1: What does your role involve?
I’m a Developmental Educator within the Specialist team. I provide behaviour support and work with clients and a client’s family to help them achieve their goals, which might be an emotional goal, or a task such as learning to catch the bus or managing money. The first step is always listening to a client and determining their individual needs, goals and expectations, then breaking their goals down into smaller actions that we can work on together.
2: What do you enjoy most about your work? Why do you work in a disability team?
Although I also do client assessments and reports, I really enjoy the client contact part of my job, which I do a lot of in my role. I love helping people to identify a goal and then working with them to achieve it. During my time at Baptist Care SA, I’ve formed some really close connections with clients and their families.
3: What do you think are the most important things about providing a good service for our clients?
Definitely being person-centred and learning to adapt what I know and do based on each person’s individual needs. Identifying goals is really important and again being able to adjust those goals as we need to – for example when a person has reached their goal or is having difficulty achieving them. Having as much information about the client too is really important. This is usually something I get from chatting to the client but Baptist Care SA’s intake assessment team will also pass on relevant information about a client. This information also helps a person find their next stage of NDIS funding.
4: Can you give an example of a successful client relationship you’ve had/you have now?
I’d like to think that most of my clients are pretty successful. Quite a number of clients feel a great deal of anxiety when meeting new people. Building a relationship with clients like this definitely takes time, so I make sure I give that client the time they need to feel comfortable with me. The first few sessions we might not be working on anything specific, just getting to know each other and building trust. I have a client who wasn’t sure about me when we first met, but we’ve built a really great relationship, and that was so handy during Covid-19 when we went from face to face to phone meetings. We were able to keep growing that relationship which we might not have been able to do before, because he’s quite nervous about talking to people on the phone.
5: What specifically made this relationship work? What needs were met and what goals achieved?
With this particular client, I took note of the way he wanted us to work together and I respected that. I took my time to get to know him, and also found about a lot about him from others who’s worked with him at Baptist Care SA. He doesn’t like to meet me in a home setting, so we meet in cafes or parks. So my role is also to make my clients feel comfortable and let them decide when and how our relationship will grow.
6: How do you make sure your client is satisfied with the service we provide?
I think it’s important to ask clients and their families whether they’re happy with the service I’m providing. And I always let them know where and how to make a complaint or provide feedback if they every feel they’re not getting what they need from me. When Praneeta (NDIS Support Coordinator) and I share a client for example, I’m always happy for Praneeta to pass on feedback about me she may have received. Fortunately it’s almost always positive so it’s nice to hear that as well. Sometimes too I’ll notice that a client is irritated or not engaged so I’ll adjust what we’re doing. It’s all about making sure the client is comfortable at all times.
7: If there are challenges for our clients, what sort of initiatives can we put in place to support them?
I think it’s important that a client has a circle of support, so we know who’s involved and who to contact if need be. Flexibility is also really important within my role. Realizing that a task or a goal won’t be achieved that day, so we’ll try again another time. Giving a client a choice too, so they can decide how and if they continue working towards a goal.
8: We pride ourselves on working alongside our clients, at their pace – why do you think this is so important?
Within my work, my client is at the centre of everything I do, so that really directs the way that I provide support. That always means working at a client’s pace, so if for instance we get a block of funding we determine together how we can use that and set goals that are both realistic and achievable. I think one of the most important reasons we work at a client’s pace is to make sure they’re enjoying themselves. We want to bring joy to their lives and celebrate the small achievements, not just the big ones.
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