind of get more information from her just to kind of get their philosophy and how their they do PCP and the [inaudible] they've done is drive their future. The person just tells the staff members at Quest you know this is what I want this is how I want to do it and the staff member is like okay well, how can I help you and I know this particular site was a pretty hard from an emotional site a lot for a lot of us just because it's dealing with TBI and that's something a lot of us are studying and are interested in or have personal experience with or you know family members or whoever.

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So you know just being able to go and see kind of the services they provide and their rooms their facilities how they have you know conference rooms and art rooms for clients to go to and sort of just paint and kind of gain skills and express themselves in a way they may not be able to otherwise but there's also a lounge that they're kind of in charge of you know a pool table and TV or video games there's an area for them to go and relax or calm down if they're you know in a meeting with a staff member and they get you know frustrated or they just need to take a break they do have this break room with some sort of activity to kind of help release some stress or some feelings that they may be having or just to be able to go through and continue their meetings and you know I just thought it was really powerful and I wish we could have seen more you know client interaction but unfortunately we weren't able to and just seeing their art and kind of the steps that they paint were sometimes they don't want to have anything to do with painting they don't want to have anything to do with art because they think they're not good at it but they will start with like doing transparencies and they trace you know a photo and they paint that on their canvases slowly they are able to you know feel competent and just painting whatever they feel like instead of you know going from being well I can't do this I'm not good at it to just practicing and taking small steps to be able to do something that they're proud of and they had an art contest there where they had client art work and posted on the walls and the hallways of the building so you know there art work is presented for to whoever walks in the building to see and to appreciate so that was a pretty powerful thing in itself.

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>> And then a couple of the students who had done internships they were actually in the country while we were there heading over there to visit. They had made such good connections and still had such good relationships that they go visit. And then the last stop again we're just kind of giving some highlights so, but on the way back from Galway back to Dublin we got a ride so we didn't have the train back but the 1 of the -- again another driver from National Learning Network came to get us so that we could stop at [foreign language] on the way back and [foreign language] is kind of in the middle of the country between Galway and Dublin. So Galway's on the West side of the country and Dublin is on the East side of the country so [foreign language] kind of the halfway point and we went there it's called The Stepping Out Project and we were all really impressed this has been more for individuals who have had some of them have already been in prison some have are at risk for heading there so there's a really [inaudible], I'll show the video right now but it's the link here is a video of one of the a couple of the people from the program who talked about the [inaudible] but I'd like the students to go ahead and tell a few of their impressions here's some of the photos from where they're actually building a boat [inaudible conversations].

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>> Me, so yeah so the stepping out program lot of people that were working on this boat were ex-offenders and I think it's safe to say we each had a very different experience while we were here it depended on who you talked to but basically the program itself and you can see you can't really see my picture on the left hand corner. It's a boat that was being made for people that was with disabilities. It was to be fully accessible there's only what 10 of these in the I mean the entire world and so these this program allows ex-offenders to come in and work on something and how to get them out of a bad place the people that I talked to they were saying that it was a really good opportunity for them because you know getting a job maybe coming out of jail prison anything like that it can be really tough so this program allowed them an opportunity and a chance to kind of get back on their feet and one of the people I talked to said it was it has honestly changed his life cause it allowed him to do something meaningful with his life and at first he was like I don't know how I feel about this and it's going to do it you know I don't want to go to jail but I need to do something and he ended up really, really loving what he was doing because it made him feel good inside and so it was really great to be able to actually talk to them and hear their stories and I mean just hearing the fact that this program rebuilds lives and you know made them feel like they were really important just really touched me and I mean [inaudible], is already they loaded in so much to it. They said it was a lot to do still with the boat but they were making progress and they were all working together as a team. That's just another great thing about the program teaches you to work in a team you have to rely on other people and it was a really great thing and a lot of [inaudible].

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>> Anyone else want to talk about your experiences?

 

>> I had a really powerful experience I spent quite a long time speaking with this a young girl who was in the program and she came from a very troubled childhood and very hard physical background and she said that this program had instilled the value of structure and the stability in her life and she had actually attempted that program 1 year prior and wasn't able to keep up with it and she said there strict, but you have to adhere to the program but she said because it's very strict guidelines it really pushed her to continue on that path it was a very [inaudible] and just to hear these people open their hearts up and tell us about their experiences it was, it was just mindboggling. I think all of us we leave these places full of emotions its hard not too.

