I think this will be the last post of the night. Another issue is that for whatever reason wordpress was being terrible and saying my password was wrong even when I changed it like five times. So couldn’t blog.
Anyway here’s a May update.
I talked to the awesome social worker I think it was thursday. Yeah because wednesday I crashed. And yesterday Jess came home so it was thursday.
He really is a good social worker. So animated! So dedicated to his job and down to earth. He and Mr. J could be twins!
So I asked for his update and as expected it wasn’t great. He talked to her caseworker at one of the deaf programs. The thing with them is that even if she could go into one of their apartments or group homes an apartment wouldn’t be available for like three months. And the rest of their stuff is totally at capacity. Another program, which I told him I’d called and left mesages on about every voicemail in the office, is also at capacity. He finally chased down someone who could manage to tell him this. I was looking at an organization called Newman services but they’re for intelectiual/ developmental disabilities and MI.
I was so relieved when he said that the unit at Reed is one over capacity! He paused before he said that statement and I got all anxious. But that’s one place I’m very glad she can’t get into.
I knew from my conversations from someone at a facility I am connected with that they did come see her. They liked her admin dug in their heels. He thinks that someone can hold the ADA over their heads because they’re hesitant about the deafness stuff. But he’s up on it! I guess he sent them all the information about the VP or Ipad or whatever they use and told them it’s free and everything. I wanted to but didn’t say that actually here at albany they never got any of that for any deaf resident! We also talked breefly about how frustrating it is that people write ASL off as some waste of time thing to do. Because he was such a great guy I told him a bit of my story including Friedman. (he knows them well totally agrees about their clueless treatment of MI residents) my fight to get here, and that I’m learning ASL. Partly, a very small part, to make a statement to the lazy sighted people who could so easily compared to a blind person, learn it.
We talked again about how really we’re looking for skilled nursing and psych and how hard that is to find. I called Margaret Manor where we toured. I liked the social worker we saw and the one I talked to did not like the clinical director. I think I said how she interrupted me and I had to confidently tell her I was asisting the social worker.
Anyway she recommended St. Martha’s which is in their network and fits what we’re looking for.
What’s interesting is I think all these places are managed by a company that operates like six at a time. So if one won’t take someone they can try to bounce the packet around that network of relatives. That’s how I got here actually. And what we’re hoping for May. He thinks maybe someone can push one of the places in our network to take her. He said some seemed like they were leaning that way. He asked me to ask Jonathan to advocate for this. The staff of these places I’m sure conference regularly. So I did. Wrote him an e-mail. Also copied him who’s e-mail I got and will always save! so hoping this works.
I have some faith in that one facility. We couldn’t go out to there s expressive arts fair because it was below zero! But I will be connecting with them after the holidays to possibly do some peer support and things. The good thing about them is she’d have a single room. So I’ll keep pushing for them, and other facilities as someone who’s “just a friend” (as someone who hung up on me put it)
But the real point is there really is so little out there that’s fully accessible to the deaf community with mental illness or even just therapy. I honestly didn’t know because you read all these websites and then you realize like with that one place the house only has four beds! I think that people across the disability community and allies need to really work together on this and do whatever we can.
If you’re working in the mental health field and are interested in picking up a new interest go sign up for an ASL class. Or, (and I know it’s highly not recommended) but even watching an intro video or two if you hear about a posible deaf client coming in will at least be something. Be open as you would be with any individual, to learning about communicating in a whole new way. May despite everything is extremely patient around the ASL stuff. She wants people to learn badly. She feercely advocates for ASL as her native language. The staff other than Jonathan, have been taught by her not by him. I’ve gone down that road many times about why can’t he teach the staff even if it’s a little at every weekly meeting or something. It would be time well spent. Instead of going out on a tangent about his motorcycle he could do that. Or he could teach them to sign motorcycle LOL! But this probably would not work. Why I have never worked with him is that the one time he tried the letter/ word we were working on reminded him of other words so instead of teaching me one thing at a time I got like five words in a row that were totally unrelated except they somehow were in his mind. I really think he has ADHD or something!
The point is this is a very important and not recognized issue. So please think about this. We can only try to find solutions if we talk about it. Somehow we need to have a safe place for deaf mental health consumers,to be able to tell professionals what’s important to them and actually be heard. Would love thoughts/ comments or questions.