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>> And the reason they are doing the boat building is they actually have an anonymous donor who donated the money to do this program they don't even know who donated the money and so they were pretty jazzed about it and I know a lot of the most of what I've been pushing is some of the little videos that they have they have little videos that talk about several of the different programs and they many of them have been like hard core drug addicts and you know you really say these are not simple lives that they are trying to manage. That the staff who work there are just so great they were so grounded and you know they had that that sense of humor but yet being able to draw the line and make the people be accountable. So they didn't they don't do traditional academics that the academics that they're learning and reading the plans and drawing the charts in doing all this stuff is all very practical things and so it's really meaningful then for all the participants. And the last [inaudible], [laughter], [inaudible] stayed for one night at a hotel by the airport so that it would be easy outset and it was just horrid [background conversation] really sad that we were and it was our last dinner. Any final reflections from over all of our trip?

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>> I definitely think that you should travel overseas and see different culture and how they treat disability bring comfortable shoes [laughter]. We did a lot of walking we did a lot of moving we hiked a lot of miles.

 

>> I actually just received an email this morning from 1 of the students that I don't keep in touch with from [inaudible].

 

>> Oh really.

 

>> And he's a young boy he's 15 years old with a traumatic brain injury and speaks 6 languages.

 

>> Fifteen years old by the way!

 

>> And just wrote me from his hospital bed this morning after having receiving another treatment and I'm in contact with his parents as well and a couple of his instructors over there and it just goes to show that these exact [inaudible], these experiences are going to change your life they're literally -- you can go and see how disabilities used in different countries you can see how policies are implemented and how people are genuinely valued and their not looked over as a there are in this country [inaudible] it's just you know powerful it was really powerful then they and you have literally lifetime friends after that that stand by you.

 

>> It was great to see you know traveling together was you know just fine for us [laughing]. All the time together and I was just so really proud that we didn't have any big dramas you know everybody really supported each other and -- I mean which one would expect but you know human nature you get tired of each other right [laughter]? They were just they were great.

 

>> I tried to entertain everybody [inaudible conversations].

 

>> Yes when everyone was feeling really tired and like kind of couldn't move anymore I entertained them [laughter].

 

>> I know I mean no one was over 30 excuse me and I'm the one I'm going and I'm like oh my legs are tired [laughter] magically you know cause it stays light till 10:00 at night [inaudible conversation]. So, magically after the long day after being so tired they would find their second wind [laughter] okay right [laughter] [inaudible conversations]. We did get to have a lot of local foods [inaudible]. Anybody have a questions?

 

>> When did you go?

 

>> We went the first 2 weeks of June so we left June 1st and came back on the 15th .

 

>> You mentioned that I think was another lesson why you had misperceptions about the programs here in the United States what? Can you give us examples?

 

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>> Okay there was 1. One girl she was 18 or 19 it was very gruesome with what she thought of us. She says that we cooked our cats in the microwaves and that she's seen it on YouTube and that we take all our cats and we cook it in the microwave. When I heard it we all looked at each other we're like what the what? So we kind of had to inform her something by no we don't cook our cats, no we don't do that. She said that is what my mom and dad told me for many years that we are very gruesome to our animals and that you when you don't want them you put them in the microwave or in the over and I'm like no we don't do that. Like if people have -- can't take care of their pets we take them to the shelter or anything like that we don't cook them that was one of the [inaudible].

 

>> So this was a perception about Americans?

 

>> Yeah. [Inaudible conversations], not of the program. Just about American [inaudible].

 

>> American culture through YouTube [laughing].

 

>> Which we know is clearly [inaudible conversations].

 

>> I thought maybe they had different perceptions about how we treated those people with disabilities here?

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>> Well they treated disabilities their perception of disabilities there was completely different than how we treat it here. For me one of the [inaudible] especially when we went to the rehab facility I mean at the hospital had a presentation and said that for me they would look as a client they don't see me as a person with a disability because they looked at how [inaudible] mobility able to take care of [inaudible] living independent so they were not categorize me or label me as a person with a disability because I'm so mobile.

>> And also they mention up to the individual I think it was in Ireland that we spoke when we spoke they said when a person has CP and they don't see themselves as disabled then we don't offer them services if they need services then they can come to us and we help them but they leave it up the individuals as to what they need or if they are disabled and you know they don't put the label on first.

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>> So what do you see now [inaudible] on a functioning level? [Inaudible conversations]

 

>> Yeah functioning level and also these individuals psychological idea about themselves cause they're going more they go by the international classification of functioning from the [inaudible] organization which does focus more on functioning participation looking at the environment but given all that they still have a lot of facilities we went to were all everyday facilities. So you know when we went to school those are schools for kids with disabilities those were vocational training programs, which were fabulous they're only offered to students with disabilities.

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So and so there's a big push now in Europe and there's specific laws in both the Netherlands and Ireland in looking at time to get more integrated and that's why the folks from the Netherlands had been so interested in coming here and we've had we had another group coming next spring because now they're being forced so to speak to really look at that integration of education that their educations systems are so different you know there's such a tracking system for all kids you know with or without disabilities and by age 12 you're headed down the path and you don't have a lot of options to veer from that path. But what they're looking at because they have such amazing facilities for training vocation training and they're doing a lot more of working with businesses so they really are moving in that direction and that's why when they come here they think what happened where's all your vocational training which you know we don't have as much of as we used to. So in essence those facilities were incredible but is that integration piece that's still a bit behind, where we are in those places not in all obviously we still have a ways.

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>> Did you go to colleges or high schools?

 

>> There are the schools we went to we saw high schools we saw continuing education there were adult schools I mean kind of a mix because students lead the kind of compulsory education after 16 most of them. So then they go on to either the vocation tech college's kind of places or training and then others that go into higher education where it's academic focused [inaudible].

 

>> I see it's a great thing hearing about your experience what really important thing about being a real special is you want to be a person who thinks about what you know what you expect as a way it has to be you're able to challenge yourself challenge the system. I think that and experiences like this actually help you do that because when I hear you saying that in [inaudible] this experience even though you only went a couple of other places gave you an opportunity to you suppose think about what challenge [inaudible] that throughout your career that enables you able to powerful than [inaudible], thank you for sharing.

>> Thank you

 

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>> And we did I got to put this in as a proposal for the [inaudible] conference so hopefully that will be accepted and we'll be able to do our presentation or something [inaudible].

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

 

>> I think that the lies that they implemented has taken place after ours and it's much more difficult -- home safety -- much more difficult physically around here because a lot of the stuff is so old that it's if somebody's [inaudible] is pretty challenging so there's still a lot to be said for that.

>> So a short period [inaudible].

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>> Yeah I don't know it's kind of hard to compare that we don't have enough to do and a few weeks but it's fun to learn from each other and that's really exciting part what we learn from them and what they learn from us you know there's -- I think generally we feel like you know we go someplace and think oh we have it all together and they're catching up. In main areas they're ahead of us in other areas we're ahead of them I mean but there's a whole lot that we can learn from each other and in the event we approach and we didn't approach any of these kinds of issues. It's getting out of that mindset of well we'll go help them figure it out [laughter] cause we have it so good [laughter]. We're working on it. [Inaudible conversation] or that would be part of the presentation [inaudible].

 

>> Did any of you guys get any of the grants or the scholarships?

 

>> No.

 

>> So we have about 6 about half of the people applied for scholarships [inaudible] and in the past we've had quite a few people get those scholarships and so do you know of anybody -- who -- nobody told me that they got 1 [inaudible conversations].

 

>> They had 1800 applicants filled out and they set out to do about 10?

>> Ten?

 

>> Ten.

 

>> In the past that's because it's now requirements for the colleges because we used to give last couple of trips we did most of the people at least got something so that they need to they need to really beef that up again.

 

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

 

>> Yeah it is.

 

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

 

>> Yeah the problem is that I think the difference in my path before we got everything set so it's such a process.

 

[ Inaudible Conversation ]

 

>> Yeah.

 

>> Yeah and so but they also do sometimes they'll do back pay but I guess nobody go that

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>> It is it's not I can't I don't want to say it's not cheap but it's not [inaudible]. Thank you so much. It's possible and I don't feel like anyone not going to disagree, it literally was worth it just I it's just mind-blowing absolutely mind there were so many priceless moments you just it's just worth it it's really worth it .. And each trip is different as to how much it costs this cost was pretty similar when we went to China and Hong Kong, yeah it's going to be a couple grand if you go for a couple weeks

 

>> Can you go alone there?

 

>> I know there are people who did yeah so definitely possible part of this program and that's one of the things that one of the trips we did we did it as a class [inaudible], and so they had things you can do as part of your financial aid. We went in summer and we could have set it through cps to get state credit but nobody wanted credit cause then it's like they would have to make room for credit. So there's a new thing coming on board for us to be able to say were going to go in summer and we can set up a spring course so that you wouldn't have to pay extra you can sign up for that and then summer so units of like nobody will [inaudible] but yeah again there's ways to work with that

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>> So when's the next opportunity you know I mean.

 

>> We don't have another one this one came up because after we came back from China and Hong Kong a lot of the student asked me for an opportunity to do a short trip thing cause so many people can't go through the whole semester so I basically put it together because I sent out I had a number of people ask me and hey I think I'd be interested in going to Europe when would you want to go so I just gave them spring break or in the summer just kind of gave them some choices and because [inaudible] worked there you know it was easier for me to arrange things there you know he's so fond of man's contact in China and Hong Kong some people there you know so basically it we all have lots of international contacts and so any time interested student this is what how we designed it and we you know added something cause people wanted to learn about brain injuries and mental health issues. We added ghost places in because we had a connection to do that so if students are interested you know we'll start working on those. Robert we've had [inaudible] when we went to China we had 2 this one we had Christina who had just graduated this was her present was ripped off we.

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